Rent Growth Slowing Down, But Cheapest Markets Continue to See Price Increases

With rising rents across the country, places that offer relative affordability are in high demand, leading to increased competition and a potential for prices to go up.[0]® Chief Economist Danielle Hale noted that there are fewer rental homes and apartments available in many of these metros, leading to higher prices.[0] Cities like Indianapolis, Birmingham, Columbus, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Rochester have seen the fastest year-over-year price increases in January 2023, leaving few metros that are maintaining their current level of affordability.[1]

Nationwide, rent growth for studio to two-bedroom properties continued to slow, with the median rent down 2.9% year-over-year, the lowest growth rate in 22 months.[2] Rent in January 2022 was 16.2% higher than it was in January 2021.[2]

Two-bedroom units saw the most significant drop in rent growth. Nationally, the median rent for two bedrooms was $1,934, an increase of $47 (2.5%) compared to the same time last year.[3] However, rent growth has been fastest in some of the least expensive rental markets, such as Indianapolis, Birmingham, and Columbus, all of which had a single-digit growth rate for the seventh month in a row.

The figure below displays the year-over-year rent[2]

The graph depicted in Figure 2 displays the national rent trend by unit size

Overall, rent growth is slowing down in most places, but the cheapest rental markets are still seeing a significant increase in prices. This could be due to the decreased rental vacancy rate in many of these areas, which is near its long-term low.[1] In the fourth quarter of 2022, the average rental vacancy rate across these ten least expensive markets was 7.6%—a significant drop from the 9.7% vacancy rate five years ago.[1] Rents in places like Indianapolis, Birmingham, and Columbus have experienced the fastest year-over-year growth, raising further affordability concerns.

0. “® January Rental Report: Only One Major Market Remains Below $1,000 Threshold” Yahoo! Voices, 24 Feb. 2023,

1. “Gallery: Top 10 least expensive American metro areas” American City & County, 24 Feb. 2023,

2. “Renters: 50 Largest Metro Areas Compared” MyChesCo, 27 Feb. 2023,

3. “January 2023 Rental Report: Least Expensive Metros See Faster Rent Growth” News, 24 Feb. 2023,