condo with brick walls and a green couch|man with glasses|Jonas bordo

Inflation Hits Renters: 11% Overall Rent Increase in 2021


Inflation has hit the economy and renters were not immune, experiencing an 11% increase in median asking rent across the country from January to December of 2021.  

In a “normal year,” 3-4% increase in overall rents is typical. Unfortunately, 2021 is a year for the books in yet another way.  

The highlights–or lowlights, depending on your perspective:

  • Rent inflation was 11% in 2021, 3X the normal rate
  • Rent inflation was particularly felt in single family home rentals, where the rent was up 26% for the year.
  • Apartment rent inflation was quite modest nationwide, at only 1%

The ongoing Covid pandemic has driven this year’s extraordinary rent inflation from start to finish.  

At the high end of the market, we saw significant rent drops in 2020, particularly for higher end urban rental apartments, and in 2021, folks moved back into these apartments, driving prices back up.  

For many renters, a single family home was the ideal in 2021, with safe outdoor space and more room to work from home.  At the same time, demand from single family home buyers escalated, driving prices up and causing more landlords to sell to homeowners, reducing the inventory of rentals.   

The result of increased demand and decreased supply was entirely predictable: prices up across the country for available single family rental homes - 26% across the country.  

For more typical workforce apartment housing, demand was inconsistent, with declines early in the year offset by increases later in the year and an overall increase of only 1% for apartments overall.

Amongst large cities (Top 30 MSAs), asking rents for available rentals were at historic highs, particularly for those with a high percentage of single family homes for rent such as Miami and San Diego:

For more details, access the full datasets here:

Nationwide Expense Rankings for all Metro Areas

Single Family Rentals vs. Apartment Rentals

Nationwide Rent Affordability Rankings for all Metro Areas

About Dwellsy Data

As the largest and most inclusive rental marketplace in the country, we have a representative sample of in-market asking rents, and can provide the actual data that renters experience when they’re looking for a place in a given time period. The data we release each month is taken from the numbers we collected from the month before. 

Though this sounds typical, most other housing market datasets are focused only on premium multifamily units and they have to use statistical modeling techniques based on census data from several years ago in an attempt to replicate what Dwellsy has.   

About Dwellsy

Dwellsy is the renter’s marketplace, a comprehensive residential home rentals marketplace based on the radical concept that true, organic search in a free eco-system creates more value than the pay-to-play model embraced by all of the current rental listing services. Dwellsy has more than 12 million residential rental home listings, more than any legacy classifieds site—as well as the most diverse set of listings—including single family rentals, condos and apartments.

If you’re looking for more data, sign up for updates here.

Looking for a new rentalDwellsy is here to help.

Featured Blogs