[Rent Report] November Rent Prices Still Stagnant

in Popular, Rent Reports, Research & Analysis

Last month we reported that rent prices were attempting to grudgingly move upward, and in November, one-bedroom units tacked on a piddly $2.00 while two-bedroom units lost $2.00.

These are both insignificant moves and this trend verifies the claim that we have made for many months: 2020 rent prices are just not moving.

1-Bedroom Apartments

We look carefully at the range of increase and decrease among our top ten monthly winners and losers to help us determine the breadth of the current month’s trend, and again in November, we see no double-digit increases or decreasers among our selected groups. While the range is not as tight as that seen last month, we are still not even seeing more than a seven percent difference between top and bottom movers on both lists. This simply means that the national rental market is moving neither upward nor downward as we have seen for most of 2020.

Let’s look at the November stats in detail:

Upward Movers

Birmingham, AL has a nice upward move of 9.56 percent to lead our top ten gainers list. Boulder, CO was not far behind posting an 8.53 percent rise to $1,844. Fresno CA was third on our list but with a much more modest gain of 4.52 percent.

Tulsa, OK followed, rising 4.30 percent to a median $728, and Evansville, IN placed fifth, moving from $631 in October to $656 in November, an increase of 3.96 percent.

Cincinnati, OH, El Paso, TX and Columbia, MO all moved from 3.36 to 3.39 percent; Jacksonville, FL and New Haven, CT tied for last place with equal gains of 2.61 percent.

Columbia, MO was the most affordable locale at a budget-friendly $616 while not surprisingly, Boulder, CO was the priciest at $1,844.

November 2020 Rent Report 1-Bedroom Pricing

Downward Movers

Athens, GA led the one-bedroom losers list falling an even 7.0 percent to a median $810.

Richardson, TX held second place falling 4.28 percent. 

After that, our list tightens with San Francisco trimming its monthly loss to 3.85 percent. Remember, in discussing the plight of the San Francisco apartment rental market we said last month that, “If this trend continues, we could see San Fran one-bedroom median rents below $3,000,” and that’s exactly what happened as the city reported one-bedroom median rent at $2,925.

Durham, NC and New York City, NY fell 3.32 and 3.15 percent respectively while Berkeley, CA lost 2.91 percent to a median $2,205. 

Wichita, KS, Eugene, OR and Honolulu, HI all fell between 2.77 and 2.85 percent.

San Francisco, CA was still the most expensive place to reside at $2,925, and Wichita, KS was by far the cheapest a very affordable $611.

2-Bedroom Apartments

Our two-bedroom gainers and losers lists look remarkably similar as the top cities on each list rose or fell by almost the same percentage, and the last place occupiers gained or lost likewise.

Upward Movers

Boulder, CO rose an impressive 8.24 percent to settle at a median November rent of $2,247. El Paso, TX placed second, but with a much smaller gain of 4.82 percent. Cincinnati, OH was solidly alone in third place rising 4.74 percent while Tulsa, OK, Birmingham, AL and Portland, OR all rose between 3.05 and 3.76 percent.

Buffalo, NY posted a $34 increase—2.76 percent—and Fresno, CA jumped 2.51 percent to $1,509. Finally, Little Rock, AK increased by 2.46 percent to $874, and Syracuse, NY rose $26 to a median $1,102, an upward move of 2.42 percent.

El Paso took the low rent prize on our two-bedroom gainers list at $827, and first place Boulder, CO was also the most expensive two-bedroom mover at $2,247.

November 2020 Rent Report 2-Bedroom Prices

Downward Movers

Richardson, TX fell 8.28 percent to $1,463 and New York City, NY lost 5.66 percent to settle at a still hefty $3,617.

A two-bedroom unit in San Francisco can now be rented for a median $3,901 as that city’s two-bedroom apartments crashed through the $4,000 barrier as they lost another 4.03 percent.

Grand Rapids, MI fell 3.11 percent, and Seattle, WA tumbled 2.81 percent to $2,390.

Denton, TX, Oakland, CA and Greensboro, NC lost 2.73, 2.70 and 2.67 percent respectively. St. Louis, MO fell 2.62 percent to $1.076, and Bakersfield, CA lost 2.40 percent to $1,015.

Despite its decline, San Francisco, CA was still the priciest location at $3,901, and Greensboro, NC was far and away the least expensive at $913.

Rent Report Recap & What’s Next?

With COVID-19 still raging across the globe, new lockdowns are being seen in Europe. Whether the U.S. will avoid this plight is unknown, but with the pandemic dominating the news, stimulus plans on hold, oil prices taking another hit and eviction relief waning, the short-term economic situation does not look promising. 

The rental market has stagnated, but the pockets of serious weakness like New York and San Francisco are concerning. Will these lower rents spread across the country in December and beyond?

Or, will a viable vaccine and herd immunity begin to slow the pandemic? Either way, we are not looking for big increases in the national apartment market, and if we see negatives like a weakening stock market or post-election violence, we might soon be reporting that national rental prices are declining. That’s a lot of ifs, however, so for now, we expect apartment prices to remain unexciting.

Be sure to look for our in-depth look at 2020 that will be available before the end of the year.

Be sure to check in next month for our December report.


Each month, using millions of ABODO listings across the United States, we calculate the median 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom rent prices by city, state, and nation, and track the month-over-month percent change. To avoid small sample sizes, we restrict the analysis for our reports to cities meeting minimum population and property count thresholds.

For press inquiries, please contact Sam Radbil.

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