The national median rent for a one-bedroom apartment has climbed to $1,504, according to research from Zumper. This is significant: This is only the second time in Zumper’s history that this figure has risen past $1,500.
The pace of rent increases, though, is slowing. May’s median apartment rent was an increase of just $9 and 0.6% from the median figure in April. This modest change marks the seventh consecutive month of relatively small adjustments in the national one-bedroom median.
The uncertain economic climate has resulted in varied reactions across different housing markets. While cities like Boise and Phoenix, which experienced significant rent growth during the pandemic, continue to see rent growth slow, New York City and Jersey City have been breaking records with sustained price increases.
New York City in May ranked as the most expensive rental market with a one-bedroom median rent of $3,780, surpassing San Francisco, the third-place holder, by nearly $800. Meanwhile, second-ranked Jersey City’s one-bedroom median rent sits at $3,180, a 6% month-over-month increase and a surge of 28.7% surge compared to May of last year.
Despite these cases, Zumper reports that the rental market is displaying a return to pre-pandemic seasonal patterns. Traditionally, renters tend to move during the spring, leading to increased demand throughout the summer and fall months, which subsequently drives prices higher.
“This return to seasonality is a reassuring trend, especially considering just how much economic uncertainty we’re experiencing,” said Zumper Chief Executive officer Anthemos Georgiades. “A record number of Americans believe now is the worst time ever to buy a house. That sentiment is keeping demand for rentals high. But many renters are putting off moves as they ride out uncertainty. At the same time, new multifamily developments continue to open. All these factors are helping create equilibrium across much of the rental market.”
This marks only the second time in Zumper’s history that the national median rent for a one-bedroom home has exceeded $1,500. The previous instance occurred in September of 2022 when the median reached $1,503.
While downtown areas across the country struggle to fill vacant office spaces, one city in the Midwest stands out for its resiliency in the multifamily market. Columbus, Ohio, has witnessed relatively stable monthly apartment rent prices in recent years compared to the rest of the United States, according to Zumper’s research.
With a median one-bedroom rent of $1,020, Columbus experienced a healthy 3% month-over-month increase and a 2% year-over-year rise.
Zumper says that Columbus is poised to become a city to watch in the upcoming months and years as more tech companies establish offices in the area and local officials expand efforts to attract additional jobs and residents. Recognizing Columbus’s potential, the Biden administration recently designated it as one of five Workforce Hubs, commending the city for its investments in various industries such as semiconductor manufacturing, clean energy, and transportation.
Another Midwest city, Lexington, Kentucky, saw one of the larger jumps in median apartment rent in May. According to Zumper, the median one-bedroom rent in Lexington jumped 5.9% to $900 in May, the fourth-highest percentage jump this month.
Chattanooga, Tennessee, was on the opposite end of the scale, with its median one-bedroom apartment rent falling 3.8% to $1,280. Chattanooga saw the fourth-largest percentage drop in May.