Apartment Rents Rise; Perks, Discounts Fade

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Americans are paying more to rent homes again, ending a stretch during the pandemic when they enjoyed flat or falling rental prices and widespread landlord concessions.

Federal government stimulus payments and expanding payrolls are boosting savings, enabling building managers to lift rent prices on apartments and houses nationwide. A record-low inventory of homes for sale also leaves more people renting. Median asking rent rose 1.1% on an annual basis in March to $1,463 a month across the country’s 50 largest markets, according to a report from Realtor.com. That marked the first month where the pace of rent growth had increased since last summer, the report showed.

The Covid-19 vaccine rollout and rising employment are prompting more people to move back into cities and look for apartments to rent, which is helping landlords fill their empty apartments with fewer, if any, freebies.

Landlords in much of the country had cut asking rents during the pandemic. Many also offered concessions—from one or two months of free rent to American Express gift cards—to keep tenants in their buildings during Covid-19. Many renters, especially in large cities, stopped renewing their leases. They left to buy homes, or if they lost jobs, to move in with friends or family. Before the pandemic, landlords had enjoyed years of uninterrupted rent increases.



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