Renters Spent $12.6 Billion More on Housing in 2018

Cheers to the New Year – and a special edition of the quarterly HotPads Rent Report. For our latest rental market update, we looked back at 2018 and calculated just how much renters spent on housing over the past year.

Across the United States, renters spent $504.4 billion on rent in 2018, a $12.6 billion increase from a year ago. To put that $504 billion number in perspective, it’s about $10 billion more than the GDP of Belgium and about three times the net worth of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Renters in the New York City area are taking on the largest share of that rent. In the New York City metro area, renters paid about $55.6 billion in rent this year – about 10 percent of the total rent paid in the United States.

Though the amount of total rent paid has grown since 2018, rent appreciation has been slowing gradually nationwide since mid-2016. Currently, the median rent nationwide is $1,475 per month, up 3 percent from a year ago. Rents in the New York City metro area are rising just 1 percent annually now, compared to 1.8 percent annually at this time last year.

This steady slowdown in rent appreciation has influenced the total number of renters on the market: there was a slight dip in the number of households that rent their home in 2018. Stagnant rent growth has given renters who are looking to buy greater ability to save for a down payment in recent years, putting more eligible home buyers on the market.

However, some markets are still seeing significant rent gains. Rents are appreciating the fastest in Orlando, Las Vegas and Phoenix, and the number of renter households has increased slightly in each of these metro areas over the past year. Renters in Orlando and Las Vegas spent about $4.4 billion on rent in 2018, while renters in Phoenix spent about $7.5 billion.

Check out how much renters in each of the 50 largest markets spent on rent this year below, and how rent appreciation has changed: