National Rent Rate Increased by 2.8% YOY in February

Irvine, CA, May 22, 2018-February 2018 shows a national rent increase of 2.8%, compared to 2.5% in February 2017, according to the latest Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI) by CoreLogic.

Low rental home inventory, relative to demand, fuels the growth of single-family rent prices. The SFRI shows that single-family rent prices have climbed between 2010 and 2018; however, year-over-year rent price increases have slowed since February 2016, when they peaked at 4.2%.

National rent growth in February 2018 was dampened by high-end rentals, which are defined as properties with rent prices greater than 125% of a region’s median rent. High-end rent prices increased 2.4% year over year in February 2018, up from a gain of 1.4% in February 2017. Rent prices among low-end rentals-properties with rent prices less than 75% of the regional median-increased 3.7% in February 2018, down from a gain of 4.5% in February 2017.

Among 20 metro areas, Las Vegas had the highest year-over-year increase in single-family rents in February 2018, at 5.3% (compared with February 2017), followed by Orlando (4.8% increase) and Phoenix (4.4% increase). For the third consecutive month, Honolulu was the only metro with decreasing rent prices, declining 0.5% year over year in February 2018.

Metro areas with limited new construction, low rental vacancies and strong local economies that attract new employees tend to have stronger rent growth. Both Orlando and Phoenix experienced year-over-year rent growth, driven by employment growth of 3.7% and 3.1% year over year in these metro areas. This is compared with the national employment growth average of 1.4%, according to data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of the 20 metros analyzed, St. Louis experienced the lowest employment growth, which could be a factor in its low rent growth. Rent prices continue to increase in disaster-struck areas like the Houston metro area, which experienced growth of 2.7% year over year. This is up from a 1.2% increase in October 2017, which was the first rent increase for Houston since April 2016.

"Single-family rents continued to increase in February, but the rate of increase slowed from a year ago, particularly for low-end rentals," said Molly Boesel, principal economist for CoreLogic. "The slowdown in growth may signal that rents are beginning to stabilize on the low end.”