Apartment Rents Are Finally Down Across Florida

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Oh, how the fortunes have turned. 

Apartment rents appear to have finally peaked in Florida, after flaunting national trends quarter after quarter. 

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Median asking rents for one-bedroom apartments were down in April in all seven Florida cities tracked by listings site Zumper, compared to last year. Nationally, rents remained relatively flat, with one-bedroom rents declining by 0.6 percent since last April to $1,486, according to Zumper. 

In South Florida, one-bedroom apartment rents fell 3.5 percent in Miami, coming in at an average of $2,740 per month; and dropped 4.1 percent in Fort Lauderdale to an even $2,000. On the Gulf Coast, Tampa and St. Petersburg saw 1.2 and 3.1 percent declines, respectively, year-over-year. 

Tallahassee posted a double-digit decline, with rents falling close to 11 percent since April of last year, and 2 percent since March. Orlando and Jacksonville saw declines within 3 to 5 percent. 

Of course, these declines follow years of rapid rent growth in all these markets, and Miami remains the fifth most expensive rental market in the country. Outside of South Florida, however, even the elevated asking rents remain below the national median.

A similar story played out in North Carolina, where monthly apartment rents fell in all six cities tracked by Zumper. In fact, the only city in the country with rents dropping faster than Tallahassee was Winston-Salem, where rents fell by 12.6 percent, followed closely by a 10.6 percent decrease in Raleigh.

On the other end of the spectrum, rents in New York City, Boston and Chicago were up, the former by close to 20 percent. And it wasn’t only the big cities: The sharpest growth in the country was in Syracuse, N.Y., with a 27 percent increase, and Columbus, Ohio, with 22 percent.

Washington, D.C., was the outlier when it came to the much-maligned major U.S. cities. One-bedroom rents fell 1.7 percent, though, in nearby Arlington, Va., rents were up a relatively modest 3.1 percent year-over-year. 

Notably, most of the Florida cities mentioned saw rent increase from the previous month despite the annual declines, but that can largely be explained seasonally, as spring is generally considered leasing season. 

Chava Gourarie can be reached at cgourarie@commercialobserver.com.