Historically, median rent might rise 3-4% y/y.  In 2021, median rent rose three times the rate of a “normal” year.

Median Rent Jumped Three Times Rate of Normal Year during 2021

According to data from the online rental marketplace Dwellsy, median rent in the US jumped +11% y/y in 2021, or three times the median rent rate in a normal year.

Single-family rentals, all by themselves, increased +26% during the year while apartment rent accelerated just +1%.

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The report from Dwellsy stated, “For many renters, a single-family home was the ideal in 2021, with safe outdoor space and more room to work from home.  At the same time, demand from single family homebuyers escalated, driving prices up and causing more landlords to sell to homeowners, reducing the inventory of rentals.”

Demand for Rentals in Urban Centers Skyrocketed over 2021

After demand for rentals in urban metros plummeted in 2020 as the COVID pandemic sent residents fleeing to more suburban and rural areas, renters returned to urban centers in 2021.  Standout metros included:

  • Naples FL – rents jumped +112% between January 2021 and December 2021. Median rents rose from $1,605/month at the beginning of the year to $3,398 by the end of the year.
  • Tucson AZ – rents increased +108% between January 2021 and December 2021. Median rents ballooned from $769 at the beginning of the year to $1,600 at the end of 2021.

Metros with Highest Median Asking Rents Across Rental Types during 2021*

       Median Asking Rent    2021 Rent Inflation

  1. Boston           $22,741                         +9.6%
  2. San Francisco $22,676                         +11.5%
  3. New York       $2,670                           +10.6%
  4. San Jose        $2,600                           +5.1%
  5. Miami            $2,590                            +23.2%


Renters in Austin Found Themselves in Bidding Wars in 2021

Like homebuyers in many parts of the country,, renters in Austin TX found themselves in bidding wars.  Bidding wars for rental units?  That’s something unheard of just a few years ago but by the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, realtors were advising their clients to bid $200 to $300 over the asking monthly rent on apartment and single-family home rentals.


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Zumper, an online rental marketplace, indicated in its latest research (December 2021) that median rent in Austin is $2,300/month for a 3-bedroom home.  With renter-occupied households making up 61% of the total occupied housing units in Austin, it’s no wonder that Austin renters are facing bidding wars.

Since January 2021, the average rent in Austin has risen nearly +20%.  The real estate listing company Zillow has predicted that Austin will soon be the least affordable city in the country outside of California.

Thanks to Dwellsy, National Public Radio, Zillow and Roofstock

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