Apartment Rents Rise as Syracuse & Columbus Lead Growth

Syracuse and Columbus enjoyed significant rent growth in May, while CA cities saw lower asking rents. National trends show flat 1BR rents and slight gains for 2BR rates.
May 30, 2024
Syracuse and Columbus leading the way, according to Zumper.
  • Asking rents were up 1.2% MoM in May for both 1BRs and 2BRs, while 2BR rents were up 0.5% YoY.
  • Syracuse and Columbus led with 20%+ rent growth, fueled by population growth and development.
  • Both cities anticipate further rent increases, at least until new supply meets rising demand.
Key Takeaways

May’s rental data reveal rising rents nationally, with Syracuse and Columbus leading the way, according to Zumper.

Rising Rents Nationwide

On a monthly basis, 1BR and 2BR rents were up 1.2% in May from April. As Globest reported, this is the first time in 20 months that monthly growth has exceeded 1% for these two categories.

On a YoY basis, 1BR rents stayed flat, while 2BR rates rose marginally by 0.5%. Despite rent growth cooling down, rents are still significantly higher than they were four years ago. 1BR rents are $287 higher than they were in May 2020, while 2BR rents are nearly $400 higher.

Syracuse, Columbus Lead

Rents in Syracuse and Columbus saw some serious YoY growth. Syracuse enjoyed a staggering 28.6% increase in 1BR rents, driven by historical population growth. High homeownership rates in Syracuse have also intensified multifamily competition, boosting rents.

Meanwhile, Columbus rents surged by 22.5% thanks to relative affordability and plenty of job opportunities. Both cities are likely to see continued rent hikes until new supply meets the rapidly growing demand. Notably, Columbus was one of the fastest-growing major U.S. metros in late 2023.

Cheaper Cali Living

On the flip side, seven California cities suffered from lower YoY rents, notably Oakland (-8%) and Sacramento (-9%). Zumper attributes the decline to reduced demand rather than increased supply, hinting at a broader demand shortfall.

The Bay, LA, and San Diego metro areas all struggled with net move-outs, due to the high cost of living alongside changing work trends. Notably, Sacramento’s occupancy rates have fallen consistently since 2021.

Why It Matters

The latest rental data reinforces what we’ve known for some time—former primary markets are still suffering from post-pandemic trends, and the West Coast has been harder hit than the East Coast. More Americans, faced with few homeownership options, are opting to upgrade to larger spaces in secondary and tertiary markets.

I’m an award-winning copywriter and digital marketing consultant who co-founded Tailored Ink. I help business owners and marketers craft the right messaging and create content at scale to grow their brands, generate leads, convert them into customers—and even get acquired by their competitors. As a member of Young Entrepreneur’s Council (YEC) and a columnist for sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider, I also help mentor current and aspiring entrepreneurs and marketing professionals.
CRE Daily is a digital media company covering the business of commercial real estate. Our mission is to empower professionals with the knowledge they need to make smarter decisions and do more business.
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