Rents fall nationwide for third straight month as demand cools


Millions of Americans are getting a measure of relief when it comes to keeping a roof over their head: After skyrocketing during the pandemic, rent is falling nationwide.

According to a new report from apartment marketplace Rent.com, the national median rent for residential properties fell 0.78% in December of 2023 compared to a year ago — the third consecutive month in which rental prices have fallen across the U.S. The median rent countrywide was $1,964 in December, or $90 less than its peak in August 2022, the report shows. 

That modest drop-off comes amid a rise in homes for sale, luring buyers who otherwise would’ve rented back into the residential real estate market. That means less competition for renters, who can leverage the softening market to get better deals, Rent Director Kate Terhune Director told CBS MoneyWatch. 

“It’s the year of the renter… they’re being really choosy right now,” she said. Property managers aren’t able to fill every unit, and those dollars absolutely count, so we’re seeing some concessions being made.

Over the last year through December, rent fell particularly sharply in Florida, Idaho and Oregon, where rents fell 9.21%, 5.76% and 5.08%, respectively, the report shows.  By contrast, rents surged in cities such as Providence, Rhode Island, where prices soared more than 21%; Columbus, Ohio (11.56%); and San Jose, California (9.48%), according to Terhune. 

The rent is expected fall further in many cities when new rental units hit the market, putting pressure on landlords to fill vacant units. In another factor that could weigh on rents, the Federal Reserve has projected multiple interest-rate cuts this. That would  lead to lower mortgage costs, spurring homes sales while reducing demand for rentals. 

To be sure, despite the recent dip, rents remains unaffordable for many Americans. Overall, rents since the pandemic have jumped 23%, adding an extra $371 per month to households’ rent, Rent.com’s data shows. In 2022, roughly half of renters across the U.S. struggled to afford a roof over their head, according to new research from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. 



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