Politically, culturally, and ecologically, 2017 was a year of anxiety. Hurricanes and flooding ravaged the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Texas. Political controversies dominated headlines and push-notifications. Relations with North Korea reached their lowest point in decades, raising fears of a nuclear standoff.
Economically, though, things remained stable in 2017. The economy continued to recover from the market crash of 2008, with unemployment reaching its lowest point in 17 years. Although homeownership is rebounding from its nadir last decade, renting now far outpaces ownership. According to a new report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, renting households have been steadily rising since 2004, with 2017 marking the first slight decline in those 13 years. As of the middle of 2017, the JCHS estimates that there are about 43 million renters in the U.S. — more than a third of U.S. householders.
In an effort to give renters (and potential renters) market information in close to real time, ABODO releases monthly reports on rental trends throughout the year. Our Annual Rent Report is a more zoomed-out look at the year in renting. How did rent prices change nationally? At the state level? Where did rent increase the most over 2016, and where did it decline? Where are the 10 most expensive rental markets? Let’s start with a look at what happened nationwide.
Median Rent Nationwide
Nationally, rents were on the rise over the course of 2017. The national median rent for one-bedrooms rose 2.4%, ending the year at $1,040. Rents for two-bedroom apartments were $1,252 in December, 3% higher than they were in January.
But it didn’t always look like we were headed for an increase. One-bedroom median rents fell for much of the first quarter, and through June they were within 1.5 percentage points of January’s figure. In July, the median one-bedroom rent was $1,016 — exactly what it was in January. But the fall saw marked increases. The year’s most volatile months were October, November, and December, which saw the median rent increasing far more quickly than at any other time.
Two-bedroom rents exhibited similar stability through the first quarter before more sharp increases in the second. After a pause in the late summer and early Autumn, two-bedroom rents, like one-bedroom rents, saw their greatest hikes in the last three months of the year.
Rent by State
Rent went up in 28 states last year, as well as the District of Columbia. It decreased in 21 states, and stayed the same in just one: South Dakota.
The states where rent fell most were Connecticut, where rent fell an average of 3.8% per month, Washington (-1.3%), and New Mexico (-1.1%). The states with the highest average rental hikes were Rhode Island, where rents rose an average of 7.8% per month, West Virginia (5.3%), and Wyoming (5.1%).
Honolulu, HI, and Seattle, WA — two rental markets known for their volatile prices — also make our top five for greatest average monthly change, up an average of 2.4% and 2.1% each month, respectively.
The greatest average decreases month to month were much smaller than increases across the board, but the largest average monthly decrease went to Fort Wayne, IN, dropping an average of 2.8% monthly. Lincoln, NE (-2.2%); El Paso, TX (-1.9%); Pittsburgh, PA (-1.7%), St. Paul, MN (-1.7%); and Nashville, TN (-1.6%) also had sizable decreases.
Notably, Fort Wayne, IN, holds its place for largest average monthly decrease for two-bedroom apartments, with an average monthly change of -2.8%. Six other cities also maintain a spot in our top 10 decreases: El Paso, TX (-1.6%); Pittsburgh, PA (-1.3%); Buffalo, NY (-2.1%); St. Paul, MN (-.8%); and Columbus, GA (-.9%). The most surprising city on the list is San Francisco, CA — continually labeled as the most expensive rental market in the country. Nonetheless, two-bedroom rents there dropped an average of .9% a month.
The composition of our top 10 average monthly two-bedroom rent increases also remains very similar to list for one-bedroom increases, although these increases are markedly less steep. New Orleans, LA, drops to #7, with an average increase of 1.4%, while Washington, D.C. takes its place at #1, with an average increase of 2.6%. Atlanta, GA, comes in at #2 with 2.3%, and Seattle, WA, holds its #4 slot with 1.7%, tied with the rate of Minneapolis, MN, apartments. Sacramento, CA crawls up the list from #10 to #8, with an increase of 1.3%.
Miami, FL (2.1%); Winston-Salem, NC (1.5%); Phoenix, AZ (1.2%); and Kansas City, MO (1.2%) also saw their two-bedroom rents increase at some of the highest average monthly rates in the country. Meanwhile, two-bedroom apartments in Milwaukee, WI; Lubbock, TX; and Anchorage, AK, saw almost no rent change at all.
Highest & Lowest Rents in the Country
Coming in at an average monthly rent of $4,373, San Francisco, CA, continues to hold the nation’s highest price for a one-bedroom apartment by a margin of more than $1,000. And San Francisco’s rents actually decreased this year by an average of .9% each month.
New York City, NY, comes in second, with one-bedroom apartments going for $3,234, which also saw small average monthly decreases of .3%. NYC is followed closely by Los Angeles, CA ($3,099), and Washington, D.C ($3,031), both of which saw rises throughout the year.
Renters in Detroit, MI, enjoyed the lowest average monthly rent of the year: $613 for a one-bedroom. That’s one-seventh the cost of a one-bedroom in San Francisco. At just a dollar more, Fort Wayne, IN, has the nation’s second-cheapest rent, after topping our lists for largest rent average monthly decreases for both one- and two-bedrooms.
Lubbock, TX, pulled off an interesting feat, landing at #7 for cheapest one-bedroom rents with an average monthly change of nothing whatsoever. There’s something to be said for stable rents.
January 2018 Rent: New Year, New Trends?
With the recent JHCS report predicting that the past decade of rapid growth in renting households might be coming to an end, we might be on the cusp of an new rental landscape. In 2017, we saw about eight months of slow declines in rent prices, followed by four months of increases that more than made up for the early year rent drops. What does 2018 have in store?
