Economy Watch: SF, NY Remain Nation’s Priciest Rental Markets

Apartment rents continually rose over the course of 2017, but changes among specific markets varied greatly, according to a recent ABODO report.
Source: ABODO Annual Rent Report, National Rent Trends 2017-2018
Source: ABODO Annual Rent Report, National Rent Trends 2017-2018

Nationally, apartment rents were still on the rise over the course of 2017, according to a new report by ABODO. The national median rent for one-bedrooms rose 2.4 percent, ending the year at $1,040. Rents for two-bedroom apartments were $1,252 in December 2017, 3 percent higher than they were in January.

Of course, no one lives in a “national” apartment. All apartments are in specific markets, and their increases and decreases in 2017 were all over the place, ABODO said.

Market Differentiation

For instance, for one-bedroom apartments, monthly average rents increased the most in New Orleans, up an average of 4 percent each month during 2017. Reno was the only other city with average one-bedroom rent fluctuations above 3 percent, coming in at 3.2 percent each month. Unsurprisingly, two California cities also earned spots on ABODO’s list of highest average monthly changes: Santa Ana (up 1.6 percent), and Sacramento (1.5 percent).

Rents were down in certain markets over the year. The largest decrease was in Fort Wayne, Ind., dropping an average of 2.8 percent monthly. Lincoln, Neb. (down 2.2 percent); El Paso (down 1.9 percent); and Pittsburgh and St. Paul, Minn. (both down 1.7 percent) also experienced sizable drops.

Coming in at an average monthly rent of $4,373, San Francisco continues, at the beginning of 2018, to be the nation’s priciest market for one-bedroom apartments by a margin of more than $1,000, ABODO reported. And San Francisco’s rents actually decreased in 2017, by an average of 0.9 percent each month.

New York City is the second-most expensive apartment market at the end of 2017, with one-bedroom apartments going for $3,234, also despite recent (but small) average monthly decreases of 0.3 percent. Los Angeles was next at $3,099 per month, and Washington, D.C. after that at $3,031; both of those markets saw rent rises throughout the year.

Renters in Detroit enjoyed the nation’s lowest average monthly rent of the year: $613 for a one-bedroom, or one-seventh the cost of a one-bedroom in San Francisco. At just a dollar more, Fort Wayne, Ind., has the nation’s second-cheapest rent, after topping ABODO’s lists for largest rent average monthly decreases for both one- and two-bedrooms.