April rent prices grew at the lowest level in nine years — a drop caused by widespread, pandemic-induced unemployment.
Nationwide, rent for a single-family home or apartment grew by only 2.4 percent year over year in April, according to the latest data from property analytics provider CoreLogic. The same number was at 3 percent growth last month and 2.9 percent growth last year.
Experts had been predicting the drop in price growth as the coronavirus pandemic closed down large swaths of the economy and put millions in industries such as travel and hospitality out of work this spring. Unemployment in April reached an 80-year high, and tenants struggled to pay rent while owners in all but some luxury markets struggled to find tenants to pay the same prices that they had asked in the past.
According to CoreLogic, it is too early to tell just how much of an impact the outbreak will have on rental prices and the housing market as a whole. While the economy has been opening up across the country, the impact of monthlong closures can be profound — and trickle into all aspects of the housing market.
“As the pandemic-induced recession took hold in April, the single-family rent index posted its lowest growth rate in over nine years,” Molly Boesel, principal economist at CoreLogic, said in a prepared statement. “While disruptions in the economy affect all parts of the housing market, the impact can often be seen in the rental market sooner than the for-sale market. This means changes in rents can foreshadow changes in home prices.”