Harrisburg rents drop, annual rent growth remains high 

Paula Wolf//February 10, 2022

Harrisburg rents drop, annual rent growth remains high 

Paula Wolf//February 10, 2022

Harrisburg rents dropped 1.1% in January but are still 22% higher than a year ago, according to the newest data from Apartment List. 

In the capital city, median rents are $1,034 for a one-bedroom unit and $1,252 for a two-bedroom apartment. January was the second consecutive month they declined. 

Still, the year-over-year jump in Harrisburg is well above the state’s annual rent growth of 13.9% and comfortably exceeds the national figure of 17.8%. 

“As a national trend since the start of the pandemic nearly two years ago, rents have been rising faster in suburban cities than in larger, more urban ones,” Rob Warnock, senior research associate with Apartment List, wrote in an email. 

“And I think this is playing out across the handful of PA markets that we have data for.” For example, annual rent growth was 13.6% in Philadelphia and 13.1% in Pittsburgh, much less than the 22% in Harrisburg and 19.5% in Allentown. 

Since the pandemic began, many people relocated to smaller metro markets, creating a lot of new demand for rental housing, he explained. As a consequence, rents jumped because vacancies were limited. 

“We’ve seen this in suburban regions of Seattle, Boston, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver – pretty much everywhere,” Warnock said. 

Harrisburg, however, is still more affordable than most large cities in the U.S. The median rent for a two-bedroom unit – $1,252 – is less than the national median of $1,285. 

In comparison, Apartment List reported, a two-bedroom rental in San Francisco was $2,681 in January. 

While rents in major cities aren’t generally increasing at the pace they are in smaller ones, there are exceptions, including New York City (33.5%), Phoenix (27.9%) and Miami (27%). 

Nationwide, Apartment List’s rent index rose 0.2% in January. 

The report noted that increases slowed significantly the past four months, which could be due to seasonal factors. 

Also, after bottoming out at 3.8% in August 2021, Apartment List’s vacancy index has risen five consecutive months and stands at 4.4%. That remains well below the 6% prepandemic level. 

The spring will probably bring a return to faster rent increases, the report concluded. “Despite a recent cool down, many American renters are likely to remain burdened throughout 2022 by historically high housing costs.