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Gross Rents Continue to Rise

Thu Dec 07 2017
Mary Schwartz, Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division
Component ID: #ti560300105

The nation experienced an overall average increase of $21 in median gross rent according to statistics released from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey five-year estimates, compared to 2007-2011 American Community Survey five-year estimates results, which have been adjusted for inflation.

Gross rent is the contract rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities (electricity, gas, and water and sewer) and fuels (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.) if these are paid by the renter (or paid for the renter by someone else). Gross rent eliminates the differences resulting from a variety of practices associated with including utilities and fuels as part of the rental payment. The estimated costs of water, sewer and fuels are reported on a 12-month basis but are converted to monthly figures for the tabulations.

Component ID: #ti389946093

Changes in metropolitan gross rents

Of the 382 metropolitan areas in the United States, the median gross rent in 156 did not change between 2007 to 2011 and 2012 to 2016, and seven would not allow for comparison due to boundary changes. Of the 219 that did change, increases outnumbered decreases four to one with 175 increases and 44 decreases.

  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., was among the metro areas with the greatest increase in gross rent, with an increase of $246 from 2007 to 2011 to 2012 to 2016 (from $1,555 to $1,801).
  • Carson City, Nev., experienced one of the largest decreases in gross rent, with a decrease of $158 (from $985 to $827).

The 50 most populous metropolitan areas mirrored all metros in that increases outnumbered decreases four to one with 32 increases, eight decreases, and nine had no changes. Comparisons for the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif., metropolitan area cannot be made due to boundary changes.

Component ID: #ti123231905

Changes in micropolitan gross rents

Of the 551 U.S. micropolitan areas, the median gross rent in 360 did not change between 2007 to 2011 and 2012 to 2016 and 45 would not allow for comparisons due to boundary changes. Of the 146 that did change, increases outnumbered decreases more than two to one with 107 increases and 39 decreases.

  • Among the micropolitan areas with the highest increases in gross rent was Andrews, Texas, which had a $352 increase (from $608 to $960).
  • Clewiston, Fla., had one of the largest decreases in gross rent, with a decrease of $152 (from $844 to $692).

Component ID: #ti2099111821

County-level gross rent changes

In the 264 counties with 250,000 or more people, the median gross rent in 79 did not change between 2007 to 2011 and 2012 to 2016. Of the 185 that did change, increases outnumbered decreases by more than four to one with 151 increases and 34 decreases.

  • At $252, Santa Clara County, Calif., had one of the greatest increases in gross rent (from $1,561 to $1,813).
  • Among this group, Clark County, Nev., had one of the largest decreases in gross rent with a decrease of $108 (from $1,121 to $1,013).

In counties with between 125,000 and 249,999 people, 136 of the 232 counties had gross rents that didn’t change between 2007 to 2011 and 2012 to 2016. Of the counties with changes, increases outnumbered decreases almost four to one with 76 increases and 20 decreases.

  • Midland County, Texas, with an increase in gross rent of $248 (from $900 to $1,148) was among the counties with the highest increases in gross rent.
  • Among the counties with the largest decreases was Mohave County, Ariz., which had a $95 decrease (from $886 to $791).
  • Note that the 2007 to 2011 estimates of gross rent for Midland County ($900) and Mohave County ($886) are not statistically different from each other.

In counties with 65,000 to 124,999 people, 196 of the 315 counties had gross rents that didn’t change between 2007 to 2011 and 2012 to 2016. Of the counties with changes, increases outnumbered decreases five to one with 100 increases and 19 decreases.

  • With an increase in gross rent of $295 (from $666 to $961), Ward County, N.D., was among the counties with the greatest increases.
  • Newton County, Ga., had one of the greatest decreases, with gross rent decreasing $105 (from $999 to $894).

In counties with 50,000 to 64,999 people, 126 of 169 had median gross rents that didn’t change between 2007 to 2011 and 2012 to 2016. Of the counties with changes, increases outnumbered decreases more than four to one with 35 increases and eight decreases.

  • Broomfield County, Colo., was among the counties with the greatest increase in gross rent, with an increase of $312 (from $1,105 to $1,417).
  • With a decrease of $158, Carson City, Nev., (a county equivalent) was among the counties with the greatest decrease in gross rent (from $985 to $827).

In counties with 35,000 and 49,999 people, 241 of 322 counties had gross rents that didn’t change between 2007 to 2011 and 2012 to 2016. Of the counties with changes, increases outnumbered decreases 2 to 1 with 56 increases and 25 decreases.

  • Among the counties with the largest increase was Isle of Wight County, Va., which had an increase in gross rent of $208 (from $811 to $1,019).
  • Among the counties with the largest decrease was Hendry County, Fla., which had a decrease of $152 (from $844 to $692).
  • Note that the 2007 to 2011 estimates for Isle of Wight County ($811) and Hendry County ($844) are not statistically different from each other.

In counties with 20,000 to 34,999 people, 425 of 535 counties had median gross rents that did not change between 2007 to 2011 and 2012 to 2016. Of the counties with changes, there were at least twice as many increases as decreases — 79 increases versus 31 decreases.

  • Williams County, N.D., had one of the greatest increases in gross rent with an increase of $310 (from $605 to $915).
  • With a decrease of $227 (from $1,227 to $1,000), Plaquemines Parish, La., was among the counties with the largest decrease in gross rent.
  • Note that the 2012 to 2016 gross rent estimates for Williams County ($915) and Plaquemines Parish ($1,000) are not statistically different from each other.

In counties with less than 20,000 people, 1,026 of 1,305 counties had median gross rents that didn’t change between 2007 to 2011 and 2012 to 2016 and two (Cottle and Loving County, Texas) where comparisons could not be made due to boundary changes. Of those counties whose median gross rent changed, nearly three times as many counties had increases as decreases, 206 versus 71.

  • Among counties with the largest increase in gross rent was McKenzie County, N.D., which had an increase of $397 (from $498 to $895).
  • Among counties with the largest decrease was Daggett County, Utah, which had a decrease of $540 (from $878 to $338).

These results were compiled to provide communities with important statistics to measure housing affordability. These data help determine whether adequate housing is affordable for residents and provide and fund housing assistance programs. They also help enforce laws, regulations and policies designed to eliminate discrimination in private-market housing, government programs and in society.

In addition, the Department of Housing and Urban Development uses these data to establish Fair Market Rents used to determine the level of tenant subsidies in housing assistance programs.

For complete tables, go to American Fact Finder, Table CP04.

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