Published by REALTOR.com | April 25, 2023
Rents across the country continued to tick up in March—but at a much slower pace.
Tenants shelled out about 2.5% more last month compared with a year earlier in the 50 largest metropolitan areas, according to the most recent Realtor.com® rental report. Nationally, the median rent was $1,732 a month. While that figure was $15 higher than in February, rents were down $32 from the peak set in July 2022.
“Both rent prices and price growth have cooled, which means relief for renters,” says Realtor.com economist Jiayi Xu. Still, “it’s important to remember that price levels are very high.”
Indeed, with monthly rent costs roughly one-quarter higher than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic, even areas that were once considered affordable are starting to feel the pinch.
(Realtor.com looked at rents for studios; one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, condos, and townhomes; and single-family homes in the 50 largest metros. Metros include the main city and surrounding towns, suburbs, and smaller urban areas.)
The rental market is starting to revert back to a more pre-pandemic status quo. Tenants aren’t chasing warmer climates and more square footage with the same fervor that they were at the height of COVID-19.
“COVID freed up a lot of people from their traditional commutes, and in the case of Southern California, this meant the ability to move away from Los Angeles,” says Vivian Zhou, a real estate agent with Flyhomes in Southern California. “Riverside offered the extra space, lower costs, and great weather everyone was looking for.”
But some folks have been forced to move back to larger cities to be closer to their offices, hurting these farther-out areas. As Xu points out, though, prices across the country are still lofty, and that’s helping nudge people into the parts of the country that are more affordable by comparison. As a result, prices in these cheaper areas are surging.