[Rent Report] September Rents Surge Upward

September one-bedroom rents are up 8.27 percent for the year and moved 2.4 percent higher from August to September. Two-bedrooms have risen 6.87 percent yearly and tacked on 2.09 percent last month.

These are big numbers, so let’s analyze our September stats.

1-Bedroom Apartments

Our top-ten risers were strong as our number one gainer rose by double digits and our last place mover was up over 6 percent.

Upward Movers

Boulder, CO led our one-bedroom gainers list with a substantial 10.77 percent gain to a median $1,852. Savannah, GA followed with an 8.35 percent gain; Santa Ana, CA rose 8.04 percent on top of its 6.11 percent gain in August, and Scottsdale, AZ pushed upward by 7.26 percent to a median $1,758. Charleston, SC rose 7.24 percent to a median rent of $1,599.

Price gains on our list following the above five cities were also robust.

Tempe, AZ added 7.03 percent, Tampa, FL rose 6.94 percent to a median $1,526, and Phoenix, AZ posted a 6.62 percent jump—this on top of August’s 5.31 percent move.

Finally, Chandler, AZ and Orlando, FL reported respective gains of 6.42 and 6.34 percent.

The most expensive one-bedroom on our gainers list was Santa Ana, CA–for the third month in a row– at a median $2,325 while the most affordable was Savannah, GA at $1,285. No city on September’s top ten one-bedroom gainers list reported a median rent anywhere near $1000.

Downward Movers

Norfolk, VA saw its one-bedroom median rent fall again with a loss of 10.74 percent on top of the city’s 6.92 percent tumble last month. Bakersfield, CA dropped 6.60 percent. Philadelphia, PA fell 3.59 percent propelling its two-month loss to over 10 percent. Dayton, OH took fourth place with a 3.01 percent loss. Buffalo, NY was next, but with a smaller 2.32 percent drop to $928.

After that, losses were muted. Madison, WI fell 2.08 percent to settle at a median $1,179 while Little Rock, AK lost 1.83 percent. Finally, St. Louis, MO, Omaha, NE and Arlington, TX dropped between 1.33 and 1.66 percent—hardly earthshaking numbers.

Those looking for pure value should head to Dayton, OH where a median one-bedroom apartment rented for only $677. Philadelphia, PA was the priciest one-bedroom on our losers list at $1,235.

2-Bedroom Apartments

Again, in September, two-bedroom gainers reported a tiny spread of less than 2 percent between first and worst increasers. Our top ten losers did show a more pronounced difference between first and tenth place — about 3.5 percent.

Upward Movers

Repeating August’s trend, three of our September top ten two-bedroom gainers were in Arizona.

Orlando, FL led the gainers with a big upward move of 6.66 percent to $1,665. Scottsdale, AZ placed second on our list rising 6.49 percent—another city that has added a combined 10 percent over the last two months. Fresno, CA rose a healthy 6.39 percent and Colorado Springs, CO gained 6.28 percent at a median $1,742.

Miami, FL reported a rise of 5.95 percent. Boulder, CO moved upward by 5.81 percent and Tempe, AZ, at a median $1,693 gained an even 5.61 percent.

Phoenix, AZ was up 5.26 percent to $1,680, and Buffalo, NY was strong again in September reporting a 4.92 percent gain.

San Francisco, CA made it onto the top ten two-bedroom gainer’s list as it gained 4.71 percent and continued its comeback after Covid-19 had negatively impacted the city’s rent structure.

Buffalo, NY reported the cheapest two-bedroom median rent on our gainers list at $1,429 while San Francisco took the prize for the priciest median rent, crossing the $4,000 again mark at $4,179.

Downward Movers

Columbus GA’s two-bedroom median rent fell 4.85 percent to $864 on top of its August 4.82 percent drop. New Haven, CT lost 3.45 percent to settle at $1,625. St. Louis, MO dropped 2.58 percent, and Tallahassee, FL moved downward to a median $1,064.

Madison, WI dropped 2.12 percent, and Syracuse, NY fell 1.99 percent to a median September two-bedroom rent of $1,526. Sacramento, CA and Long Beach, CA lost 1.96 and 1.74 percent respectively; College Station, TX sunk to $812—a fall of 1.48 percent, and Fargo, ND dropped 1.29 percent.

Fargo, ND was a great two-bedroom value at only $689, and Long Beach, CA was again–as in August– the most expensive two-bedroom at $2,090.

Rent Report Recap & What’s Next?

The United States currently exists in the strange world of fully open schools and businesses while at the same time burdened with record Covid-19 cases. Previous predictions of a sense of normalcy by the fall of 2021 have gone out the window with experts now claiming that maybe spring of 2022 will bring some pandemic relief.

Inflation is a big concern, and there are rumblings about Fed easing and rising interest rates in the future. Evictions may begin in earnest as consumer protections are expiring. 

Meanwhile, rents are skyrocketing. There are fewer rental units available, and landlords stung by eviction restrictions are looking to recoup past lost rent. Add that to the red-hot housing market fueled by low supply and high demand and we have the recipe for continued sharp rent increases.

We don’t see rent prices coming down anytime soon, and we certainly don’t see a sustained drop in the near future.

Be sure to check in 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.