October and November now look like a short-lived two-month hiatus from rent increases as December one-bedroom prices rose nationally by .57 percent or a modest $6.
Two-bedroom units rebounded slightly, also close to their January levels with a $13 or .08 percent increase. These minimally meandering prices don’t look like they are trying to break out of the 2018 doldrums, however.
Let’s get specific. Sometimes we see a statistical anomaly like the top ten December increaser, Jacksonville, FL, with a strong move of $102.00 or 12.6 percent. Music City Nashville, TN came in a strong second with a 10.4 percent increase.
Savannah, GA was not far behind, moving from $810 to $887—a 9.5 percent rise. Batting cleanup was pricey Boulder, CO with a solid 7.3 percent rise to $1,901, perilously close to the magic $2000 mark.
More reasonable St. Paul, MN followed with its $1,042 median December rent increasing by 6.5 percent, and St. Petersburg, FL and Long Beach, CA tied for sixth place both reporting 5.6 percent increases.
Baton, Rouge, LA, Charleston, SC and Colorado Springs, CO called in increases of 5.3, 5.0 and 4.0 percent respectively. Conspicuously missing was Milwaukee WI, as WI average state rent declined in December by an average of $16.
The top losers were significant as Columbus, OH and Rochester NY lost around 9 percent. Dwight Yoakum’s favorite, Bakersfield, CA came in third with a 5.7 percent decrease to $709, and Athens, GA pulled up in fourth place as median two-bedroom rents there decreased by 5.4 percent.
Toledo, OH, Baltimore, MD and Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame host Cleveland OH, showed an average decrease of 4.1 to 4.5 percent, and the bottom three one-bedroom losers were Columbia, SC with a decrease of 3.7 percent, Madison, WI reporting a 3.1 percent slide, and internationally loved Miami, FL posting a 3.0 percent decline to a still stratospheric $1,760 rate per month.
There must be something about Nashville because like the city’s one-bedroom units, two-bedroom Nashville, TN apartments shot up significantly; the two-bedroom units rose by 12.2 percent to $1,715. Athens, GA was hot in the two-bedroom area with an increase of 10.3 percent, and college town Gainesville, FL saw two-bedroom rents rise by 5.8 percent to $1,210.
Milwaukee two bedrooms bucked the Wisconsin trend as Brew City reported a 5.8 percent gain here.
The next four cities were tightly bunched as Tampa, FL, Fargo, ND, Los Angeles, CA and El Paso, TX all reported increases within the 4.0 to 4.4 percent range.
Scottsdale, AZ came in 9th with a modest 3.9 percent increase, and Colorado Springs rounded out the top ten increasers with a similar 3.8 percent rise.
The Saints are doing well, but New Orleans two-bedroom units led the losers with a big 10.3 percent loss.
Houston, TX and Buffalo, NY were not even close, though they posted 7.4 and 7.2 percent respective declines. Baltimore, MD, Syracuse, NY and warm Miami, FL all lost between 4.0 and 4.6 percent, although Miami’s median two-bedroom rent that clocked in at $2,211 per month is still high.
Cleveland OH, and Memphis, TN showed almost identical 3.6 and 3.5 percent decreases, and two Texas towns—Fort Worth and Dallas—decreased by 3.2 and 2.5 percent.
December Recap: What’s Next?
The national economic picture looks tenuous as we move through December. Oil prices that we reported would stoke inflationary fears at their previous level in the mid-70s took a crash-worthy tumble to just over $50 per bbl.
When gas is cheaper, consumers have more discretionary income, and those per gallon prices that were nearing or over $3.00 per gallon have precipitously dropped to even under $2.00 in some Texas locations.
The stock market also looks weak, and that may temporarily halt the Fed’s string of interest rate increases. With a possibly weaker economy, less threat of inflation and stable interest rates, we’re just not feeling much rent movement moving into the winter months. We’ll also see if what seems like an early winter will put a damper on January rents.
Be sure to check with us on January 1, 2019 for our full recap of 2018 nationwide rent rates.
For press inquiries, please contact Sam Radbil.
Each month, using over 1 million 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.