Rents Are Rising, and Not Only in Pricey San Francisco

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Median monthly rents rose in January, and in a lot of places you might not expect. Along with the usual hot West Coast housing markets such as San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, the metros with the biggest year-over-year increases included Denver, Kansas City (Mo.), Nashville (Tenn.), Birmingham, (Ala.) and Portland (Ore.).

The new data shows the spread of rising rents -- and decreasing rental affordability is likely to follow. Zillow, the online real estate site, reported last year that renting is now half as affordable nationally as buying, on a monthly basis.

"Since 2000, rents have grown roughly twice as fast as wages, and you don't have to be an economist to understand why that is hugely problematic," said Stan Humphries, Zillow's chief economist. "The rental market used to be, and should remain, a stepping stone to homeownership. But given how widespread rental affordability problems have become, the rental market could be acting more like a barrier to buying."

Check out Zillow Research for more information about the January Real Estate Market Reports.

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