Apartment Management Magazine Rent Report, April 2021: The State of the Rental Market

More than a year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are exploring where rental prices are today compared to a year ago.

Evolution of average prices of national rents

At the national level, we notice a change in recent trends. Studios and two-room apartments are showing some recovery in prices, perhaps reflecting growing demand. Both chambers adjusted slightly downward, but are still up more than five percent year over year. All three chambers are on the rise, both since last month and since the same time last year.

  • 0-BR: $ 1,603 (+ 1.0% from previous month / -1.3% year over year)
  • 1-BR: $ 1,610 (+ 1.6% from previous month / + 3.2% year over year)
  • 2-BR: $ 1,881 (-1.1% from previous month / + 5.3% year over year)
  • 3-BR: $ 2,036 (+ 1.9% from previous month / + 4.2% year over year)

Indicate the evolution of average prices

When we look at the evolution of rent prices from state to state, we find that studios are the only type of unit with an almost equal split between states facing upward and downward pressure. on rental prices.

The other three types of units – one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom – are more like a 2/3 vs. 1/3 mix, with the majority of states seeing increased rental prices.

We excluded the bottom 15% of our condition data when performing these calculations to eliminate areas with lower inventory. Among the remaining states:

  • 0-BR: 51% of states are up and 49% are down
  • 1-BR: 65% of states are up and 35% are down
  • 2-BR: 74% of states are up and 26% are down
  • 3-BR: 60% of states are up and 40% are down

Evolution of average rental prices in the city

More specifically, let’s take a look at which cities are getting cheaper and cheaper. Our analysis covers one and two bedroom apartments in the 100 most populous cities in the country. We eliminated cities with insufficient rental price data. A full list of included cities and their rental price data can be found below.

Average city rent price trends for a bedroom

The following cities have seen the largest year-over-year increases in year-over-year room rental prices. None of them are in the top 10 most expensive markets for one-bedroom apartments in terms of rental prices. Three of them – Gilbert, Arizona; Buffalo, New York and Durham, North Carolina – have populations of 300,000 or less.

  1. Kansas City, Missouri (+ 33.5%)
  2. Gilbert, Arizona (+ 26.0%)
  3. Las Vegas, Nevada (+ 25.3%)
  4. Riverside, California (+ 24.9%)
  5. Buffalo, New York (+ 23.3%)
  6. Columbus, Ohio (+ 22.1%)
  7. Durham, North Carolina (+ 20.0%)
  8. Detroit, Michigan (+ 18.6%)
  9. New Orleans, LA (+ 18.3%)
  10. Virginia Beach, Virginia (+ 15.3%)

The following cities saw the largest year-over-year drop in single-room rent prices. Five of them – San Francisco, California; New York, New York State; Los Angeles, CA; Jersey City, New Jersey and San jose, california – are also in the top 10 most expensive markets for two-bedroom apartments in terms of rental prices. Two of them – Chesapeake, Virginia and Jersey City, New Jersey – have populations of 300,000 or less.

  1. San Francisco, California (-45.0%)
  2. Chesapeake, Virginia (-29.4%)
  3. New York, New York State (-27.3%)
  4. Long beach, california (-27.0%)
  5. Colorado Springs, CO (-24.6%)
  6. Seattle, WA (-18.9%)
  7. San jose, california (-16.2%)
  8. Los Angeles, CA (-16.0%)
  9. Jersey City, New Jersey (-15.5%)
  10. San Antonio, Texas (-15.4%)

Price trends for average rent in the city of two bedrooms

The following cities saw the largest year-over-year two-bedroom rental price increases. A – Riverside, California – is also in the top 10 most expensive markets for one-bedroom apartments in terms of rental prices. Four of them – North Las Vegas, Nevada; Buffalo, New York; Gilbert, Arizona and Hialeah, Florida – have populations of 300,000 or less.

  1. Riverside, California (+ 56.0%)
  2. North Las Vegas, Nevada (+ 39.9%)
  3. Buffalo, New York (+ 38.6%)
  4. Detroit, Michigan (+ 32.5%)
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada (+ 31.1%)
  6. Gilbert, Arizona (+ 30.1%)
  7. Memphis, TN (+ 24.2%)
  8. Hialeah, Florida (+ 23.3%)
  9. Kansas City, Missouri (+ 21.4%)
  10. Wichita, KS (+ 21.1%)

The following cities saw the largest year-over-year drop in two-bedroom rent prices. Two of them – San Francisco, California and Oakland, California – are also in the top 10 most expensive markets for one-bedroom apartments in terms of rental prices. Five of them – Chesapeake, Virginia; St. Petersburg, Florida; Chula Vista, California; Fort Wayne, IN and Greensboro, North Carolina – have populations of 300,000 or less.

  1. Long beach, california (-31.0%)
  2. Seattle, WA (-30.6%)
  3. Chesapeake, Virginia (-25.2%)
  4. St. Petersburg, Florida (-24.5%)
  5. San Francisco, California (-24.0%)
  6. Chula Vista, California (-23.5%)
  7. Fort Wayne, IN (-20.7%)
  8. Oakland, California (-20.6%)
  9. Greensboro, North Carolina (-19.7%)
  10. Miami, Florida (-18.6%)

Rent trends since the start of the year

Earlier this month, Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies released a report on how tenants responded to financial stress during the pandemic. The study estimates that incomes fell for about half of all tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing a range of tenant surveys. The losses were most pronounced among renter households headed by people of color or younger, and those with low incomes.

The study suggests that this trend continues into 2021, so we will continue to monitor the rental trends we’ve seen so far in the pandemic – including a trend towards household consolidation, which mirrors what has been observed during the pandemic. of the Great Recession. from 2008.

About this report

Our April 2021 Rent Report highlights year-over-year rental trends and price fluctuations tenants can experience in various parts of the United States. We compare rental prices for studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments to determine which unit types and which cities among the most populous in the country are becoming more affordable or more expensive for renters.

We also offer some key points and ideas – for example whether the markets with the biggest rent increases are also the ones with the most expensive rent prices, and which regions of the country are the most tenant friendly at the moment.


To determine average rental prices, we started with March 2021 data from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multi-family rental property inventory. From there, we evaluated the changes observed since March 2020. Monthly prices are based on the average price of that respective month. We used a weighted average formula that more accurately represents the price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rental prices in specific markets.

The US census divides the country into four geographic regions: Northeast (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont); Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin); South (Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, District of Columbia and West Virginia) and West (Alaska, Arizona , California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii, Utah, Washington and Wyoming).

The top 100 cities in our analysis were determined by U.S. Census Bureau population estimates in 2019. We excluded cities with insufficient inventory in each period to eliminate potential outliers or highly volatile data caused by small sample size. Rental price increases and decreases per period are based on the percentage change in apartment rental prices from March 2020.

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