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Rent growth losses momentum, but still increasing

According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed rate has decreased to 6.32%. Shaina Mishkin of Barron’s notes that this is the fourth consecutive weekly drop and the lowest rate since mid-February. This is seen as potentially helping to spur the spring homebuying season.

Interest rates dropping

Source: (April 2023)

Hanna Jones of notes that:

“Potential buyers continue to face elevated mortgage rates and home prices, making buying less accessible than a year ago. However, home prices continue to show signs of softening, a welcomed development for buyers. This week’s rate also creates an opportunity for potential buyers to dive in while rates are slightly lower. Pent-up housing demand is evident with every gain in affordability, whether it be softening prices or lower mortgage rates. As the prime spring buying season takes off and the Best Time to Sell draws near, buyers will be looking for well-priced, ready-to-move-in homes. Spring sellers should start getting their home ready for sale, keeping in mind that it took longer than expected to prep,”

Diana Olick of CNBC reports that mortgage demand jumped 2.9% last week, and that despite having little incentive to refinance into higher rates, refinancing mortgages increased 5% week-over-week. That said, challenges remain on the supply side, where listings for resale are still at record lows leaving would-be buyers on the sidelines.

Brad Finkelstein of National Mortgage News comments that these rate decreases are the result of the turmoil in the banking sector, adding uncertainty to the market and pushing bond rates lower as investors seek safety.

Rent update

Rents are still increasing, according to a new report from Apartment List. Its national rent index jumped 0.5% in March, the second straight month of increases and a slight acceleration over last month’s pace. 

National rent growth slowing

Source: Apartment List (April 2023)

That said,

“Even as rent growth has turned positive again, we continue to see easing on the supply side of the market. Our vacancy index currently stands at 6.6 percent, which now puts it back in-line with the average pre-pandemic rate. With a record number of multi-family apartment units currently under construction, we expect that supply constraints will continue to soften. 2023 could be the first time since the early stages of the pandemic that we see property owners competing for renters, rather than the other way around.”

Similarly, Zumper released its monthly data showing rent increases, with an increase of 0.2% month-over-month. Zumper notes that this uptick still points to a larger deceleration trend following years of rapid rent price increases.

Rents still growing

Source: Zumper (April 2023)

Zumper CEO Anthemos Georgiades comments on the data: 

“We’re seeing the first sprouts of normalcy after three years of wild unpredictability. The pandemic brought about a Grand Reshuffling as Americans tried out new cities, traveled while working remotely and upgraded their living situations while they felt confident in the economy. Those trends will take time to unwind fully, but the days of steep price hikes across the board are behind us.” 

Mike Winters of CNBC reports on other rent data showing that the monthly average rent price is down to $1,937, a rate lower than its peak in August 2022 of $2,053. The largest deceleration markets were as follows:

  • Oklahoma City: -15.71%
  • Austin, Texas: -6.51%
  • New Orleans: -6.36%
  • Phoenix: -4%
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul: -3.5%
  • Dallas-Fort Worth: -2.56%
  • Baltimore: -2.21%
  • Houston: -1.91%
  • Birmingham, Alabama: -0.55%
  • Chicago: -0.52%
  • Denver: -0.34%
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia: -0.17%

For more, check out Erik Sherman’s article on Globe St titled Apartment Rents Do an Accordion Fold in March.


Nicole Friedman of the Wall Street Journal reports that house prices dropped in January year-over-year in all of the 12 major housing markets west of Texas, including Austin. Further, home prices rose annually in the 37 biggest metro areas east of Colorado, again excluding Austin. 

Selma Hepp of CoreLogic reports on the housing price deceleration across all major US metros, with national prices in January dropping 3.8% year-over-year, down from the 5.6% seen gain in December.

House price declines

Source: CoreLogic (April 2023)

In the above-noted rent data, Zumper reports that rent increases have significantly slowed in the Austin and New York City metros. Austin showed a decrease in median rent for the third month, dipping 4.2% for a one-bedroom and decreasing 3.9% for two-bedrooms. Further, “New York City’s one-bedroom median rent is an eye-popping $3,370, but that number is down for the sixth month in a row. The city may have hit a rent ceiling, but we expect New York to hold its spot as the most expensive city in the country.”

Jesse Wade of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports on Texas, which saw a population increase of 470,708 between 2021 and 2022. 

Finally, Dana Anderson of Redin reports that Seattle, San Jose, Austin, and Phoenix had the fastest-slowing housing markets across the U.S., with Connecticut, upstate New York, and parts of the Midwest holding up better.

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