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These 20 Markets Have The Fastest-Rising Rents In The Country. Do You Live In One Of Them?

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Nationwide, rents remained fairly flat in July. But in some markets, prices soared several dozen percentage points higher than they were a year ago. Jonas Bordo of Dwellsy shares 20 cities across America where renters are experiencing more than a little sticker shock.

Los Altos, CA (August 2023)—When Jonas Bordo, CEO and cofounder of Dwellsy, crunches rental data from around the country, there are certain markets he expects to see in the monthly lists he compiles. For instance, the most expensive cities for renters tend to include a predictable list of zip codes, like famously pricey New York City and Los Angeles.

But when it comes to markets with the fastest-rising rents, well, that’s a different story. This group changes rapidly and unpredictably, and often includes cities you’d never expect.

“July’s hottest rental markets are spread all over the country—from the East Coast to the West…and lots are in the Midwest, too,” says Bordo, 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). “The one thing they all have in common is that none are truly large cities.”  

In big cities like NYC, expensive rents are underpinned by a high overall cost of living. So while demand does play a part in pricing, asking rents are unlikely to jump, say, 25 percentage points in a year. That’s not the case in smaller, less expensive markets where a surge in demand for a limited number of single-family home rentals (SFRs), or the delivery of a new upscale apartment community, can cause median asking rents to rocket upward.

“It’s normal for a city to come out of nowhere, claim a spot on the fastest-growing rent list for a month or two, and then disappear just as quickly,” comments Bordo.

Dwellsy, the largest home rental listing platform in the country, regularly mines its 14+ 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 regionally across the U.S. so renters and landlords can see up-to-date trends in rental housing and current affordability in over 250 markets.

When analyzing rental trends, Bordo and his fellow data-crunchers focus 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. For a more detailed look at Dwellsy’s rent price analysis methodology, see this article.

Here, Bordo shares which U.S. cities currently have the fastest-growing rent prices.

Top Ten Cities with Fastest-Growing Rent for Three-Bedroom Home Rentals

Single-family home rentals, it’s your time to shine. Recent years have ushered in enormous changes in consumer preferences for housing, and one of the most notable is a shift toward larger properties. With more of us working from home, renters are willing to shell out extra dollars for extra space.

That said, SFR renters in these ten cities may be thinking, I said I was willing to spend some extra money…not clean out my bank account!

“In first-place Anderson, Indiana, asking rent has gone up nearly 50 percent since July 2022,” says Bordo. “It far outpaces second-place Lawton, Oklahoma, where rent has gone up ‘only’ 28.8 percent.

“The good news is, all but two of the markets on this list (Columbia, Tennessee, and the Santa Barbara metro area in California) still have a median asking rent that’s below the national average of $1,890,” he adds.

This table lists cities with the fastest growing rent for three-bedroom SFRs between July 2022 and July 2023.

Rank

Metropolitan Statistical Area

Median Three-Bedroom Home Asking Rent, July 2023

Change in Rent Since July 2022

1

Anderson, IN MSA

$1,575

+ 49.1%

2

Lawton, OK MSA

 $1,095

+ 28.8%

3

Lynchburg, VA MSA

 $1,600

+ 21.9%

4

Columbia, TN MSA

 $2,175

+ 20.7%

5

Memphis, TN-MS-AR MSA

 $1,630

+ 18.4%

6

Rocky Mount, NC MSA

 $1,294

+ 17.6%

7

Greenville, NC MSA

 $1,625

+ 16.1%

8

Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA MSA

 $3,320

+ 14.6%

9

Monroe, LA MSA

 $1,088

+ 14.5%

9

Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI MSA

 $1,800

+ 14.5%

Top Ten Cities with Fastest-Growing Rent for One-Bedroom Apartment Rentals

You might think that renting a one-bedroom apartment is a good way to save money. Not in these 10 cities! Each has seen significant increases in rent levels in the past year, especially Florence-Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

“Renters there can expect to pay 38.9 percent more for a one-bedroom apartment than they did last July,” says Bordo. “However, with a current median asking rent of $625, many out-of-towners might still think a cozy apartment in Florence is a good deal.”

The same can be said for nearly all of the markets on this list. Only one—Madison, Wisconsin—has a price that reaches the national median asking rent of $1,300.

“It’s cold comfort for locals, though,” says Bordo. “When your rent check is 25 percent (or more) more expensive than it was a year ago, you’re going to be understandably disgruntled.”

This table lists cities with the fastest growing rent for one-bedroom apartments between July 2022 and July 2023.

Rank

Metropolitan Statistical Area

Median One-Bedroom Apartment Asking Rent, July 2023

Change in Rent Since July 2022

1

Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL MSA

 $625

+ 38.9%

2

Ellensburg, WA MSA

 $945

+ 35.5%

3

Fargo, ND-MN MSA

 $850

+ 34.9%

4

Terre Haute, IN MSA

 $700

+ 30.8%

5

Evansville, IN-KY MSA

 $750

+ 30.4%

6

Madison, WI MSA

 $1,300

+ 30.0%

7

Charleston, WV MSA

$1,000

+ 29.9%

8

Jefferson City, MO MSA

$575

+ 26.4%

9

Columbus, GA-AL MSA

$694

+ 26.2%

10

Fayetteville, NC MSA

$973

+ 25.5%

“Bear in mind that the cities on these lists—and their year-over-year rent increases—are outliers,” concludes Bordo. “To put things in perspective, here are the nationwide numbers: Asking rent for three-bedroom SFRs has risen 5 percent, or $90, since July 2022. In that same time period, rent has stayed flat for two-bedroom apartments, and has decreased 1.9 percent, or $25, for one-bedroom units.”


About Jonas Bordo:

Jonas Bordo is the coauthor, along with Hannah Hildebolt, of the book 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. He is the CEO and cofounder of Dwellsy, the free residential rental marketplace that makes it easy to find hard-to-find rentals.

About the Book:

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) is available from major online booksellers.

About Dwellsy:

Dwellsy is the renter’s marketplace: a comprehensive residential home rentals marketplace based on the radical concept that true, organic search in a free ecosystem creates more value than the pay-to-play model embraced by all of the current rental listing services.