Why U.S. rents are increasing, and how to save money on your next place

If you’re in the market to rent a home or apartment, one thing you can quickly surmise is that the amount you’re being asked to pay is definitely not going down — it’s going up. In fact, new data shows that rents are increasing in most cities around the United States.

U.S. tenants paid an average of $1,377 in rent in April 2018, according to the latest Monthly Rent Report from Rent Café. The total represents an increase of 3.2% from the previous year and 0.3% from the previous month, according to Yard Matrix.

Of the 250 largest cities in the country, rents increased in 84% in April, according to the report. There was a drop in 2% of the cities and 14% were unchanged compared to a year ago.

Here are the reasons why U.S. rents are increasing

After a downturn a decade ago, the rental market for homes and apartments has steadily rebounded as more young adults opt for their own place. A surprising additional factor that is contributing to competitive rents is the increase in baby boomers choosing to get an apartment rather than a home.

“Lowering living expenses, looking for a different lifestyle, less house-related work and overall less responsibility can be achieved by downsizing, so a lot of retirees opt to rent,” Simona Solomie, a real estate broker with Remax Masters of Morton Grove, Illinois, told RentCafe.com.

To see how your city fared in the latest rent prices, click here and utilize the search box. Here are some more insights from the study on rents and city size:

  • Big cities with the largest rent increases year over year: Las Vegas (6%), Denver (5.8%), Detroit (5.4%).
  • Mid-size cities with rents growing the slowest: New Orleans (-2.2%), Tulsa (0.5%) and Wichita (1%).

With more people looking to join the rental market, it pays to know how to save a buck here and there when you can. With that in mind, here are three solid ways renters can save money.

3 money-saving tips for renters

  1. Get close to public transportation: The closer your apartment is to public transportation, the more you can take advantage of fuel-savings by opting not to drive everywhere. During warmer months, you may be able to save a considerable amount of cash by riding the bus or rail system to work.
  2. Switch to LED light bulbs: If you're using anything other than LED light bulbs, you could be wasting money. LED bulbs, which typically last longer, have gone down in price in recent years. Use this energy-savings calculator to see how much you can save by using energy-efficient bulbs.
  3. Negotiate a longer term lease: Most apartments will lock you into a 12-month lease. But you may be able to lower your monthly rent by working out an 18-month or longer lease. If you know you're going to be there for a while, try to ante up for a 24-month lease for even less money every month.

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