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Sun Belt cities see fastest rent deflation amid building boom

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Nine of the 10 cities with the steepest drops in rent in April were in the Sun Belt, according to Redfin.

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Rents are dropping sharply in Sun Belt cities, according to a new report.

Nine of the 10 cities with the steepest drops in rent in April were in the Sun Belt, with the lone exception of Seattle, according to a report from Redfin released Friday.

The median asking rent in Seattle dropped 7.3 percent year over year in April in Seattle — the biggest drop among cities analyzed for the report and the only non-Sun Belt city in the top 10. Next came Austin, Texas, where rent fell 6.6 percent in April, followed by Nashville, Tennessee, at 5.9 percent; Jacksonville, Florida, at 5.6 percent; San Diego at 4.7 percent; and Phoenix at 4.6 percent, according to Redfin data.

Redfin

During the same period, national rents rose 1.7 percent to $1,648, the report found — the first national gain in rent prices in a year.

The report ascribed the rental price declines in Sun Belt markets to two factors: a construction boom resulting in new apartment inventory becoming available and driving prices down, and prices in Sun Belt markets continuing to retreat from their feverish pandemic-era highs.

“The Sun Belt has built a ton of new apartments in recent years, partly to meet the surge in demand brought on by the flood of people who moved in during the pandemic housing boom. But the boom is over, and now property owners are struggling to fill vacancies, which is causing rents to fall,” said Redfin Senior Economist Sheharyar Bokhari.

“The good news is that the uptick in housing supply in the Sun Belt has improved affordability for renters, which can be a lesson for other American cities grappling with housing affordability challenges.”

While Seattle is not in the Sun Belt, it has similarly experienced a boom in apartment construction, the report notes.

Rents climbed fast in Midwestern metros during April, which haven’t added as much supply as the Sun Belt. Minneapolis saw the median asking rent jump 10.3 percent from a year ago, followed by Cincinnati at 9.9 percent, and Chicago at 9.1 percent.

Email Ben Verde

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