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Home » Seneca County Board of Supervisors » RENT TRENDS: High mortgage rates could mean fewer homebuyers, more renters and steeper costs

RENT TRENDS: High mortgage rates could mean fewer homebuyers, more renters and steeper costs

Nationally, a staggering 95% of apartment units are up in price compared to May of last year.

Some of the biggest rent increases have been in midsized cities, including Rochester.


Data shows average price of two-bedroom units in Rochester up 58%

Jon Leckie, a data journalist and author of Rent.com’s June 2022 Rent Report, said the steep rent increases in midsized, secondary markets are due to those cities being popular destinations for people fleeing big cities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rochester is among the U.S. cities with the biggest uptick in two-bedroom rent prices.

The city has seen a 58% rise in the price of two-bedroom apartments in May 2022 compared to May 2021. The most recent data shows the average rent price in Rochester is currently $2,187 for a two-bedroom and $1,240 for a one-bedroom.

“Cities like Rochester were attractive for [their] space and, until recently, cheaper rents. And Rochester is still growing,” explained Leckie. “According to our migration data, in the first quarter of 2022, Rochester saw nearly 6,000 more inbound searches for apartments than outbound.”

In Buffalo, the average price for a two-bedroom is $1,810, which is less than a percent higher compared to the average price a year ago. The price for a one-bedroom is $1,739, a 25.35% increase compared to last May.

More: Inflation remains high, rent prices continue to climb in New York and across nation

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Housing market cooldown could mean short-term uptick in rent prices

Rent.com’s most recent report stated mortgage applications are down 14% compared to last year.

From April to May, more than one in five home sellers dropped their asking price, according to a recent RedFin report. It’s the largest rate drop since fall 2019.

“Rising mortgage rates are meant to temper demand by making the cost of buying a home more expensive. In the long term, this will rein in prices and allow renters to become home buyers which will also release some pressure on the rental market,” he said.

Still, the increased rates may have a negative short-term impact on rent prices in New York and nationwide.

Leckie added, “In the short term, rising mortgage rates will put homeownership further out of reach for many, increasing the number of people forced to rent, and in turn increasing rent prices. So rising mortgage rates mean the rental market will likely improve for renters, but it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

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What should potential renters look for in an apartment?

Considering the current state of the rental market, potential renters may wonder: What are the most important factors to consider when looking for an apartment?

Leckie said traditional factors, like location and amenities, are still at the top of the list.

“The only thing that’s changed are the prices, so affordability becomes a more important factor and people are going to have to make compromises between what fits in their budget and the other factors they can potentially live without.”

For more information on rent trends across the country, view Rent.com’s most recent Rent Report here.

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