States with the fastest-growing rents
Since the start of the 21st century, the cost of rent has skyrocketed across America. Every state in the nation has seen a spike in the cost of apartments and other residential rentals. Places like Washington D.C., California, and Hawaii have seen rent prices more than double over the past two decades.
While the reasons for rent hikes may vary by locality, one of the major factors for higher costs is the overall decline in homeownership, which hit a peak of 66% in 2000. That, in turn, has led to more Americans turning to rentals, ultimately pushing up the amount landlords can charge. The problem is exacerbated by a shortage of construction workers, which makes it difficult for developers to boost the supply of available housing.
The pandemic is throwing the rental market for a loop, though. On the one hand, rents in some notoriously expensive cities, like New York and San Francisco, have actually fallen this year—the result of white-collar workers with stable jobs taking advantage of new work-from-home policies and relocating to less pricey areas of the country, freeing up apartments in major cities. But for many people, making rent has only gotten more challenging in 2020. At least 22 million people have lost their jobs during the coronavirus public health crisis, leaving many scrambling to pay their bills. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as many states, have implemented moratoriums on evicting tenants from their apartments through the end of the year, experts warn that an eviction crisis is on the horizon for around 40 million people.
To understand how the rental housing market has gotten to this point, Stacker compiled a list of states with the fastest-growing rent using 2000 and 2019 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The 50 states and Washington D.C. are ranked by the percentage increase of their median rental prices from 2000 to 2019. The list also includes the percentage increase of the median household income in the same time frame.
Read on to see how rent hikes have varied in every state and the country’s capital.
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- 2000-2019 median rent growth: 57.9%
--- Median rent: $515 in 2000; $813 in 2019
- 2000-2019 median household income growth: 36.5%
--- Median household income: $42,962 in 2000; $58,642 in 2019
Compared to other states, Ohio has seen a relatively mild rate of rent growth compared with household income growth. However, given that Ohio has had high unemployment rates during the pandemic, some out-of-work renters may have trouble keeping up with their bills. To help those in need, the state announced in late October that it would direct $50 million in funding from the CARES Act to emergency rental assistance.
- 2000-2019 median rent growth: 60.6%
--- Median rent: $540 in 2000; $867 in 2019
- 2000-2019 median household income growth: 42.3%
--- Median household income: $45,088 in 2000; $64,168 in 2019
Wisconsin rent is largely increasing because of a construction labor shortage combined with expensive construction costs and land regulations. Renters in the state have been hit hard by job losses from the pandemic, and 34% of the state’s renting population was potentially facing eviction in July, per CNBC.
- 2000-2019 median rent growth: 61.2%
--- Median rent: $521 in 2000; $840 in 2019
- 2000-2019 median household income growth: 41%
--- Median household income: $40,865 in 2000; $57,603 in 2019
High rents in Indiana are primarily due to the presence of large educational institutions full of students who push up demand for rental units. The state announced in October that it would begin accepting applications for a pandemic rent relief program that provides participants with up to a half-year of financial assistance for housing.
- 2000-2019 median rent growth: 62.6%
--- Median rent: $546 in 2000; $888 in 2019
- 2000-2019 median household income growth: 30.9%
--- Median household income: $45,512 in 2000; $59,584 in 2019
The stagnant wages for lower-income Michigan residents who cannot afford homes—particularly those in urban areas like Detroit—coupled with an increase in millennials who tend to prefer renting, is making the market for rentals especially tight and expensive. To help protect vulnerable renters during the coronavirus pandemic, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order in June that provided $50 million in funding for rental assistance and an extension to a moratorium on evictions.
- 2000-2019 median rent growth: 63.8%
--- Median rent: $453 in 2000; $742 in 2019
- 2000-2019 median household income growth: 64.8%
--- Median household income: $29,697 in 2000; $48,952 in 2019
Arkansas is the only state that does not have minimum standards for rental spaces and allows police to arrest people who are behind on their rent, according to THV 11. In early November, organizations in the state announced that they would soon launch “Arkansas Fresh Start,” a rental assistance program that provides up to two and a half month’s rent to residents who earn 80% or less of the median income in their area, per the Arkansas Community Action Agencies Association.
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- 2000-2019 median rent growth: 66.8%
--- Median rent: $720 in 2000; $1,201 in 2019
- 2000-2019 median household income growth: 42.8%
--- Median household income: $52,847 in 2000; $75,463 in 2019
In Alaska, rents have outpaced wage growth. The housing costs in Alaska have skyrocketed in large part due to slow construction and creation of rental units in the area. In an effort to help renters in Juneau who may have lost their jobs or seen their wages cut during the pandemic, the Juneau Assembly set aside $3 million to provide eligible people with up to $1,500 for rent payments.
- 2000-2019 median rent growth: 67.1%
--- Median rent: $699 in 2000; $1,168 in 2019
- 2000-2019 median household income growth: 38.3%
--- Median household income: $45,758 in 2000; $63,276 in 2019
The price of rent in Nevada has significantly outpaced household income growth—and prices continue to increase in some parts of the state during the pandemic. In fact, the combined average rent for Reno-Sparks recently hit an all-time high of $1,421, according to a November article in the Reno Gazette. The state’s moratorium on evictions, which was put in place after the COVID-19 outbreak, ended on Oct. 15.
#44. New Mexico
- 2000-2019 median rent growth: 68.4%
--- Median rent: $503 in 2000; $847 in 2019
- 2000-2019 median household income growth: 48%
--- Median household income: $35,093 in 2000; $51,945 in 2019
New Mexico plans to provide $12.3 million in rental assistance to people experiencing hardships from the pandemic. The state currently has a moratorium on evictions of people unable to pay rent during the public health emergency, per Money.
- 2000-2019 median rent growth: 68.6%
--- Median rent: $605 in 2000; $1,020 in 2019
- 2000-2019 median household income growth: 50.2%
--- Median household income: $46,064 in 2000; $69,187 in 2019
In Illinois, rent has grown at a much higher pace than income. There’s a shortage of rental units, particularly affordable rental units, which has driven up the average cost of rentals and housing throughout the state. Local landlords have complained that tenants are taking advantage of the state’s moratorium on evictions during the pandemic and refusing to pay rent, leaving them in a bind, ABC 7 Chicago reported.
#42. North Carolina
- 2000-2019 median rent growth: 69.9%
--- Median rent: $548 in 2000; $931 in 2019
- 2000-2019 median household income growth: 49.6%
--- Median household income: $38,317 in 2000; $57,341 in 2019
In late October, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper mandated landlords that they make sure their tenants are aware of their protections against eviction for non-payment of rent due to the coronavirus pandemic hardships. He set aside $117 million from federal funding for a rent relief program that offers up to six months of assistance to in-need residents.
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