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Annual Rent Report: What Trends Did U.S. Markets See in 2018?

Despite a still-strong economy, one-bedroom U.S. average rent prices decreased by 2.01 percent, while two-bedroom prices were virtually flat, with a slight 0.08 percent gain.

2018 continued 2017’s trend of uncertainty, and as political controversies intensified, an unsettled feeling permeated the United States. Fires raged in California, Texans had to boil water for days because of floods, and the stock market began to look precarious.

Nationwide Median Rent

Nationally, one and two-bedroom 2018 rents were mixed over the year’s course. The national median rent for one-bedrooms fell 2.01 percent, ending the year at $1,025. Rents for two-bedroom apartments stood at $1,255 in December, only one dollar more than they were in January.

Rental rates that looked unexciting in January initiated a slow decline in February. By June, the decline became more pronounced as one-bedrooms fell by almost 4 percent to $1,005. Two-bedrooms also posted their peak weakness in June losing 2.71 percent at $1,220. By year-end, one-bedroom units settled at $1,025, off 2.01 percent for the year, while two-bedrooms flattened considerably with a statistically insignificant gain of 0.08.

State Report

Rent went up in 29 states last year, including the District of Columbia. It decreased in 22 states and stayed the same in just one: South Dakota.

The states where rent fell most were Wyoming, where rent fell an average of 3.53 percent, followed by West Virginia, with a loss of 3.51 percent.

The states with the highest average rental hikes were Nevada, where rents rose an average of 3.0 percent, and New Mexico, with a 1.94 percent rise.

The vast majority—45 states—saw their monthly average rent fluctuation stay within 2 percent of the previous year’s value.

The states with the highest rents were all on the coasts (or in the Pacific). Washington, D.C., again tops the nation, with an average rent of $2,358, followed by Massachusetts at $2,139, Rhode Island at $1,732, Hawaii at $1,676, and New York at $1,633.

If you’re looking for low rents, head for the Plains or the Southwest. With an average rent of $525 per month, South Dakota once again took the crown for the nation’s lowest rent. New Mexico ($576), Arkansas ($582), and Oklahoma ($613) weren’t far behind.

Aside from South Dakota, where monthly changes were flat, many of these states saw their rents decrease month to month, on average.

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