When you track rental data for a living, you can usually predict outcomes—but sometimes you’re thrown a curve ball. After several months of prices that pointed toward a moderation trend, Dwellsy’s latest data drop reveals that single-family home rental (SFR) prices have surged. (Apartment dwellers, you can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for this month: Your rents have barely budged.)
“Rent for three-bedroom SFRs increased $128, or 7.4 percent, from December 2022 to January 2023—and we were a little blindsided,” admits Jonas Bordo, CEO and cofounder of Dwellsy. “After several months of relatively flat SFR rent, we expected prices to remain stable into the new year. But even after the most careful analysis, the gap between ‘what we expect’ and ‘what actually happens’ can end up surprising us—and that’s what happened here.”
So is there a reasonable explanation? Yes—at least partially. Bordo says that the Fed’s efforts to avoid a recession and engineer a soft landing appear to be working. As a result, consumer sentiment is up.
“Compared to just a few months ago, renters are feeling better about ‘big-ticket’ decisions like moving into a larger, more expensive home,” he explains. “Some people might also be choosing to rent instead of buy a home in order to avoid locking in the current high interest rates.”
Meanwhile, apartment prices have stayed out of the spotlight—and for renters, that’s a good thing. Between December and January, asking rent for a one-bedroom apartment actually fell $15, or 1.1 percent.
Dwellsy, the largest home rental listing platform in the country, regularly mines its 13+ million residential rental listings for statistics and data. Because Dwellsy allows landlords to post listings free of charge, it has a pool of data that’s more diverse—and more representative of the true rental landscape—than that of pay-to-play listing services. Each month, Dwellsy breaks down this data regionally across the U.S. so renters and landlords can see up-to-date trends in rental housing and current affordability in over 250 markets.