15 Cities With the Biggest Rent Increases in the Past Decade

Man with house keys and thumbs down
Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock.com

This story originally appeared on Self.

Along with housing prices, rental prices have risen dramatically in the last decade. According to data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the average rental price for an apartment is about $1,400 per month in 2020, an increase of 32% in nominal dollars from 2010.

Some cities have experienced much larger increases in rent, but income has not kept pace. The current economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more difficult for many people to afford their rent payments each month.

Economic data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics — which compares the relative change in prices paid by consumers for goods, services and housing — shows that rent and housing prices are increasing at a faster rate than other items. Home sale prices have more than rebounded from the crash in 2008, while rent prices have risen steadily, showing only a slight dip during the last recession.

When compared to other goods and services — including food, clothing, and transportation — both rented and owned housing are becoming relatively more expensive.

While average rent in the U.S. has increased by more than 30% over the last decade, some cities and states have experienced much larger increases. At the state level, the biggest increase in rental prices occurred in the Pacific Northwest. Washington and Oregon recorded increases of nearly 74% and 67%, respectively.

Conversely, rents increased more modestly in many Southern and Northeastern states, such as Mississippi, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Delaware. Out of all states, Nevada experienced the smallest increase in average rent since 2010, at only 4.5%.

Methodology

Woman calculating rent
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

The West Coast claims one-third of the metros with the biggest rent increases over the past decade. The Seattle metro area had the most significant increase in rent, with average rental prices nearly doubling. Over the same time period, household income increased markedly — by nearly 47% — but not enough to keep pace with the rise in housing costs. This trend can also be seen in the other large metros with sharp rent increases. While the average change in rent was 57% for the top 15 large metros, household income increased by less than 40%.

Rent increases for the small and midsize metros were smaller but still sizable, averaging 51.2% since 2010. Household income for these metros increased by less too, going up by 39.6% over the last decade.

With sky-high rents in many cities and many Americans without jobs, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for many people to afford their rent payments. In response, federal, state and local government programs — such as the CARES Act — have been created to aid renters. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a temporary eviction moratorium that started in early September to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

To find the metropolitan areas with the biggest increase in rental prices in the past decade, researchers at Self Financial analyzed 2010 and 2020 data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009 and 2019 American Community Survey (ACS). The researchers ranked metro areas according to the average change in rent from 2010 to 2020. The change in rent was calculated as the average percent change in rent for studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom and four-bedroom apartments. In the event of a tie, the metro with the higher average rent for 2020 was ranked higher. Using ACS data, researchers also calculated the 10-year change in household income.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis.

Here are the metros with the biggest increase in rental prices in the past decade.

15. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin

Chicago, Illinois
f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Average 10-year change in rent (all sizes): 36.8%
  • 10-year change in median household income: 28.4%
  • Median studio rent: $1,045 (+32.3%)
  • Median 1-bedroom rent: $1,177 (+30.3%)
  • Median 2-bedroom rent: $1,365 (+34.5%)
  • Median 3-bedroom rent: $1,734 (+39.8%)
  • Median 4-bedroom rent: $2,065 (+47.3%)

14. Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama

Vulcan statue in Birmingham, Alabama
chara_stagram / Shutterstock.com
  • Average 10-year change in rent (all sizes): 37.4%
  • 10-year change in median household income: 30.1%
  • Median studio rent: $875 (+40.7%)
  • Median 1-bedroom rent: $937 (+31%)
  • Median 2-bedroom rent: $1,073 (+34.6%)
  • Median 3-bedroom rent: $1,404 (+38.3%)
  • Median 4-bedroom rent: $1,551 (+42.4%)

13. Grand Rapids-Kentwood, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Henryk Sadura / Shutterstock.com
  • Average 10-year change in rent (all sizes): 39.5%
  • 10-year change in median household income: 39.4%
  • Median studio rent: $728 (+25.1%)
  • Median 1-bedroom rent: $838 (+34.7%)
  • Median 2-bedroom rent: $1,022 (+36.4%)
  • Median 3-bedroom rent: $1,377 (+44%)
  • Median 4-bedroom rent: $1,574 (+57.2%)

12. Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina

North Carolina Capitol
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Average 10-year change in rent (all sizes): 40.5%
  • 10-year change in median household income: 35%
  • Median studio rent: $1,030 (+40.1%)
  • Median 1-bedroom rent: $1,094 (+34.9%)
  • Median 2-bedroom rent: $1,245 (+38%)
  • Median 3-bedroom rent: $1,587 (+35.6%)
  • Median 4-bedroom rent: $2,028 (+54%)

11. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee
jdross75 / Shutterstock.com
  • Average 10-year change in rent (all sizes): 42.9%
  • 10-year change in median household income: 37.6%
  • Median studio rent: $967 (+42%)
  • Median 1-bedroom rent: $1,031 (+35.7%)
  • Median 2-bedroom rent: $1,223 (+39.8%)
  • Median 3-bedroom rent: $1,598 (+38.4%)
  • Median 4-bedroom rent: $1,961 (+58.5%)

10. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, Texas

f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Average 10-year change in rent (all sizes): 43%
  • 10-year change in median household income: 44%
  • Median studio rent: $1,062 (+45.3%)
  • Median 1-bedroom rent: $1,220 (+46.5%)
  • Median 2-bedroom rent: $1,458 (+43.4%)
  • Median 3-bedroom rent: $1,896 (+37.1%)
  • Median 4-bedroom rent: $2,288 (+43%)

9. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota-Wisconsin

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Pinkcandy / Shutterstock.com
  • Average 10-year change in rent (all sizes): 43.4%
  • 10-year change in median household income: 32.6%
  • Median studio rent: $888 (+34.7%)
  • Median 1-bedroom rent: $1,050 (+36%)
  • Median 2-bedroom rent: $1,314 (+39.9%)
  • Median 3-bedroom rent: $1,864 (+50%)
  • Median 4-bedroom rent: $2,192 (+56.2%)

8. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, California

Karl Sonnenberg / Shutterstock.com
  • Average 10-year change in rent (all sizes): 47%
  • 10-year change in median household income: 39.4%
  • Median studio rent: $1,490 (+44.4%)
  • Median 1-bedroom rent: $1,662 (+41.2%)
  • Median 2-bedroom rent: $2,161 (+51.2%)
  • Median 3-bedroom rent: $3,070 (+47.4%)
  • Median 4-bedroom rent: $3,794 (+51%)

7. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts-New Hampshire

CO Leong / Shutterstock.com
  • Average 10-year change in rent (all sizes): 52.2%
  • 10-year change in median household income: 36.2%
  • Median studio rent: $1,655 (+46.5%)
  • Median 1-bedroom rent: $1,833 (+50.4%)
  • Median 2-bedroom rent: $2,252 (+55.8%)
  • Median 3-bedroom rent: $2,811 (+58.6%)
  • Median 4-bedroom rent: $3,073 (+49.4%)

6. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
  • Average 10-year change in rent (all sizes): 52.5%
  • 10-year change in median household income: 32.5%
  • Median studio rent: $1,046 (+48.6%)
  • Median 1-bedroom rent: $1,195 (+52.4%)
  • Median 2-bedroom rent: $1,436 (+50.8%)
  • Median 3-bedroom rent: $1,887 (+49.4%)
  • Median 4-bedroom rent: $2,472 (+61.5%)

5. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, California

San Francisco street car
Tono Balaguer / Shutterstock.com
  • Average 10-year change in rent (all sizes): 73.4%
  • 10-year change in median household income: 55.4%
  • Median studio rent: $1,910 (+72.1%)
  • Median 1-bedroom rent: $2,341 (+74.2%)
  • Median 2-bedroom rent: $2,887 (+76.4%)
  • Median 3-bedroom rent: $3,849 (+72.8%)
  • Median 4-bedroom rent: $4,419 (+71.6%)

4. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon-Washington

Portland skyline
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com
  • Average 10-year change in rent (all sizes): 83.5%
  • 10-year change in median household income: 41.3%
  • Median studio rent: $1,258 (+93.2%)
  • Median 1-bedroom rent: $1,360 (+79.9%)
  • Median 2-bedroom rent: $1,577 (+81.9%)
  • Median 3-bedroom rent: $2,275 (+80.4%)
  • Median 4-bedroom rent: $2,769 (+81.9%)

3. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado

Denver skyline
Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock.com
  • Average 10-year change in rent (all sizes): 83.8%
  • 10-year change in median household income: 45.1%
  • Median studio rent: $1,210 (+89.7%)
  • Median 1-bedroom rent: $1,367 (+87.8%)
  • Median 2-bedroom rent: $1,700 (+84.6%)
  • Median 3-bedroom rent: $2,348 (+79.5%)
  • Median 4-bedroom rent: $2,701 (+77.2%)

2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California

City Hall in San Jose, California
Mike Brake / Shutterstock.com
  • Average 10-year change in rent (all sizes): 88.3%
  • 10-year change in median household income: 54.9%
  • Median studio rent: $2,221 (+90.6%)
  • Median 1-bedroom rent: $2,596 (+89.6%)
  • Median 2-bedroom rent: $3,137 (+94.1%)
  • Median 3-bedroom rent: $4,165 (+79.4%)
  • Median 4-bedroom rent: $4,780 (+87.8%)

1. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington

Liem Bahneman / Shutterstock.com
  • Average 10-year change in rent (all sizes): 91.8%
  • 10-year change in median household income: 46.9%
  • Median studio rent: $1,578 (+101.7%)
  • Median 1-bedroom rent: $1,700 (+89.6%)
  • Median 2-bedroom rent: $2,078 (+91%)
  • Median 3-bedroom rent: $2,968 (+90.5%)
  • Median 4-bedroom rent: $3,515 (+86.5%)

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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