[Rent Report] July Rent Prices Stagnant

In June we reported that nationwide median rents were flat, and although this month we notice more volatility on our top ten gainers’ and losers’ lists, overall, the yearly trend is flat. 

In January a median one-bedroom unit cost $1,086. In July, that same unit has risen by a tepid 1.66 percent to $1,104. In January a median two-bedroom apartment was priced at $1,346. In July, that apartment is priced at $1,344—a yearly decline of just 0.15 percent.

Note that these numbers are national median rents, and that some specific locales may reflect greater upward or downward trends.

1-Bedroom Apartments

We saw a more robust range on our top ten gainers list while our losers were more tightly bunched. Let’s look at specific cities:

Upward Movers

Ft. Lauderdale, FL is on fire with a strong 11.03 percent increase to a median rent of $1,751. Add that to June’s increase and Ft. Lauderdale has risen over 23 percent over the last two months.

Winston-Salem, NC is next as it reported a 6.18 percent gain, breaking the $1,000 mark at $1,014. New Haven, CT placed third with a 5.81 percent move to $1,348, and Cleveland, OH and Virginia Beach, VA rose between 5.22 and 5.32 percent. 

St. Louis, MO gained 5.19 percent, and Syracuse, NY placed seventh on our top ten gainers’ list with a 3.95 percent rise to an affordable $871. 

Indianapolis, IN, Detroit, MI and St. Paul MN all rose 3.95, 3.48, and 3.07 percent respectively. 

The most affordable city was Syracuse, NY, and the most expensive was our number one gainer—Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

July 2020 Rent Report 1-Bedroom Pricing

Downward Movers

Charleston, SC led the losers list with a fall of 7.24 percent to $1,410. College Station, TX lost 5.52 percent to a median $804. El Paso was the only other city with a one-bedroom median loss of more than 5 percent as that city declined 5.3 percent to $733.

Three cities—Oakland, CA, San Francisco, CA and Slat Lake City, UT all fell between 4.58 and 4.89 percent. San Francisco has been frequently mentioned in the news regarding its high-end rental price losses, but since our figures include all of our one-bedroom listings, we are seeing the strength in lower priced units offsetting big losses in higher priced apartments.

San Jose, CA and Scottsdale, AZ both fell between 3.75 and 3.77 percent although a San Jose one-bedroom apartment is almost double the cost of one in Scottsdale.

There’s no spring training in Chandler, AZ this year, and one-bedroom units have fallen 3.64 percent. Finally, Washington, DC is our tenth biggest loser at $2,298 for a one-bedroom apartment as it reported a loss of 3.32 percent.

El Paso is the biggest bargain here at $733 while San Francisco held on to its perennial spot as the most expensive place to live on our one-bedroom losers list.

2-Bedroom Apartments

Like their one-bedroom cousins, our two-bedroom gainers broke into the double-digit range while our two-bedroom losers were more tightly ranked.

Upward Movers

Norfolk, VA rose a solid 10.71 percent to lead our two-bedroom gainers at $1,239. Cleveland, OH was next rising 8.4 percent to $1,458.

New Haven, CT and Detroit, MI rose 8.32 and 8.05 percent to $1.550 and $859. Detroit, MI reported an increase of 8.05 percent, and Fort Lauderdale, FL also appeared on our two-bedroom winners’ list with a 7.69 percent increase to a hefty $1,974.

Rising 5.01 percent, St. Louis, MO took sixth place, and Rochester, NY was not far behind with a 5.01 percent jump.

While Kansas City, MO gained 4.05 percent to a median rent of $1,259, both Greensboro, NC and Fresno CA reported increases in the 3.56 to 3.94 percent range.

Detroit, MI was the most affordable two-bedroom gainer at $859, and Fort Lauderdale, FL was the priciest at $1,974.

July 2020 Rent Report 2-Bedroom Prices

Downward Movers

El Paso, already a two-bedroom bargain at June’s price of $913, fell a big 8.32 percent to $837. Charleston, SC lost 5.79 percent as it reported a July median rent of $1510.

San Francisco, CA, having lost 4.93 percent in June continued its precipitous fall as the city’s two-bedroom units lost another 6.66 percent in July to settle at $4,498. In May, the median price for a San Francisco two-bedroom was just over $5000.

Scottsdale, AZ dropped 5.13 percent, and Oakland, CA was not far behind as it lost 5.08 percent.

$1,010 bought a two-bedroom unit in Birmingham, AL–a fall of 3.90 percent–and Buffalo, NY and Atlanta, GA fell between 3.07 and 3.43 percent.

Raleigh, NC dropped a small 2.46 percent to $1,271, and Albuquerque, NM dropped to $939—a loss of 2.39 percent.

San Francisco was still the most expensive loser at $4,498—even though it has suffered a two-month loss of over 10 percent. And El Paso is an even better value this month at $837.

Rent Report Recap & What’s Next?

The flat rental market is still evident with individual exceptions like high-market San Francisco units. The carefully planned post-COVID-19 reopening has spectacularly failed in some big states as we come to the realization that the worst does not seem to be behind us.

Oil prices have recovered as many traders realized that the negative pricing for certain contracts was a statistical anomaly. Oil and subsequent gasoline demand may actually increase as many persons will now drive than fly. This bodes somewhat better for West Texas apartment owners as the oil patch is trying to stabilize. 

Restrictions against forced evictions are expiring nationally, and this may cause some movement as some apartment dwellers will have to trade down.

We still feel that if the recession continues, financing for new apartment units will become harder to attain and that in turn may actually lead to an eventual shortage.

A proven vaccine of course would change everything, but even though there are supposedly hundreds of products in trial or production, no one knows precisely when a working COVID-19 vaccine would actually become as available as the pedestrian flu shot is today.

For now, we continue to feel that while high-end rent locations may be negatively impacted, the rest of the market will continue to be sluggish at best.

Stay safe and look for our August report next month.


Each month, using millions of Rentable listings across the United States, we calculate the median 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom rent prices by city, state, and nation, and track the month-over-month percent change. To avoid small sample sizes, we restrict the analysis for our reports to cities meeting minimum population and property count thresholds.

For press inquiries, please contact Sam Radbil.