May is the second straight month median rents have gone down in Sarasota and Manatee counties—but based on the huge year-over-year hike they’ve experienced overall, this news may not deserve a Champagne toast.
According to the May national rent report by Apartment List, a national online marketplace for long-term residential rentals, the drop was just 1.3 percent over the last two months.
But what's notable is that the news stands out against so many months that had only seen numbers rise. Before the dip, Sarasota County rents had been on a steep and steady incline for roughly two years, since September 2020.
In fact, Sarasota County's median rent levels surpassed Miami-Dade County’s in March of this year—a significant comparison since Miami-Dade is historically the most expensive county in the state.
But will median rent rates continue to cool?
“We might actually just be reaching the peak of what the market is willing to accept," says Rob Warnock, senior research associate at Apartment List. "It’s just two months, so I wouldn't read too much into it yet. Over the next couple of months, though, if we see numbers come down again, we could indeed have hit that limit."
Our region's year-over-year rent growth leads the state average of 28 percent and is well above the national average of 16.3 percent. The median Sarasota County rent grew by 40 percent year over year; in Manatee County, the median rent grew by 42 percent year over year.
The report shows that last month, the overall rent in Sarasota County was $2,002. A one-bedroom apartment was $1,585; and a two-bedroom apartment was $1,949. In May of 2021, the overall median rent was $1,430 overall; $1,132 for a one-bedroom; and $1,392 for a two-bedroom.
In Manatee County, the overall median rent in April was $1,890. A one-bedroom was $1,526 and a two-bedroom was $1,782.
Another element that leads Warnock to suppose the halt in rent increases might not be a trend is that the dip was contained to Sarasota and Manatee counties, while nearby Pinellas and Hillsborough counties remained on the uptick.
Rents also increased this month in 93 of the nation’s 100 largest cities, with Sun Belt markets in Florida and Arizona continuing to see some of the nation’s fastest growth.
And while growth has cooled down from last summer’s peak, the total increase in 2022 to date is still ahead of the pre-pandemic norm. From January through April this year, rents nationally are up by 2.5 percent, compared to 3.9 percent in the first four months of 2021. Over the same months of 2018 and 2019, rents grew by 1.9 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.