Americans are moving, and it’s changing the price of rent nationwide. Our team of analysts found that this reshuffling has dramatically changed the number of available apartments in almost every state, creating a significant issue of supply and demand that has reversed long-standing trends in the price of rent.

Key findings:

  • The number of available apartments has decreased by more than 50% in Nevada, Vermont and Delaware.
  • Indiana, New Jersey and Massachusetts saw their numbers of available rental properties increase by over 70% each.
  • Nationwide, 10 medium-sized cities had their numbers of available apartments decrease by 50% to 73%.
  • Major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Boston had 50% to 400% increases in their numbers of available rental properties.

Our team of analysts tracked changes in America’s rental market over the last two years. We found that while the number of available apartments has stayed the same nationwide, some states have seen their numbers of available rental properties drop by as much as 60% or increase by up to 175%.

The change in available apartments (vacancy rate) is strongly tied to both the state’s population and the average price of rent. Since 2019, the vacancy rate has gone down by as much as 60% in less populous states and risen by as much as 175% in more populous ones. Additionally, of the 29 states that had decreases in their vacancy rates, 23 of them also saw the average price of rent increase.

Changes in available apartments by state
Rank State Change in available apartments 2019-2021 Change in rent cost 2019-2021 Current vacancy rate
1 Nevada -59.2% 6.4% 3.1%
2 Vermont -56.1% -4.3% 1.8%
3 Delaware -54.5% 12.3% 3%
4 Kentucky -42.1% 1.6% 6.2%
5 Alabama -39.9% 5.2% 9.5%
6 Virginia -38.8% -7.8% 4.9%
7 Oregon -37.9% -1.6% 4.1%
8 Arkansas -36.4% 3.9% 7%
9 Maryland -33.8% 0.8% 4.7%
10 Oklahoma -32.5% 4.2% 7.9%
11 Mississippi -30.2% 5.3% 6.7%
12 Tennessee -28.9% 2.0% 6.4%
13 Alaska -27.8% 4.7% 5.7%
14 Nebraska -22.4% 2.3% 5.2%
15 North Carolina -20.3% 1.6% 5.5%
16 Louisiana -18.3% 1.9% 9.4%
17 Georgia -18.2% 3.7% 6.3%
18 Kansas -16.7% 3.1% 13%
19 South Carolina -14.3% 2.7% 10.2%
20 Iowa -12.9% 0.8% 8.1%
21 Missouri -12.4% 2.0% 9.2%
22 Maine -11.5% 6.4% 5.4%
23 Florida -10.8% 1.6% 7.4%
24 West Virginia -9.8% 2.6% 5.5%
25 Montana -8.7% 9.1% 4.2%
26 Wisconsin -8.2% -1.7% 4.5%
27 Pennsylvania -6.2% -1.0% 7.6%
28 Texas -5.0% -1.7% 9.5%
29 Michigan -4.2% 3.1% 6.9%
30 Wyoming 3.1% 0.9% 9.9%
31 Rhode Island 4.0% 2.3% 2.6%
32 Utah 5.0% 2.8% 4.2%
33 Illinois 6.8% -6.2% 7.9%
34 Ohio 8.7% 3.4% 7.5%
35 Minnesota 10.3% -4.0% 7.5%
36 Washington 10.8% 2.5% 4.1%
37 New Mexico 13.6% 7.8% 9.2%
38 California 14.3% -5.0% 4.8%
39 North Dakota 14.5% -9.1% 15%
40 South Dakota 18.7% 2.6% 8.9%
41 Arizona 20.9% 9.1% 5.2%
42 Hawaii 31.1% -0.6% 9.7%
43 Colorado 38.9% -1.6% 5%
44 New York 42.3% -7.8% 7.4%
45 Connecticut 48.8% 2.2% 6.1%
46 Idaho 57.6% 10.2% 5.2%
47 New Hampshire 62.1% 7.5% 4.7%
48 Indiana 73.7% 4.8% 9.9%
49 New Jersey 74.2% -1.7% 5.4%
50 Massachusetts 175.0% -11.3% 6.6%

Rental changes in certain cities have been even more dramatic. Our analysts looked at the 75 largest metropolitan areas in the country and found a consistent pattern. The number of apartments available to rent went up in large cities and down in smaller ones, indicating that people are moving out of larger metropolitan areas and moving into smaller ones.

Cities with the largest increase in available apartments
City/metro Increase in available apartments 2019-2021 Change in rent cost 2019-2021 Current vacancy rate
New Haven-Milford, CT 400.0% 3.8% 9.0%
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA 305.9% -7.6% 6.9%
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 266.7% 3.3% 8.8%
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY 169.2% N/A 14.0%
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 160.0% -13.4% 6.5%
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 108.6% 3.6% 7.3%
San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA 102.6% -14.0% 7.9%
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 93.8% -0.2% 6.2%
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN 91.2% 6.8% 10.9%
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI 85.1% 5.4% 8.7%
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 62.5% -5.6% 6.5%
Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ 57.5% 12.4% 6.3%
Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, SC 54.4% 2.7% 21.0%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 52.8% -2.2% 5.5%
Cleveland-Elyria, OH 51.5.% 4.1% 5.0%
Cities with the largest decrease in available apartments
City/metro Increase in available apartments 2019-2021 Change in rent 2019-2021 Current vacancy rate
Richmond, VA -73.7% 7.6% 2.0%
Raleigh, NC -69.2% 3.5% 2.0%
Grand Rapids, MI -65.3% 5.7% 1.7%
Fresno, CA -63.4% 15.7% 3.4%
Memphis, TN-AR-MS -61.5% 10.7% 5.0%
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV -56.3% 9.6% 2.8%
Syracuse, NY -54.2% 9.8% 8.2%
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI -53.4% 3.1% 3.4%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA -52.7% 15.7% 2.6%
Oklahoma City, OK -51.3% 5.0% 5.7%
Columbia, SC -46.8% 9.2% 5.8%
Worcester, MA -46.7% 4.7% 2.4%
Tucson, AZ -40.0% 12.9% 3.0%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA -37.2% 5.6% 4.9%
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN -36.1% 2.2% 7.6%

Americans are moving out of highly populated, heavily congested urban centers and into more suburban ones. Much of this change happened during the pandemic, but the signs go back to the first quarter of 2019. The difficulty is that while rental habits and housing prices have changed, income has largely remained stagnant. Our worry is that these trends could create a situation where long-time residents can no longer afford to live in the place they’ve called home for so long.

Methodology

To calculate the change in rental vacancy rates, we looked at housing data from the United States Census Bureau and compared the first quarters of 2019, 2020 and 2021. Current vacancy rate data was also compiled using this data.

Changes in rental prices were calculated using Apartment List estimates.