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The Complete 2023 Guide to Rent Prices in the US

Rent Prices Drop in February

After January’s surprising increase in single-family rental prices, February’s data brought a different story – drops in both apartment rent and single-family home rent vs. January.  Both property types were off about 1% in February vs. January.

Here’s the headline rent price data through February 2023:

  • $1,825/mo: 3 Bedroom SFR median asking rent
  • Up $108 or 6.3% vs. $1,717 in February 2022
  • Down $23 or 1.2% vs. $1,848 in January 2023
  • $1,282/mo: 1 Bedroom Apartment median asking rent
  • Up $10 or 0.8% vs. $1,272 in February 2022
  • Down $13 or 1.0% vs. $1,295 in January 2023

For more on Dwellsy’s rent reporting methodology, please check out our article on the topic.

Median Asking Rent Prices, February 2022 to February 2023

A look at the data over the past two years is helpful in putting the most recent February rent drops in context.  While we have seen an overall significant move up in 3-bedroom single-family home rental prices in the past two years (a 20.3% increase), rent for 1-bedroom apartments has actually declined by 2.5% during this time.

Why the Difference In Rent Change Between SFR and Apartments?

The past several years have brought enormous changes in consumer preferences for housing.  

The biggest change has been a shift to value larger homes as more of us work from home, spend more time at home and more embrace pets.  In many cases, this has caused renters to be willing to spend more to get the extra space – perhaps with savings from no longer having to commute.

Additionally, many individuals and families, freed from the need to live close to their work, have moved to lower-cost locations and have been able to trade up to larger homes for the same or less money.  For example, about $2,000 will get you a three bedroom home in Nashville, TN or a 1-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, CA.

This has meant that overall demand for smaller rentals, in particular, those at average / median price points, has lagged that for larger homes and single family properties.

At the same time, we’ve seen record growth in deliveries of new apartment supply, increasing the availability of rentals at a time when demand is not particularly high.  

That said, we do see a divergence in the numbers between premium and more apartments.  Premium apartments have continued to see higher rent growth and certain cities that have dense apartment stock (we see you, NYC) have also continued to see material increases in rent.  

Most Expensive Large Cities for 3-Bedroom Single-Family Home Rents

California once again cities topped the charts for the most expensive single-family home rental markets in the country, with Los Angeles, San Jose and San Francisco taking the top three spots with asking rent at $4,000, $3,895 and $3,650 respectively.  San Diego and Riverside-San Bernadino are also in the list (4th and 9th), so California cities claim fully half of the most expensive rental cities in the country for single-family home rentals.

Most Expensive Large Cities for 1 Bedroom Apartment Rentals

Across the country, rents for 1 bedroom apartments have been relatively flat, but renters in many large cities did see meaningful increases this past year.

Taking the overall “trophy” is New York City, which both saw the highest overall rent level for these types of apartments ($3,168), and the highest increase versus the prior year (+ 12.8%).

San Francisco, CA, Boston, MA, San Jose, CA and Washington, DC round out the top five.

Most Expensive Small Cities for 3 Bedroom Single-Family Home Rents

Over the course of the past year, many renters found their way to smaller cities with great amenities or attractions (California/Florida sunshine!), and those on this list saw the highest rent as a result.  

At $3,725/mo, Naples-Marco Island, FL is one of the most expensive markets in the country and certainly the most expensive small city for rental homes.  Coming in close behind it, with median rent of $3,585/mo, is Salinas, CA, a metro area that includes the ritzy Carmel-By-The-Sea.  

The Santa Barbara, CA metro region saw the highest overall growth in rent in this group, with rent up more than 21% in the past year.

Most Expensive Small Cities for 1 Bedroom Apartment Rentals

Smaller cities are often some of the most challenging places to find great apartment rentals and the top 10 on this list are no exception.  We’re not at NYC levels on the rent here, but rent for a 1 bedroom in each of these markets exceeds $1,700 per month and goes as high as $2,173/mo in Santa Barbara, CA – if you can find one.  

Cities With The Fastest Growing 3-Bedroom Home Rent in 2023

Nationwide, single-family rentals have grown in price at a dramatically higher rate than apartments, and in these 10 markets, that price increase is felt most dramatically.

This month, Monroe, LA shows as the city with the most dramatic increase in median rent prices for available units with an overall increase of 45.5% in month rent.  Rochester, NY and Cedar Rapids, IA round out the top three with rent increases of more than 30% in both cases.  Interestingly, in all three cases, median rent is about $1,600 per month, so even after these increases, rent is still modest in compared to many other places in the U.S.

Cities With The Fastest Growing 1-Bedroom Apartment Rent in 2023

All of us here at Dwellsy hope that the residents of Oshkosk enjoyed their recent restaurant week, because we’re guessing they spent a lot of time wrestling with rent over dinner.  Rents in Oshkosh have grown faster than everywhere else in the country in the year leading up to February 2023 – over 100%.  

Charleston, WV, Ellensburg, WA, Lawton, OK, and Ithaca, NY round out the top five, each increasing rents for 1 bedroom apartments by 40% or more in the past year.

Apartment markets in smaller cities, like those in this list, can be highly volatile, influenced by the delivery of just a few new buildings in a particular market, so please keep that in mind with this particular cohort.

Average Rent vs. Median Rent

While average rent is the more widely used term, here at Dwellsy, we use the median of the data set for each property type because of the fact that rent prices can be priced up to $20,000 and beyond, but cannot go below $0.  

This asymmetrical data creates a situation in which the average and the median are substantially different and the average is always higher than the median.  

Dwellsy believes the median is the most representative for this analysis since it more accurately represents what renters are actually seeing and paying when it comes to rentals.

For more on our methdology and approach, please visit our detailed methodology description.

Looking for more data on the current rental market? Check out these articles!

Rent Expense by Market

Complete guide to single-family rentals

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