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Rent prices fell for the first time in six months during September, according to a new report.
After coming within two dollars of a historical high record during August, the national median rental rate dropped 2.02 percent in September, knocking $40 off the national median price, according to a report from Rent.com.
The monthly decrease is the largest since prices dropped $50 between August and September of 2022, according to the report. The national median rent price now stands at $2,011, the lowest reading since April of this year. The regularity of those price decreases could signal a return to seasonal price changes that vanished during the whirlwind pandemic market.
“If patterns over the last year hold, the monthly drop in asking rents could indicate a return to normal seasonal price changes that eluded the market during the pandemic,” wrote Jon Leckie, the author of the report. “It could be a positive signal for renters that the market is stabilizing and normal trends that peak in the summer, dip through the fall and winter, and begin rising again in the spring, have returned.”
Year over year, prices are up 0.40 percent, equal to an increase of about eight dollars nationally. A combination of factors including new inventory, lower-than-usual demand and price comparisons to record highs set a year ago have kept the annual growth slightly lower than usual.
September 2022 was the end of an 11-month run of nearly double-digit annual price growth in rents that began in October 2021. Rents jumped 11.5 percent over that period, climbing from $1,839 to $2,054 in August 2022. Rents that September began a decline that lasted until they bottomed out at $1,937 in February of this year and began to grow steadily again.
In the long term, rents remain significantly elevated, over the last two years, rent has risen 9.29 percent or $171, and 19.56 percent over the last three years. Over the course of the pandemic, rent prices have risen nearly 22.5 percent, adding $368 to monthly rent bills.
September saw the Midwest continue to lead price hikes, with nearly 5 percent growth over this time last year. Rents in the region, however, remain relatively affordable at $1,435, nearly $200 less than rents in the South and close to $1,000 less than rents in both the Northeast and West. The Northeast also saw rent growth over the last year, rising by just over 3 percent annually.
In the West, rents slid 1.61 percent from September 2022, while the South saw lower declines at just 1/3 of 1 percent.