Call It “Moderate-Rent March”?

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New Data Drop Brings Good News for Most (But Not All!) Renters

Dwellsy’s March data report reveals that nationwide, rents have barely budged since February. However, some markets have seen more major changes in median asking rent.

Los Altos, CA (April 2023) – ’Tis the season of flowers budding, birds chirping, and pollen coating just about everything. Spring has officially sprung—but to renters’ relief, rent prices haven’t blossomed along with the tulips, cherry blossoms, and dogwoods. According to the latest data from Dwellsy, median asking rent for both apartments and single-family homes has barely budged since February. (Whew!)

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“Furthermore, year-over-year changes look downright reasonable,” says Jonas Bordo, CEO and cofounder of Dwellsy, and coauthor along with Hannah Hildebolt of Everything You Need to Know About Renting But Didn’t Know to Ask: All the Insider Dirt to Help You Get the Best Deal and Avoid Disaster (Matt Holt, August 2023, ISBN: 978-1-6377439-2-8, $21.95).

“Apartment rent has stayed relatively flat during that time period, and even single-family home rentals (SFR) have an annual rent growth rate that’s tracking below inflation.”

Bordo says it’s important to look at across-the-board nationwide trends, but he also emphasizes the need to slice out different data sets that reveal what’s going on in certain cities and with certain property types.

Renters, landlords, cities, and organizations connected to the rental industry all need this information to make informed decisions, plan for the future, and respond to marketplace needs.

That’s why Dwellsy, the largest home rental listing platform in the country, regularly mines its 13+ million residential rental listings for statistics and data. Because Dwellsy allows landlords to post listings free of charge, it has a pool of data that’s more diverse—and more representative of the true rental landscape—than that of pay-to-play listing services.

Each month, Dwellsy breaks down this data so renters and landlords can see up-to-date trends in rental housing and current affordability in over 250 U.S. markets. For a more detailed look at Dwellsy’s rent price analysis methodology, see this article.

Apartment Rent Is Down and SFR Rent Is Up—But Only by a Small Margin

Bordo focuses on one-bedroom apartments because they are similar to two-bedroom apartments in terms of inventory, but are more price-accessible. Three-bedroom homes are also featured because they are by far the most common rental home type.

“Apartment-dwellers may not have registered the miniscule 0.5 percent drop ($7) in asking rent between February and March 2023,” says Bordo. “Their year-over-year rent change is barely noticeable at all: down just 0.1 percent ($1) since March 2022.”

Month-over-month rent for three-bedroom SFRs also changed by only half a percent—but in the opposite direction, up $10 since February. In the twelve months since March 2022, asking rent for this property type has risen 5.3 percent ($93).

“That’s a significant amount money for most renters, but as I mentioned earlier, this growth rate still tracks below inflation,” comments Bordo.

 Median Asking Rent by Property Type
MonthOne-Bedroom ApartmentsThree-Bedroom Houses
Mar-23$         1,275$         1,835
Feb-23 $         1,282 $         1,825
Jan-23 $         1,295 $         1,848
Dec-22 $         1,310 $         1,720
Nov-22 $         1,310 $         1,750
Oct-22 $         1,300 $         1,795
Sep-22 $         1,310 $         1,795
Aug-22 $         1,325 $         1,795
Jul-22 $         1,325 $         1,800
Jun-22 $         1,321 $         1,800
May-22 $         1,310 $         1,795
Apr-22 $         1,300 $         1,768
Mar-22 $         1,276 $         1,742

“If you look at the graph below, you’ll see how little apartment rent has changed since Dwellsy began tracking this data in January 2021,” Bordo says. “Those rents have actually declined by 3 percent during this time period.

“You’ll also see that single-family home rent has followed a very different trajectory,” he adds. “But given the fact that SFR rent has spiraled upward 21 percent since early 2021, the more moderate growth of the past year is welcome.”

Rent By Property Type

Top Ten Most Expensive Big Cities for Three-Bedroom Single-Family Home Rentals

Once again, California dominates the list of most expensive cities for single-family home rentals, claiming the four top spots. Rent in number-one Los Angeles is up 6.3 percent since March 2002, putting each monthly rent check at a pricey $4,200. With rent growth of 13.3 percent, Honolulu stands out as experiencing the largest year-over-year change.

“One thing all of these cities have in common is that they’re on the coast,” says Bordo. For less-expensive SFR rent, you might want to look further inland.”

This table shows which large cities had the most expensive March 2023 asking rent for three-bedroom single-family homes.

RankMetropolitan Statistical AreaMedian Three-Bedroom Single-Family Home Asking Rent, March 2023Change Since March 2022
1Los Angeles, CA $         4,200+ 6.3%
2San Jose, CA $         3,895+ 5.3%
3San Francisco, CA $         3,723+ 3.4%
4San Diego, CA $         3,550+ 4.6%
5Miami, FL $         3,500+ 7.7%
6Honolulu, HI $         3,400+ 13.3%
7Boston, MA $         3,000+ 1.7%
8New York, NY $         2,800+ 3.7%
9Riverside-San Bernardino- Ontario, CA $         2,700- 0.8%
10Seattle, WA $         2,699+ 1.9%

Top Ten Most Expensive Small Cities for Three-Bedroom Single-Family Home Rentals

Thanks in part to remote and flexible work models, many renters have made their way to smaller cities with desirable amenities. A quick glance at this list shows that one of those amenities is coastal sunshine—although some prefer snowy slopes.

“Six of the ten cities on this list are in California,” says Bordo. “Salinas takes the top spot with a monthly asking rent of $3,695, although Santa Barbara has arguably had the roughest year. Rent there has risen 26.5 percent since March 2022.”

This table shows which small cities had the most expensive March 2023 asking rent for three-bedroom single-family homes.

RankMetropolitan Statistical AreaMedian Three-Bedroom Single Family Home March 2023 Asking RentChange Since March 2022
1Salinas, CA $         3,695+ 5.6%
2Naples-Marco Island, FL $         3,600- 1.3%
3Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA $         3,450+ 3.0%
4Santa Barbara, CA $         3,350+ 26.5%
5Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA $         3,320+ 7.2%
6San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA $         3,300+ 6.5%
7Boulder, CO $         2,800+ 10.9%
8Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $         2,795+ 0.4%
9Bozeman, MT $         2,7000.0%
10North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, FL $         2,635+ 1.9%

Top Ten Most Expensive Large Cities for One-Bedroom Apartment Rentals

While asking rent for one-bedroom apartments has remained relatively flat nationwide, some major markets have seen meaningful increases this past year. New York City continues to reign supreme with a monthly asking rent of $2,999.

“San Jose’s rent saw the largest increase: 6.8 percent since March 2022,” says Bordo. “Meanwhile, San Diego’s year-over-year rent fell by 5.0 percent, but as the seventh-most expensive city in this category, that doesn’t mean your one-bedroom apartment will be a bargain.”

This table shows which large cities had the most expensive March 2023 asking rent for one-bedroom apartments.

RankMetropolitan Statistical AreaMedian One-Bedroom Apartment Asking Rent,
March 2023
Change Since March 2022
1New York, NY $         2,999+ 5.2%
2Boston, MA $         2,500+ 2.5%
3San Francisco, CA $         2,495+ 4.2%
4San Jose, CA $         2,365+ 6.8%
5Washington, DC $         2,050-0.7%
6Los Angeles, CA $         2,0400.0%