Nationwide, 2018 starts with slightly higher rents for both one- and two-bedroom apartments: The national median one-bedroom rent is $1,046, a .58% increase over December, while two-bedroom rents saw only a negligible .17% increase to $1,152.
1-Bedroom January Rents
To make sure we’re including accurate data for as many cities as possible, we’re expanding our 2018 reports to include nearly 20 more cities. We’ve also dropped a few cities that no longer match our parameters for minimum population and property count thresholds. (For more detail, visit our methodology section.)
One of the newcomers to our study tops this month’s list of highest one-bedroom rent hikes for January: Syracuse, NY, with a jump of 8.8%. Washington, D.C., is a distant second-place, with rents up 5.5% to $2,453. The nation’s capital is closely by St. Petersburg, FL (5.4%), and St. Paul, MN (5.1%) — which was also #3 for December rent increases. Phoenix, AZ, is another repeat on the list, with a 3.2% increase in one-bedroom rents, following a 2.6% rise in our December report.
Three Texas cities saw rents go up at least 2%: Richardson leads the Lone Star state with a 3.2% increase to $1,236, followed by Fort Worth (up 3% to $930), and Houston (up 2.2% to $1,057).
Our top two cities for greatest median one-bedroom rent decreases are also new to our studies: Little Rock, AR (-12.2%), and New Haven, CT (-9.1%). Those newcomers push last month’s top two down to #3 and #5: Columbus, OH (-7.4%), and Madison, WI (-4.9%), respectively.
Two other Ohio cities also saw significant decreases in January. One-bedroom rents in Cincinnati are down 3.9%, to $824, and Cleveland’s are down 3.2%, to $777.
2-Bedroom January Rents
In many cases, two-bedroom rents are following suit with one-bedroom fluctuations. St. Paul, MN, saw the highest increase, up 9.5% to $1,501, with St. Petersburg, FL, close behind with rents up 9.2% to $1,485.
Fort Worth, TX (4.5%); Richardson, TX (4.1%); Denver, CO (2.8%); and Syracuse, NY (2.5%), are all also carry-overs from our list of highest one-bedroom rent hikes. Rent increases in Boulder, CO (5.1%); Las Vegas, NV (4.8%); Gainesville, FL (3.1%); and Evansville, IN (2.9%) outpaced their one-bedroom counterparts.
Two-bedroom rent decreases, however, seem to go their own way. Our largest decrease of 6.4% goes to Fargo, ND, where two-bedroom rents are now $790. New Orleans, LA — which lead 2017 for highest average monthly increases — gets a bit of relief, with two-bedroom rents down 6.1%.
Three typically expensive cities saw breaks for their two-bedroom renters: Berkeley, CA, saw prices dip 5.3%, while Atlanta, GA, and Seattle, WA, saw drops of 3.3% and 3.2%, respectively.
Cleveland, OH (-4.8%); Little Rock, AK (-3.6%); and New Haven, CT (-38%), are the only cities that repeat from the one-bedroom list.
So far, national rent trends paint a mild picture going into 2018. We’ll keep an eye on the trends, and report back next month.
Soros Newest Investor Of Tesla Bonds
Tesla looks to have a new bond holder and it’s none other than George Soros. Whatever this mean, Soros has also taken a stake in Crypto-Currencies .
Zerohedge Reports: Amid Elon Musk’s darkest hour in late March – as his stocks and bonds tumbled in price – it seems there was at least one other billionaire willing to buy the ‘blood on the street’.
According to the latest 13Fs, George Soros’ investment firm took a $35 million stake in Tesla’s convertible bonds during the first three months of the year.
As a reminder, convertibles are hybrid securities, either bonds or preferred stock, that can be exchanged for a predetermined number of common shares. That effectively lets an investor participate in stock-price changes, but with the yield and greater security of a fixed-income instrument.
The March 2019 Converts bounced handsomely off those lows – tracking the stock’s divergent bounce – but in recent days has fallen back towards the lows, catching down to the straight bonds record low price.
“Racial Bias Education Day” To Close Down Starbucks Nationwide
Starbucks is going to the illogical extreme by taking an entire day to put their employees through what they call “Racial Bias Education Day”. Coming after a viral videos showed two men being arrested in a Starbucks in Philadelphia. Starbucks almost instantly gave into calls to do ‘something’ but will this really fix anything in a culture where ‘racism’ is more of a political talking point than an actual substantive conversation or debate.
CNBC Reports: Starbucks said Tuesday it will be closing all of its company-owned restaurants in the U.S. during the afternoon of May 29 to conduct a racial-bias education program.
“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks, said in a statement Tuesday. “While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”
Soros Now Investing In Crypto-Currencies
After a historic drop in cryptocurrency prices in the first quarter, one which deflated much of the euphoria that surrounded the sector in late 2017 and the start of this year, the space is about to get exciting again because none other than 87-year-old billionaire George Soros is reportedly preparing to trade cryptocurrencies as prices plunge.
According to Bloomberg, Adam Fisher -who oversees macro investing at New York-based Soros Fund Management – has received internal approval to trade virtual coins in the last few months, “though he has yet to make a wager.”
The question, of course, is whether Bloomberg’s leak is accurate, and if indeed Soros is only now getting started in the space or if he has quietly loaded up already.
What is ironic, is that just three months ago when speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Soros said digital coins cannot function as actual currencies because of their volatility, “but he didn’t predict the hard tumble that some observers had forecast at the time.”
“As long as you have dictatorships on the rise you will have a different ending, because the rulers in those countries will turn to Bitcoin to build a nest egg abroad,” Soros, 87, said on Jan. 25.
With Bitcoin tumbling below $7000 recently…