Rents Surge Most in 16 Months Pressuring Homebuyer Wannabees

Mike Mish Shedlock

Rents in all unit sizes picked up steam in April. Among the largest cities, Las Vegas, Denver, and Detroit led the pack.

The Rent Cafe's Monthly Rent Report for the 250 largest US cities shows a 3.2% Y-o-Y surge.

The national average rent in April clocked in at $1,377. This marks the highest annual growth rate since the end of 2016.

By Size

  • Large cities: Las Vegas sees the fastest increasing rents Y-o-Y (6.0%), followed by Denver (5.8%) and Detroit (5.4%). Apartment prices in Brooklyn and Manhattan continue to slide, while rents in Washington, D.C., Portland, and Austin have been steady, growing by less than 1.5%.
  • Mid-size cities: Rents in Sacramento cooled down to 6%, but still lead. At the other end of the spectrum are New Orleans (-2.2%), Tulsa (0.5%), and Wichita (1.0%), where rents are growing the slowest.
  • Small cities see the top 20 most significant rent increases in April. Rents in the Midland-Odessa area skyrocketed for another month, 35.6% and 32.6% respectively. At the bottom of the list sit Norman (-2.5%), Lubbock (-2.5%), and Alexandria (-1.1%).
  • No significant fluctuation in prices was noticed in Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, where apartment rents grew slower than 2% over the year.

Significant Changes

Wages Not Keeping Up

The above chart was released today by the BLS. For details, please see Jobs Report: Payroll Miss +164K, Nonfarm Wage Growth Anemic +0.1%.

BLS in Agreement

The BLS also has rent of primary residence up 3.6% (from March).

Median New Home Sales Price

Median Real Wages

Homebuyer Wannabee Dilemma

Homebuyer wannabees struggle with rents but cannot afford houses.

The most recent data for median wages is from May of 2016. May of 2017 will be out soon and I will update the chart.

New buyers struggle with rent but homebuying is not an option.

Real median wages are down seven of the last 11 years while home prices (not even reflected in the CPI), have soared.

How the Fed's Inflation Policies Crucify Workers in Pictures

For median wage details, please see How the Fed's Inflation Policies Crucify Workers in Pictures

Deflationary Bust Coming

The current setup leads to another deflationary collapse as we saw in 2008-2009, not an inflation boom.

"If I were trying to create a deflationary bust, I would do exact exactly what the world’s central bankers have been doing the last six years," said Stanley Druckenmiller, 2018 recipient of the Alexander Hamilton award.

That is precisely what I have been saying for a long time.

For an explanation of the coming deflationary collapse, please see Can We Please Try Capitalism? Just Once?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (12)
AWC
AWC

Rising rents, deflationary?

No. 1-12
whirlaway
whirlaway

I think Mish is implying that rents will come down too. IMO, rents will perhaps not collapse but come down a significant amount like 10%, 15% or more in most places.

abend237-04
abend237-04

Expect an increasing drumbeat for the socialist solution to central bank mismanagement: Rent Control.

jivefive99
jivefive99

Dropping rents in Chicago or anywhere else cannot work when property taxes to beef up pension funds for cops, firemen, etc are rising at 10% a year (personal experience). There is only so much loss us owners can absorb. Deflation sounds wonderful for all the spenders out there, but there is a BIG negative when people like me who manage assets cant afford to lose
much longer.

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

Consider my definition of inflation and deflation. Prices are not part of the definition, although I expect most prices to decline. Rent may not.

DFWRealEstate
DFWRealEstate

That rent increase in Midland Odessa is comical. No reason to live there if you are not involved/employed in the oil & gas industry.

whirlaway
whirlaway

So, home prices are different from rent - for what reason? Because they are speculations? Or because there is leverage? Or some other reason/s?

MntGoat
MntGoat

Investing in apartments has been a incredible run for 8-9 years now. Big returns and good tax advantages. Interesting what will happen going forward. Cap rates so low many places. Everything built has been high rent stuff. Still big shortage of "work force" housing.

QTPie
QTPie

Rents tend to be a lot more stable than house prices. Notice how for example in the chart above, over the past 35 years (as far back as that chart goes), average rents have never declined, despite going through several economic cycles. That said, rent also almoat never rises as quickly as house prices do. Pretty much all assets (be it stocks, bonds, real estate, whatever...) have gone up considerably thanks to central bank goosing this past decade — at the expense of return — which has not kept up with valuation. So, in the long run, to get closer to equilibrium, the dynamic that must play out is either asset values have to change or income generated by the underlying assets must change. I think what Mish was saying is that resulting price moves are more likely to be more pronounced in the former rather than the latter.

Snow_Dog
Snow_Dog

“New buyers struggle with rent but homebuying is not an option.”

The new buyer drives the market, does he not?

Current owners just buy and sell with each other, but the new entrant brings new cash in (forgive me) “from the sidelines”.

Tengen
Tengen

New buyers do not drive the market. Investors, cash buyers, people looking to park excess fiat in a hard asset, etc drive the market. The new money "from the sidelines" are from beneficiaries of central bank printing. Look at what happened in Vancouver, Australia, and the US west coast from Chinese printing alone. Look at what Gulf state money has done in London.

Of course, our good friends in the US Fed do their share of Ctrl+P too.


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