Rents Surge in May, Following Pandemic Lull

Off the Charts: The Visual Says It All

A woman stands by the window in a kitchen and packs up before moving out.

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Renters haven’t been spared from the effects of a manic residential real estate market during the pandemic.

Rents jumped 2.3% in May, the largest one-month increase since 2015, to an average price of $1,747 per month, according to data released Wednesday by real estate website Zillow. The chart below shows how a steady increase in rents subsided during the early days of the pandemic, only to surge to record highs this spring. The listed price is the average for all housing available for rent, including single-family homes, apartments, and condos.

Just like those looking to buy a home, renters face a daunting market where there are few available places to live and lots of competition for each unit. With demand outpacing the available supply, prices have surged to record highs.

“Coming out of the pandemic, apartment rents could blow the top off all expectations—including our own, which have generally been more bullish than others,” deputy chief economist Jay Parsons wrote in a report last month from RealPage, which collects nationwide data on millions of apartment units.

Data from RealPage showed that rents for apartments grew in April at the fastest rate in about a decade and could be primed for even more increases in the coming months.

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