Rent Prices Nationwide Reach Unfathomable New High

The median rent prices in the United States have climbed to an unfathomable level with no respite in sight.

By Kristi Eckert | Published

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It’s just really expensive to live in the United States right now. Plain and simple. Inflation coupled with various other subsets of mitigating circumstances has caused prices for virtually everything imaginable to soar. Gas prices are higher. Food prices are higher. Childcare costs are higher. Everything is just higher. And that extends to housing costs, too. NPR reported that rent prices have hit an unfathomable new median peak.

The median rent price in the United States right now, according to data collected by home buying/renting resource Redfin, is hovering at $2,000 per month. To put that price into perspective, the average median household income in the United States is currently about $44,225. After taxes, a household making that much would bring in about $2,868.80 per month. If that household had no other debts and chose to not save anything they would only be able to realistically afford about $1183 in rent. That is basically just half of what the median rent is in the US at present. And that is a scary reality to realize. 

Referencing Redfin’s data, compared to last year rent prices have increased by a staggering 15%. And it’s worse in the more densely populated metropolitan areas. Rent prices in cities like Austin and Seattle are up by about 30%. And what it costs to rent an apartment in the once-more-affordable Nashville has increased by approximately 32%. In notoriously expensive places like New York City, the situation is even more ominous. The median rent price in NYC’s Manhattan borough just hit $4,000 per month in what marks the first time ever. 

There are a lot of factors at play that can be blamed for the swiftly increasing rent prices. Interestingly enough, however, a major reason contributing to the big uptick in cost actually stems from something that occurred over a decade ago. Following the Great Recession of 2008, the number of homes being built year over year went into severe decline. And when construction did resume the focus was put on building higher-cost luxury homes and rentals. Today, this translates to a shortage of housing options for the average person unable to afford those luxury options. 

Then, inflation served to drive up prices even higher, which pushed even more people out of the home buying market. Hence, more people are stuck renting for longer which in turn is also facilitating the rise in rent prices. So, what is happening now is that rent prices are increasing because people have no other choice but to rent. At the same time, the hefty prices are stopping people from saving enough money to buy. It’s a vicious cycle whose seeds were planted long ago. And those seeds are now being fertilized by a slew of extenuating economic circumstances. All in all, in terms of rent prices, the nation is in between a rock and a hard place and it looks like it’s going to stay that way for the time being. Eventually, something will have to give, but it’s anyone’s guess right now as to when that will be.