U.S. Single-Family Rent Price Growth Plunges in May, But Phoenix Up 6%


CoreLogic, a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, today released its latest Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI), which analyzes single-family rent price changes nationally and across 20 metropolitan areas. Data collected for May 2020 shows a national rent increase of 1.7% year over year, down from a 2.9% year-over-year increase in May 2019.

Figure 1: National Single Family Rent Index Year-Over-Year Percent Change By Price Tier

In early 2020, in the months leading up to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and resulting economic crisis, rent price growth had stabilized at an annual average of 3%. However, growth dramatically slowed in May, falling to its lowest level since July 2010. By comparison, in February 2008 — two months into the Great Recession — annual rent price growth stood at 1.8% and did not decline until eight months later in October 2008.

Despite local economies beginning to open back up in May, rental demand continued to be impacted by unprecedented unemployment rates and stay-at-home directives, which contributed to the slowing in rent prices.

“Single-family rent growth slowed abruptly in May as the nation felt the full impact of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic,” said Molly Boesel, principal economist at CoreLogic. “Some metro areas, especially those that depend on tourism, were hit hardest by job losses. With unemployment rates predicted to remain high through the end of the year, we can expect to see further easing in rent growth as the economy struggles this year.”

To gain an accurate view of single-family rental prices, CoreLogic examines four tiers of rental prices. While prices slowed across all tiers in May, the gap between the low-end and high-end tiers widened further compared to previous months, as prices among high-end rentals dropped significantly in the wake of widespread unemployment. In May 2020, the national single-family rent growth across the four tiers, and the year-over-year changes, were as follows:

  • Lower-priced (75% or less than the regional median): 2.8%, down from 3.5% in May 2019
  • Lower-middle priced (75% to 100% of the regional median): 1.9%, down from 3.1% in May 2019
  • Higher-middle priced (100% to 125% of the regional median): 1.6%, down from 8% in May 2019
  • Higher priced (125% or more than the regional median): 1.3%, down from 2.5% in May 2019

Among the 20 metro areas shown in Table 1, and for the 18th consecutive month, Phoenix had the highest year-over-year increase in single-family rents in May 2020 at 6% (compared to May 2019). Tucson, Arizona, experienced the second-highest rent price growth in May 2020 with gains of 3.5% followed by Charlotte, North Carolina, at 2.9%. Honolulu, which was hit hard by the collapse of the tourism market, was the only metro to experience an annual decline in rent prices, dropping 0.4%.

Figure 2: Single-Family Rent Index Year-Over-Year Percent Change in 20 Markets

U.S. unemployment rates remained elevated in May. However, some areas of the country are continuing to experience higher rates of job loss — adversely impacting rental demand and slowing rent price growth. For example, Detroit, a hotspot for the virus, experienced a dramatic, 19.9% decrease in employment, forcing local rent price growth to remain stagnant in May 2020, compared to the year prior. Meanwhile, Phoenix’s employment declines were relatively minimal in May, where rent growth remained strong. As regions like Florida, Texas and Arizona grapple with a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, we may expect to see a more significant impact to rent prices on the local level.

Table 1: Single-Family Rent Change for Select Geographical Areas


The single-family rental market accounts for half of the rental housing stock, yet unlike the multifamily market, which has many different sources of rent data, there are minimal quality adjusted single-family rent transaction data. The CoreLogic Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI) serves to fill that void by applying a repeat pairing methodology to single-family rental listing data in the Multiple Listing Service. CoreLogic constructed the SFRI for over 80 metropolitan areas — including 45 metros with four value tiers — and a national composite index.

The CoreLogic Single-Family Rent Index analyzes data across four price tiers: Lower-priced, which represent rentals with prices 75% or below the regional median; lower-middle, 75% to 100% of the regional median; higher-middle, 100%-125% of the regional median; and higher-priced, 125% or more above the regional median.

The data provided is for use only by the primary recipient or the primary recipient’s publication or broadcast. This data may not be re-sold, republished or licensed to any other source, including publications and sources owned by the primary recipient’s parent company without prior written permission from CoreLogic. Any CoreLogic data used for publication or broadcast, in whole or in part, must be sourced as coming from CoreLogic, a data and analytics company. For use with broadcast or web content, the citation must directly accompany first reference of the data. If the data is illustrated with maps, charts, graphs or other visual elements, the CoreLogic logo must be included on screen or website. For questions, analysis or interpretation of the data contact Allyse Sanchez at corelogic@ink-co.com. Data provided may not be modified without the prior written permission of CoreLogic. Do not use the data in any unlawful manner. This data is compiled from public records, contributory databases and proprietary analytics, and its accuracy is dependent upon these sources.

CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX), the leading provider of property insights and solutions, promotes a healthy housing market and thriving communities. Through its enhanced property data solutions, services and technologies, CoreLogic enables real estate professionals, financial institutions, insurance carriers, government agencies and other housing market participants to help millions of people find, buy and protect their homes.

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