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Rental Prices Are Smashing Records—but a Big Change Appears To Be Looming

Rental Prices Are Smashing Records—But A Big Change Appears To Be Looming

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Rents continued their unprecedented surge upward in June—but there are signs that it won’t last forever.

The median rent across the 50 largest metros climbed 14.1% year over year, to a median of $1,876, setting the record for highest rent ever tallied by® for a 16th straight month.

While rents are unquestionably higher than they’ve ever been, the numbers indicate that we might be nearing an end of the era of extremely steep, rapid rent hikes, according to the report. (Metros include the main city and surrounding suburbs, small towns, and urban areas.)

While rents continued to shoot up, causing plenty of pain for tenants, the growth in prices is slowing down. June saw the lowest year-over-year growth in prices of the year. It’s also a shift from January when rents shot up 17.6% compared with a year earlier.

“There was a big shock that everybody felt,” says Joel Berner, senior economic research analyst at “As things start to get back to normal in real life, things will start to get back to normal in the rental and [for sale] housing markets, too.”

That slowdown doesn’t feel the same in all metros. Sun Belt cities and suburbs are still seeing astronomical growth rates in rent year over year. Miami continues to lead the pack, with median rents growing by 37.4% compared with June of last year. Magic City renters paid a median of $2,850 a month for a roof over their heads. A few hours north, Orlando, FL, saw the second-highest year-over-year rent growth at 23.9%, for a median monthly rent of $1,979.

The expectation that rental prices won’t continue to spike forever is little comfort for renters. Median prices in the 50 largest metros grew by 27.6% since June 2019.

It’s still cheaper to rent than to buy in much of the nation

However, renters can find solace knowing that renting is still much more affordable than buying in the majority of U.S. cities, thanks to record-high sale prices.

It was still cheaper to pay landlords each month rather than a mortgage in 38 of the 50 largest metros in June, according to the report. Thanks to a hike in mortgage rates, on top of fast-rising home prices, purchasing property has become even more unaffordable. The mortgage rate increase made the monthly cost to buy starter homes in these metros $416 more per month than it would have been under last year’s rate.

“Renters who would be looking to buy are getting priced out of the market,” says Berner. “The difference between buying and renting is a lot more than it was a year ago.”

In booming markets like Austin, TX, the gap between the median rent and monthly cost to buy has ballooned. The difference between a hypothetical mortgage and rental of a similar-sized starter home increased to more than $1,800 per month.

Loca real estate agents see an equilibrium forming in the coming months as the mad dash of the past year comes to an end.

“Austin for the last 18 months has been madness,” explains Compass real estate agent Andrew Stanek. “What we’ve found is a ton of sellers got in a bad habit of being convinced they could list at any number they want. That’s why you’re seeing the price reductions” on listings.

Outside of Austin, other metros are expected to see prices fall back in line as well.

“The housing market’s starting to turn a corner where listing prices are going to start leveling off,” says Berner. “So we expect [rent and sale prices] to move together” more in tandem.

The post Rental Prices Are Smashing Records—but a Big Change Appears To Be Looming appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

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