Report: February Rental Market Showed Promise Despite COVID-19 Concerns

Posted on Mar 23 2020 - 10:30am by Liz Dominguez
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Many markets are in flux in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a recent RENTCafé report shows that many rental markets stayed strong in February despite concerns over the spread of the virus.

"We haven't seen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in official data yet," said Doug Ressler, manager of Business Intelligence at Yardi Matrix, in a statement. "The economy still stands to benefit from ultra-slow rates. Homeowners are refinancing while renters are seeing normalized rent growth, which reduces their monthly payments and allows them to spend in other areas."

In terms of national rent, the average went up by 2.3 percent from last February to $1,468.

Seattle, one of the largest rental markets, saw the biggest net increase in rent—up $113 since last year. The lowest increase? Houston, rising just $21 since last February. Manhattan ranked at the top of the list for most expensive apartments, at $4,208 per month, while Wichita, Kan., ranked at the bottom, charging $665 per month.

For the largest cities, these are the highest yearly rent increases:

  1. Phoenix, AZ – 9.6%
  2. Nashville, TN – 6.3%
  3. Charlotte, N.C. – 5.6%
  4. Seattle, WA – 5.5%
  5. Indianapolis, IN – 5.3%

These are the top five slowest yearly increases for the largest cities:

  1. San Francisco, CA – 0.2%
  2. Detroit, MI – 1.1%
  3. Chicago, IL – 1.8%
  4. Houston, TX – 1.9%
  5. Los Angeles, CA – 1.9%

Mid-sized cities? The South saw the slowest rising apartment rates. Meanwhile, the West Coast saw the biggest increases.

These are the highest yearly rent increases:

  1. Mesa, AZ – 8.7%
  2. Bakersfield, CA – 7.3%
  3. Fresno, CA – 6.9%
  4. Stockton, CA – 6.3%
  5. Tucson, AZ – 6.2%

And the slowest yearly increases:

  1. Lexington, KY – 1.3%
  2. Aurora, CO – 1.7%
  3. Miami, FL – 1.7%
  4. Milwaukee, WI – 1.8%
  5. Atlanta, GA – 2.2%

In small cities, the Phoenix metro area showed the fastest price increases. Glendale rents went up by 9.2 percent YoY to $1,045, and in Chandler, rents increased 7.9 percent to $1,390.

To view the entire report, visit