Roomi Rent Report: Average U.S. Room Prices in December 2020

Houston skyline

It’s the end of the year and all we can say is honestly wtf was that? Alright – that’s not all we can say. We’ve also been doing some digging into Roomi’s exclusive database to find out what the US rental market looked like in December 2020. In other words, how much does it cost (on average) to rent a single room this month?

Before you check the stats for yourself, don’t forget to see our rent report for rooms in November, so you can compare. 

All that’s left to say is that we can’t wait to see what 2021 will bring for the Roomi community. What cities are you hoping to explore next year?

In general, rooms got cheaper in December

Of course, this isn’t the case for every US city, but we are seeing a great deal of major rent drops when compared to November’s data. 

  • Most noticeable is Chicago, where rent dropped from $1104 to $687
  • Miami rent was reduced from $951 to $844
  • Philadelphia rent went from $860 per month, to $566
  • Dallas rent went down from $743 to $615

While some rent drops are subtle, others are quite dramatic, particularly in Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Diego (which we’ll get to later on). But with the U.S. currently in the midst of “a frenzy in the housing market”, does it make sense that rooms are getting cheaper?

Potentially, yes. Following the housing market’s freeze in spring, it then underwent a frenzy of home buying. Mortgage prices are lower and this is encouraging more buyers – both first time and repeat. It seems that the pandemic has prompted many renters to make the leap into buying, which could mean that more rooms are available in shared homes.

Therefore, landlords all across the states could be putting prices down to make sure rooms are full in time for Christmas.

Atlanta makes its debut to the chart, coming in at #7

The cost to rent a room in Atlanta hasn’t got the city into the top 10 in the U.S. for the last few months, but this month, the Georgian spot makes it onto our list. Atlanta has always had a reputation for affordability (in general), despite it being home to multiple Fortune 500 headquarters and being one of the wealthiest cities in the U.S.

However, evidence does show that rental prices in Atlanta are creeping up, and outpaced most of the country in 2018 with rent prices rising 4.8% over 12 months. And, the price increases in Atlanta throughout 2021 are expected to continue to be amongst the largest in the nation.
A RentHop study broke this down into a monthly scale. They found that winter is the best time to rent an apartment, with December offering the cheapest prices in Atlanta. The price to rent an entire apartment in December is around $1300, with landlords more likely to offer discounts during winter due to lower demand. This does, of course, contrast with our findings when it comes to renting individual rooms.

San Diego gets knocked off the top 10 

San Diego was the 6th most expensive city in which to rent a room in November, but in December, it doesn’t make the top 10. Could this have anything to do with the new regulations enforced by the city’s Planning Commission, that would slash the number of Airbnb-style, short-term rentals in half?

Up until this, the city had been struggling to regulate vacation rentals. Of course, many homeowners in San Diego relied on this income; there’s a possibility that some landlords are switching to taking in longer-term tenants than before to supplement the income missing from short-term rentals. With all this extra space in their homes, some may be slashing the cost to rent a single room.