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Rents Rise on Back of Soaring Demand

By Mike Wheatley | February 29, 2012

Rents across the country are climbing steadily on upwards, as new data from the Labor Department reveals a 2.4% increase in January from the same month one year ago.

House Rental monitor

Rentals continue to rise © Stuart Miles -

The data shows that demand for rental homes is also on the up, while the rate of apartment vacancies has fallen to its lowest level in ten years, at just 5.2%, according to a report in RIS Media. Urban centers with hi-tech industries such as Austin, Boston and San Francisco have shown the biggest increase in rents, followed closely by Chicago, New York City, Seattle and Washington DC.

One of the factors behind the increasing rents is that new apartment construction has failed to keep pace with the level of demand. Limited supply has been a big boon for landlords, who have been able to raise rents by up to 5% in San Francisco.

Further evidence of the increase in demand for rental homes was provided by the New York Times, which reported that by the end of 2011’s fourth quarter, approximately two million more households were renting than there were back in 2004.

RIS Media reported that a big number of these new renters were former homeowners. According to a poll of 3,000 rental property occupants, conducted by, just over a third of these used to own homes. This figure is up from the 20.5% recorded in a similar survey in 2011.

Chris Brown of told RIS Media that anyone looking to rent these days can expect to experience considerable difficulty in their search for a home.

“The fact that more renters are entering the market continues to create a series of challenges for the potential renter, including fewer apartments to choose from, which can drive higher rent rates,” said Brown.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
  • 2 comments on “Rents Rise on Back of Soaring Demand”

    1. I live in San Francisco and my rent was just raised by 40% (anything built after 1979 is not rent controlled). That's $800 a month more for a one bedroom Condo in the Mission District. I make a substantial amount of money, but am single and simply cannot afford it. I am losing my home due to this market and the pure greed of a landlord.

      The tech boom (Twitter, facebook, etc.) has all of the non-rent controlled building raising rents by 20-50%.

      If someone moves out of a rent controlled apartment, these landlords are raising the price by $600-$1200 before they rent to someone new.

      Try looking on Craigslist.... San Francisco is now more expensive than New York City.

      1. Ha, I don't know why every San Franciscian thinks SF is more expensive then NYC. Get over yourself, you're a second tier city. No one cares if you think SF is expensive because it's NOT. Compare yourself to Boston, Chicago, Seattle. Bottomline, dollar for dollar, the same apartment in NYC compared to an apartment in SF will be a smaller, more run-down, in a crappier neighborhood that's further from the city. Take into consideration the the neighborhood of the apartments you're comparing to and you'll see that you have no clue what you're talking about.

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