June 12, 2024

While rents fell nationwide in April, three Midwestern cities saw prices soar past pre-pandemic records.

Rent prices in Indianapolis, Indiana; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Minneapolis, Minnesota, hit their highest levels since March 2019, according to Realtor.com’s April Rental Report. Meanwhile, the median asking rent across the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. fell for its ninth consecutive month, down 0.7% for studio to two-bedroom properties.

The median asking rent in Indianapolis rose 4.5% from last year to $1,334. That marks a $369, or 38% increase from April 2019. In Milwaukee, the median asking rent climbed 3.8% to $1,671 from the same time last year and jumped 31% from before the pandemic. And in Minneapolis, the median asking rent increased 2.5% to $1,529 in the last 12 months — just 8.2% higher than its April 2019 level.

Rental prices in Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio, and Chicago, Illinois, are all sitting slightly below peak levels, according to the report.

Read more: Fractional home ownership’ wants to fix real estate’s woes. What is it and could it work?

A difficult market

High rents are a source of anxiety for Americans who hope to own a home down the line. A recent Bank of America report found that 72% of prospective homebuyers are scared that rising rents could affect their present and long-term finances, and almost as many feel that they’re not making a long-term investment into their future.

Given still-high rents, the prospect of owning a house has never felt more out of reach for renters. Their self-assessed probability of ever owning a home fell to a record low, a recent New York Federal Reserve survey found.

The median price of a previously owned home in the U.S. rose 5.7% annually to $407,600 in April — the fourth consecutive monthly increase and a record for the month, according to data from the National Association of Realtors published on Wednesday. Combined with the average 30-year-fixed mortgage rate, which has hovered around 7% for over a month, the market has been particularly inhospitable to first-time homebuyers.

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