Cities with the largest rent increases in 2023
Rent prices continued to rise across the U.S. in 2023, but these 10 cities experienced the most significant jumps in rental costs.
10. Reading, Pennsylvania
Located in the heart of scenic Berks County, Reading earned the final spot on our list of areas with the greatest rise in rental values. Woodlands and hiking trails, like Nolde Forest and Hawks Mountain Sanctuary, surround the small city. Reading’s multiple art and history museums provide family-friendly activities, so indoor enthusiasts won’t feel left out.
Despite a 10.8% increase between 2022 and 2023, Reading renters pay $756 less than the monthly national average of $2,018. Tight inventory could be influencing rising rents — 60% of residents rent rather than own homes in the city, according to U.S. Census data.
9. Utica, New York
The small city of Utica, nestled in central New York, offers a blend of urban amenities and natural beauty. The nearby Adirondack Mountains draw outdoor enthusiasts, while culture lovers enjoy the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica Symphony Orchestra, and historic Stanley Theater.
Between 2022 and 2023, Utica’s average monthly rental price increased by $121. To combat the lack of low-cost housing, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a $67 million project to preserve and rehabilitate the historic Olbiston Apartments. The redesigned building will add 153 affordable units to the city.
8. Madison, Wisconsin
Located about an hour west of Milwaukee, Madison offers residents a mix of urban amenities and quiet neighborhoods. The University of Wisconsin-Madison likely drives demand for affordable rentals, with nearly 50,000 enrollments in fall 2022.
In addition to thriving art and food scenes, Madison is a burgeoning tech hub. The Brookings Institution think tank recognized Madison as an area of high growth in the technology industry, with the potential for more development. While a thriving tech sector brings higher wages, it can also contribute to surging rent prices.
7. Tallahassee, Florida
Tallahassee came in seventh on our list, with a rental increase rate that was more than double the national average. Located 22 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, the city is known for robust outdoor recreation, family-friendly activities, a thriving restaurant scene, and bustling nightlife.
Tallahassee is home to Florida State University, which had an enrollment of nearly 45,000 students in 2022. The city’s population skews young, with a median age of 27.2 years. College students can drive up demand for low-cost rentals, but a new affordable housing project backed by the American Rescue Plan for the Orange Avenue Redevelopment could provide relief in the form of 290 affordable units.
6. South Bend, Indiana
The Midwestern city of South Bend still has affordable rent compared to nearby Chicago, but prices jumped 11.9% in 2023. Adjacent to the prestigious University of Notre Dame, the city has a highly educated population of young professionals. A thriving arts scene and outdoor recreation appeal to residents of all ages.
In recent years, South Bend has become a tech hub, attracting innovative startups, like Aunalytics and Vennli, to the region. City and state officials have supported multiple affordable housing projects to continue drawing in entrepreneurs, including two new developments adding 114 low-income units that will be available to residents of the city who make 30% to 60% of the area’s median income.
5. Charleston, South Carolina
The midsize city of Charleston has a lot to offer renters, even as prices rise. Residents enjoy mild winters and can cool off in five beautiful nearby beach towns on balmy summer days. With a bustling historic district lined with shops and restaurants as well as quieter residential neighborhoods, the city has something to offer every lifestyle.
Charleston has the second most expensive rent in our top 10, with an average monthly price of nearly $2,000. In 2023, Charleston County pledged $11.5 million to increase the supply of affordable housing. The developments that received county support will create 308 additional low-cost apartments.
4. Mobile, Alabama
Situated along the Gulf shoreline, Mobile is a picturesque city where locals enjoy gorgeous architecture, fresh seafood, and fun festivals, including the oldest Mardi Gras celebration in the country. Like many Southern cities on our list, Mobile has a low cost of living, mild winters, and less population density than its East Coast counterparts.
Though values increased 12.6%, Mobile residents still get a steal on rent, with an average price that’s $818 per month lower than the national average. Local officials teamed up with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to combat surges with a 96-unit affordable housing complex that broke ground in 2022.
3. Cape Coral, Florida
With more than 400 miles of canals, pristine beaches, and year-round sunshine, Cape Coral’s stunning natural beauty attracts many outdoor enthusiasts. The city boasts a burgeoning art scene, top-rated golf courses, and family-friendly activities. All of those amenities come at a price.
Cape Coral was the most expensive place to rent in the top 10, with an average rent price that’s 15% higher than the national average. Even if landlords raise prices, they likely won’t have trouble filling units. Cape Coral was the ninth fastest-growing city between 2021 and 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
2. Kingsport, Tennessee
The quiet city of Kingsport might not be the type of place you would expect to find rent gouging. However, residents experienced a 14.5% jump in 2023 — a smaller surge than the 19% rise in the city last year. The city had 2,500 housing units under development in 2022, which could mitigate rising rents by increasing supply.
Though natural beauty also surrounds Kingsport, it’s an industrial city supported by pulp and paper mill Dotmar and plastics manufacturer Eastman Chemical Company. Both major employers announced expansions totaling $600 million in 2021. Business growth coupled with a lockdown-inspired desire for outdoor space could contribute to rising rental values in the area.
1. Lynchburg, Virginia
Bordered by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, the picturesque city of Lynchburg topped our list, with a 17.3% rise in rent values between 2022 and 2023. Despite the increase, the average rent in Lynchburg is still 38% lower than the national average.
Lynchburg offers an appealing balance of nature and culture, with more than 40 miles of urban trails and a riverfront downtown full of art galleries and historic sites. Home to five colleges and universities, the city has a low median age of 28.5 years, which likely contributes to increased rental demand.