The last decade significantly shifted the urban geography of the United States. The longest economic expansion on record brought new opportunities and challenges, then came to a screeching pandemic halt in 2020. The growth was long-lived but uneven. New and existing innovation hubs and oil towns boomed, while some markets struggled to shake off sluggishness after the Great Recession. Throughout the 2010s, America’s housing growth both reflected and reinforced these trends.
Welcome to the June Apartment List National Rent Report. Our national index increased by 2.3 percent from April to May, representing the third straight month of record-setting rent growth, going back to the start of our rent estimates in 2017. After this recent spike, year-over-year rent growth now stands at 5.4 percent nationally, and prices are now in line with where we expect they would have been if the pandemic-related rent declines of 2020 never occurred.
According to the Census Bureau, the United States’ annual mover rate (the percentage of people who change residence each year) had been declining since the mid-1980s, and reached its lowest point just before the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend may have continued if not for the sudden and rapid adoption of remote work.
In a survey of 5,000 employed adults across the U.S., we found that four-in-ten workers expect to have some form of continued remote work flexibility post-pandemic. 19 percent expect to have a hybrid arrangement that allows for remote work multiple days per week, while 21 percent expect that they’ll have the ability to work exclusively remotely.
This month’s data shows rent rebounds accelerating in markets across the country. Our national index increased by 1.9 percent over the past month, the largest monthly increase ever in our estimates, going back to the beginning of 2017. The data continue to exhibit significant regional variation, but the days of plummeting rents in pricey coastal markets are officially behind us. Although rents in San Francisco are still down 19.5 percent year-over-year, the city has seen prices increase by 7 percent over just the past two months. 9 of the 10 cities with the sharpest year-over-year declines have now had three consecutive months of rising rents. At the other end of the spectrum, many of the mid-sized markets that have seen rents grow rapidly through the pandemic are showing that there’s still steam left in the current boom -- Boise rents jumped by another 5.2 percent this month, the biggest increase among the nation’s 100 largest cities.
Despite many accounts of an urban exodus, the COVID-19 pandemic will not leave American cities hollow. Throughout the pandemic search activity has turned towards large, dense cities, not away from them. For every renter who left, there appear to be many ready to take their spot. Compared to this time last year (i.e., pre-pandemic), the data show more search activity directed towards higher-density cities and towards the principal cities that anchor each major metropolitan area. Simultaneously, increased demand for short-term leases indicate that pandemic-era moves are less permanent than those of previous years.
This month’s data shows rent prices continuing to rebound in markets across the country. Our national index increased by 1.1 percent over the past month, the largest monthly increase ever in our estimates, going back to the beginning of 2017. The data continue to exhibit significant regional variation, but the days of plummeting rents in pricey coastal markets appear to be over. Although rents in San Francisco are still down 23.2 percent year-over-year, the city saw an increase of 3.4 percent this month, the biggest increase among the 100 largest cities in the country. 9 of the 10 cities with the sharpest year-over-year declines have now had two consecutive months of rising rents. At the other end of the spectrum, many of the mid-sized markets that have seen rents grow rapidly through the pandemic are showing that there’s still steam left in the current boom -- Boise rents also jumped by 3.4 percent this month, and are now up by 16.1 percent year-over-year.
This month’s data represents the clearest indication yet that rent prices are rebounding in markets across the country. Our national index increased by 0.7 percent over the past month, the largest monthly increase since the summer of 2019. The data continue to exhibit significant regional variation, but the days of plummeting rents in pricey coastal markets appear to be coming to an end, with cities such as San Francisco and Seattle experiencing positive month-over-month growth for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Millennials are officially the nation’s largest generation, and spanning the ages of 24 to 39, they are now in their prime home-buying years. But for as long as they have been old enough to buy homes, millennials have lagged previous generations in fulfilling that goal. In this study, we combine data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey and our annual Apartment List Renter Survey to assess whether millennials are catching up, or if they are truly less likely to attain homeownership than prior generations.
The COVID-19 pandemic made housing affordability a persistent concern throughout 2020. And as we enter the new year, rent payments remain a financial obstacle for many families. According to our latest survey, 30 percent of renters did not make their January payment on-time at the start of the year. This is down just slightly from the mid-summer peak when unemployment was at its worst, but up significantly from historic baseline levels.
After years of steady price increases, 2020 brought the nation’s rental market to a halt. Typically rents rise during the busy summer season, but this year apartments across the country are on average renting for about two percent less than they were pre-pandemic.
With the peak summer renting season behind us, we are now entering the time of year when fewer moves normally take place, causing a seasonal dip in rent prices. And although this year’s peak season was significantly disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our national index has stabilized back to a more typical trend over the past few months. Rents fell by 0.5 percent this month, which is consistent with what we’ve seen in the past.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic downturn, rental markets across the country experienced an uncharacteristic decline in rent prices this summer. Nationally, rents dropped 1.3 percent from March to June, a time period when rent prices rose roughly 2 percent in each of the three previous years.
Welcome to the November 2020 National Apartment List Rent Report. With the peak summer renting season behind us, we are now entering the time of year when fewer moves normally take place, causing a seasonal dip in rent prices. And although this year’s peak season was significantly disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our national index has stabilized back to a more typical trend over the past few months.
With less than a month until election day, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic fallout continue to be defining issues of the campaign. Amid this continued volatility, we find that widespread struggles with housing costs have been troublingly stable since the start of the pandemic. And despite their pressing needs, we find that those who are struggling most are least likely to make their voices heard at the ballot box on November 3rd.
As summer transitions to fall, we exit what is traditionally peak moving season. But of course, nothing about this season has been traditional -- from March through June of this year, our national rent index fell quickly during the months when rents generally rise fastest.
Widespread difficulty with housing costs has been a troubling constant. Despite a slight improvement in this month’s data, 29 percent of Americans failed to pay their rent or mortgage in full during the first week of September, and 8 percent had not completed their August payment by the end of the month.
As the country continues to navigate the coronavirus pandemic and double-digit unemployment, many renters are still moving and looking for new homes to match their changing opportunities and lifestyles. Peak moving season was busy, but the economic slowdown that accompanied Covid-19 has tempered rent growth.
For the fourth straight month, roughly one-in-three Americans failed to make a full, on-time housing payment. Late and unpaid housing bills are accumulating, putting financial strain on many families and deepening concerns of near-term evictions and foreclosures. As federal and local eviction bans continue expiring across the nation, 32 percent of renters (and homeowners) entered August with unpaid bills. Over 20 percent owe more than $1,000.
It has become clear that the effects of the pandemic are far from behind us, and the economy does not appear on track for the quick V-shaped recovery that many had originally hoped for. While this economic weakness continues to be reflected in sluggish rent growth, our national rent index actually inched up slightly by 0.1 percent over the past month, the first monthly increase since the start of the pandemic. That said, year-over-year growth still stands at just 0.2 percent nationally, and many markets are continuing to see notable declines in prices.