Rent Increases Mirrored Population Growth in 2019

US Single-Family Rents Up 3% Year Over Year in November

By Molly Boesel Housing Affordability

  • Rents for lower-priced homes increased faster than those of higher-priced homes in November compared with a year earlier.
  • Rent increases were highest in the Phoenix and Tucson.

U.S. single-family rents increased 3% year over year in November 2019, even with the gain of 3% in November 2018, according to the CoreLogic Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI). The index measures rent changes among single-family rental homes, including condominiums, using a repeat-rent analysis to measure the same rental properties over time. Single-family rents started climbing steadily in 2010 and have stabilized at around 3% since early 2019.  

Using the rent index to analyze specific price tiers reveals important differences. Figure 1 shows that the index’s overall growth in November 2019 was propped up by low-end rentals, defined as properties with rents 75% or less of a region’s median rent. Rents on lower-priced rental homes increased 3.6% year over year and rents for higher-priced homes, defined as properties with rents more than 125% of the regional median rent, increased 2.7% year over year. Rents for lower-priced homes have been growing faster than for higher-priced homes since May 2014, though the difference in these two growth rates has narrowed over time.

Figure 1: National Single-Family Rent Index Year-Over-Year Percent Change By Price Tier

Rent growth varies significantly across metro areas[1]. Figure 2 shows the year-over-year change in the rental index for 20 large metropolitan areas in November 2019. Phoenix had the highest year-over-year rent growth this November as it has for the past year, with an increase of 6.9%, followed by Tucson (+5.7%) and Seattle (+5.4%). Miami had the lowest rent growth in November, as it has for ten straight months, increasing by 0.7% from the prior year. Orlando had the largest deceleration in rent growth in November, showing annual rent growth of 2.6 percentage points lower than in November 2018. Seattle had the largest acceleration in rent growth in November, with rents increasing 4.8 percentage points faster than in November 2018. Strong rent growth in the Southwest reflects strong population growth in this part of the country. Arizona ranked third for population growth in 2019 by both number and percentage increase. In contrast, Illinois and Hawaii both had a decrease in population in 2019, which could account for the slower rent growth in this part of the U.S.

Figure 2: Single-Family Rent Index Year-Over-Year Percent Change in 20 Markets

[1] Metro areas used in this report are Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan Divisions where available. The SFRI is computed for 75 metros.

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