RadPad’s 2015 Rent Report: The Rent is Still Too Damn High – And Skyrocketing

2015 was certainly a record year for renting in America and the year’s end will cap one of the biggest growth decades of renting households in the nation’s history. There are now 9 million more renters than there were just a decade ago according to a new study by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies last week.

As we’ve noted several times this year, the skyrocketing demand for rental apartments, condos and other properties is pushing prices into uncharted territories. The Joint Center report also found that of the nation’s now 43 million families and individuals who rent, 1 in 5 are “cost-burdened” by paying more than 30 percent of their incomes on rent.  The result is that in almost every major metro area, the rent is, in fact, still too damn high.

We started number-crunching and decided to take a closer look ourselves at how rent prices have changed over the last 12 months at nine of the most competitive rental markets across the country, including: San Francisco, Oakland, New York City (Manhattan/Brooklyn), Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, DC and Miami.

2015 RadPad Renting Recap

To do so, we analyzed asking rents for market-rate apartments on more than 1 Million Listings recorded in RadPad’s database for these markets over the last 12 months, which represents a snapshot of the kinds of prices apartment seekers are seeing. Specifically, we looked at the increase or decrease in rent price that renters are currently seeing in these markets versus 12 months prior. The findings are illustrated in the graphic above and you can see some of the more notable highlights, below.

Renters in the Bay Area are Seeing the Highest Rents, but Los Angeles Has Biggest Increase

  • San Francisco renters are closing out the year as they opened it – by paying the most in the country for a one or two-bedroom apartment. The current median price for a one-bedroom in San Francisco at year’s end is $3,973. The median for a two bedroom currently is $5,257.
  • Although Los Angeles median prices for a one-bedroom currently come in at more than $1,500 less than San Francisco, Angelenos actually saw a bigger jump in prices over the last 12 months than their counterparts in the Bay Area. Los Angeles one-bedroom medians jumped by 35% during that time, while San Francisco rents jumped 32%.

Oakland Year-to-Year Growth Passes San Francisco and Brooklyn Passes Manhattan

  • Not only is Los Angeles surpassing San Francisco with its year-to-year increase in rent prices, but so is Oakland. One-bedroom median prices across the Bay Bridge have risen 33% over the last twelve months as the tech housing boom and companies like Uber move east.
  • Meanwhile a similar shift is happening on the other side of the country when you look East at New York City’s two most popular boroughs. Rent in Brooklyn increased 32% while rent in Manhattan increased by only 14%.

DC and Miami are the Only Markets with a Decrease in Year-to-Year Median Prices for one- bedroom’s

  • Of the seven markets we looked at, Miami had the lowest year end median asking price for a one-bedroom at $1,602. It also saw the largest year-to-year decline percentage in one-bedroom prices, with a 14% decrease in asking prices.
  • DC was the only other market that saw a decline in one-bedroom median asking prices as it finished the year at $1,712, 11% below the asking price twelve months prior.

One-bedrooms in Boston Stay the Same and Two-bedroom Prices Go Down Year-to-Year

  • Twelve months ago the median price for a one bedroom in Boston was $2,200 and as we hit year’s end it’s still the same. In fact the median price each month in Boston never fluctuated by more than $300-$400.
  • Two Bedrooms in Boston also went against the skyrocketing rent trend as they actually went down 3% over the last twelve months.

Chicago Two-Bedrooms are in Demand

  • Of the seven markets we looked at, Chicago ended the previous twelve months with the third lowest median rent for a one-bedroom – at $1,779. This was an 8% increase year-over-year.
  • Two-bedrooms on the other hand increased 21% and finished the last twelve months with a median asking price of $2,411.

In the market for a new pad? This is the time that you should do it, given that most renters look to move during the summer or spring months. Check to see what’s on the market right now.