Single-family rents trend upward after previous cooldown: Zillow

Single-family rents have risen by a mind-boggling 39.6% since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. More recently, these increases have been more of a mixed bag, depending on the metro area.

At the national level, rent growth is gaining speed again. Zillow‘s monthly rental report shows that U.S. single-family rents rose by 4.7% year over year in June and were 0.4% higher than in May. Additionally, rents rose on an annualized basis in 49 of the 50 largest metro areas. Previously scorching Austin was the only metro where rents fell year over year — but only by a modest 0.6%.

The typical monthly rent for a single-family home in June was $2,288. Cleveland registered the highest year-over-year single-family rent growth at 8.9%, followed by Milwaukee (7.7%); Cincinnati (7.6%); Louisville, Kentucky (7.5%); and St. Louis (7.2%). Four metros — Buffalo, New York (-1.6%); Austin (-0.1%); Hartford, Connecticut (-0.1%); and New Orleans (-0.03%) — saw rents fall on a monthly basis.

“More people move during the summer, which causes the rental market to heat up,” Skylar Olsen, chief economist at Zillow, said in the report. “Renters are being drawn to more affordable areas within the Northeast and Midwest. Commuting into New York City or Boston from places like Hartford or Providence might have been a deterrent before, but in this new age of remote and hybrid work, the savings seem worth it for many renters, even if it means an occasional painful commute.”

Multifamily rents have been growing less quickly. They’re up 26.7% since the start of the pandemic and up 2.7% year over year. Multifamily rents were up year over year in June in 40 of the largest 50 metros. 

Hartford, Connecticut, had the highest year-over-year rent growth across all types of properties at 8.4%, despite the monthly pullback on the single-family side. Buffalo exhibited similar behavior as single-family rents fell month over month, while multifamily rents were up 5.7% year over year, the fifth-largest jump of any market.

Providence, Rhode Island (6.7%); Louisville, Kentucky (6.4%); and Cleveland (6.3%) were also among the top five for annualized multifamily rent growth.

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