Median rental price hits highest point in two years

by Liz Hughes

The median rental price hit its highest level in two years in May, according to Realtor.com’s Monthly Rental Report

Nationally, rental prices increased 5.5% from last year, an increase the report attributes to rising vaccination rates and scaled-back remote-work policies. Forty-three of the 50 largest metros had a median rent increase year over year, up from 40 in April and 33 in March, according to the report. 

In May, the median rent in the United States was $1,527 per month. According to the report, rents are increasing faster than the 3.2% growth seen in March 2020. The report also found rents for one- and two-bedroom rentals reached new highs in May. Additionally, rents for studios grew for the first time in 10 months. 

According to Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale, median rent prices reached their highest level in more than two years in May, surpassing pre-COVID levels. 

“More than three-quarters of the 50 largest markets also hit this milestone, with rents climbing at an average pace of 9.1% year-over-year — nearly two times the overall inflation rate of 5%,” Hale said in a press release. “Highlighting COVID’s uneven impact across the U.S., rents continued to decline in the nation’s largest metros, like Los Angeles and Boston, where May prices were below prior peaks. However, some big cities, San Jose, are making big strides toward recovery, with rents on pace to see new highs later this year.”

Despite an average nationwide uptick, Seattle rents declined year over year in May, down 2.6% to a median monthly rent of $1,850.

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