Posted Jan 23, 2015

Quarterly Report: Rental Rates in Major Markets

Rent price is ever-changing as the economy fluctuates, the real estate market changes, and demand for housing in certain areas ebbs and wanes. That’s why Lovely provides quarterly reports, giving you up-to-date information so you can choose the right place to live comfortably within your means.

Quarterly Report- Rental Rates in Major Markets - Lovely's Data is In!

If big city living is what you’re in the market for,  check out some of these major rental markets:

New England and the East Coast

New York City

New York City is where many people go to chase their dreams, chasing those dreams is a lot more affordable now that apartment rental costs are on a downward trend. At the end of 2013, the median rental rate was $2,625 and then climbed to $3,175 by Q2 2014, as Lovely’s 2014 Q2 quarterly report showed.

Quarterly Report- Rental Rates in Major Markets - New York City

But then there was a shift– by the second half of 2014, apartment rentals shrank to a middle-range rate of $2,800, before closing out the year at $2,650. Vacancies are up and landlords are doing everything they can to fill those spots, offering lower prices, free rent for a month, and other incentives.

With that in mind, now is the best time to start apartment hunting, preferably for a rent-controlled spot where your landlord can’t jack up the prices when you renew your lease.


Those looking for something even cheaper, but still within driving distance of the Big Apple, may want to check out listings in the City of Brotherly Love. As Lovely’s quarterly report revealed, the median rent price in Philadelphia was $1,250 as of the end of 2014, an increase of $125 from one year prior yet a decrease of $50 from Q3 to Q4.

Quarterly Report Rental Rates in Major Markets - Philadelphia

Philadelphia is known as a city of neighborhoods, and your cost of living will largely depend on which ‘hood you choose. Germantown, Northern Liberties, and other North Philly areas may be the trendiest, but more-affordable alternatives such as Brewerytown, Glenwood, Hunting Park, Upper Kensington, and Kingsessing offer lower rent while still being in close proximity to the city center.

Washington, DC

History and poly-sci buffs may want to keep heading south to rent in Washington, D.C., where an apartment will cost you a middle-range price of $2,150. That’s not too shabby for a city rife with government jobs and only a few hours drive in any direction to other major cities.

Quarterly Report Rental Rates in Major Markets - Washington D.C

While America’s economy may be at times wavering and unpredictable, rental prices in its capital city are unexpectedly reliable, changing little from year to year. For instance, Q4’s median rate of $2,150 is actually a small decrease from the previous quarter ($2,200) and a slightly bigger decrease from the previous year ($2,185).


Beantown’s rental rate trends are similar to Philadelphia’s, except nearly double the price. As of Q4 2014, the median cost for an apartment rental was $2,300, which is an increase of $150 from one year prior yet a decrease of $50 from Q3 to Q4.

Quarterly Report Rental Rates in Major Markets - BostonMany renters moving to Boston for the first time head to popular neighborhoods such as the Leather District, Kendall Square, and Back Bay, but these can be pricey to say the least. Instead, find a spot in an up-and-coming neighborhood.

Allston, for example, has a reputation for being run-down, but its affordable cost of living is attracting 20 and 30 somethings​, and it will soon be a thriving cultural hot spot.



The Midwest may be known by some for its corn fields, bitter-cold winters, and humdrum lifestyle, but living in Chicago is nothing short of an adventure.

Quarterly Report Rental Rates in Major Markets - Chicago

Each neighborhood has its own charming character, so whether you live southwards in Pilsen where the taquerias are authentic and the art scene is vibrant, or up in Wicker Park where you can find 3 a.m. bars aplenty and live music any night of the week, you’ll quickly find yourself immersed in its rich culture, refusing to put ketchup on your hotdog and shortening your vowels in everyday speech.

A big source of pride for Chicagoans is the low cost of living in this world-class city. As Lovely’s quarterly report revealed, rental prices were at a median of $1,695 in Q4 2014, making it one of the cheapest places to live among the major markets.

Apartment rental rates also increase at a much slower rate than in many large cities– the median rental rate rose only $11 since last quarter, and $125 since the same period in 2013. Cheaper rent prices can be found in areas of lower gentrification– look toward Bridgeport, Little Italy, Avondale, and Irving Park.

West Coast

San Francisco

You probably aren’t shocked to learn that rental prices are on the rise along the West Coast, particularly in California.

Quarterly Report Rental Rates in Major Markets - San Francisco

San Francisco took the No. 1 spot for most expensive apartment rentals in the country on Lovely’s quarterly report, with a median rate at a whopping $3,500 in Q4. That’s nearly $250 more than one year prior, though this period in time did also see an unexpected dip in rates.

It’s no wonder that so many people seem to be flocking to the Bay Area– it’s home to professionals of all ages, working at giant tech companies in Silicon Valley and trendy up-and-coming startups in San Francisco.

The food scene is hard to match, and finally getting a feel for each of the different neighborhoods in this 7 miles by 7 miles city is enough of a reason for many  locals to never leave.

For a more accurate idea of the rising trend in San Francisco’s rental prices, compare the current rate to Q3’s: The median cost rose about $12 from $3,488 (about 0.34% quarter over quarter).


San Francisco hits the wallet hard, which might be why many people are jumping ship and heading to Oakland, where rental prices sit at a more reasonable median of $2,000 as of Q4. This city has a thriving beatnik culture and is still in close proximity to downtown San Francisco.

Quarterly Report- Rental Rates in Major Markets - Oakland

But the rise in demand for Oakland apartments is pushing costs skyward at a faster pace– in Q4 2013, rentals middled out at $1,600, but by Q3 2014, they had reached $1,850. That means that from the third to fourth quarters of last year, the cost of an Oakland rental jumped up by $150.

Los Angeles

You might be surprised to learn that, at a middle-range price of $1,900, Los Angeles is actually less expensive for renters than Oakland, even though L.A’s current rental rate reflects a $200 rise from the same quarter in 2013, and an increase of $35 from Q3 to Q4 2014.

Quarterly Report- Rental Rates in Major Markets - Los Angeles

There’s no denying that it’s still expensive compared to, say, Chicago. But many who live here find it hard to leave; the city of angels has a trendy star-studded vibe that’s difficult for many L.A. locals to give up. The temperate weather, busy nightlife, and sun-soacked beaches probably don’t hurt either.

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Quarterly Report- Rental Rates in Major Markets - Lovely Data is in-- check out the up-to-date rental rates in major US markets!

Photo Credit: Werner KunzPrayitnoNicolas RaymondNavaneeth KNBrian KoprowskiChristian ArballoDaniel RamirezNeil Kremer

Methodology: Trends represented in the Lovely Rental Market report reflect Q4 2014 rental market data based on the comprehensive set of aggregated rental inventory posted on Lovely between January 2012 and December 2014, and is no longer active.

Prices reported are as indicated upon posting and do not capture the final pricing terms on closed lease agreements. In addition to Lovely’s posting platform, Lovely Pro, Lovely obtains listings by partnering with over 70 external providers to populate its marketplace with rental listings.


Stacee is the Content Manager at Lovely. She is an ice cream connoisseur who loves traveling, baking, and animals. Her guilty pleasures are karaoke and Flaming Hot Cheetos.

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