Cities are collections of varied communities tough to pour into one bucket, from crowded downtowns to spread out townhouse-and-stoop blocks, trendy riverside neighborhoods to far-flung near-suburbs. It's difficult to compare one diverse city to another. But when we study ZIP Codes across the land – a much more homogeneous metric – we can measure apples to apples more accurately.
We compared the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in every ZIP Code in America, with at least five rental units listed on Apartment Guide — 245 ZIPs in all — to those same spots a year ago to determine which neighborhoods experienced the steepest rise in rent.
So, what are the most increasingly expensive ZIP Codes for renters in America? It's mostly districts in large cities across the Southwest and Texas, where populations and economies are booming. But two of the top three ZIP Codes where rents have risen year-to-year represent a much different region of the country.
Last decade, Las Vegas was the fastest-growing city in America, gaining 600,000 residents in 10 years. And even with all that influx, the city continues to grow rapidly, still the third-steepest increase in population in the West as recently as 2018.
One of the top 10 most-visited cities in the nation caters just as much to the local populace, even adding an NHL hockey team in 2017, an NFL franchise coming in 2020 and most likely an MLB team in the next few years.
This demand for housing has transformed the Vegas 89169 ZIP Code neighborhood that lies just east of the Las Vegas Strip. The northern half, in Las Vegas, is a densely populated desert district with close-set houses and single-level apartment complexes.
Within the southern portion, stretching into Paradise, sits several more sprawling apartment developments among the Las Vegas National Golf Course, the large Boulevard Mall, the edge of the University of Nevada – Las Vegas Campus and the celebrity-laden Paradise Palms housing community.
With a chunk of the Las Vegas Strip inside its borders, including the Wynn Las Vegas and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, it's no wonder this ZIP Code is in hot demand. Rents here have risen 20.13 percent over the last year to an average of $801 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.
As the fastest-growing state in the nation, it's no wonder that Arizona places three cities in the top 10 on this list. Population growth is coming from all ends of the spectrum, from retirees and snowbirds uninterested in their parents' Florida to millennials and young professionals flocking in for tech jobs. But at just 70 miles from the Mexican border, the city of Tucson is also expanding with a rapidly increasing Latino population.
And way out in the northeast corner of Tucson is the sprawling suburban-style ZIP Code of 85710. The neighborhood split east and west by the Pantano Wash extension of the Ciénega Creek lies midway between downtown and the Saguaro National Park at the edge of the Rincon Mountains.
The district is largely residential with a mix of single-family homes and a number of apartment complexes set among subdivisions like Vista del Sahuaro, Tierra del Sol, Broadway Northeast and the in-demand El G.H.E.K.O., one of the oldest areas of the neighborhood.
Developed between the 1950s and 1970s, this region of Eastern Tucson features above-average real estate values and desirable rental properties. The affordable monthly rental rate of $808 a month for an average one-bedroom unit is rising and will only continue to do so, up 22.76 percent from this time last year.
Everything, they say, is bigger in Texas. And that's true of the rent increases in Texas' biggest city. In the last 15 years, Houston has experienced a dramatic population roller-coaster thanks to two natural disasters.
The Houston metro area gained a full one million new residents from 2000 to 2016, many in 2005 as a refugee city for Hurricane Katrina victims from New Orleans. But then, growth leveled off significantly, due to the oil recession and Houston's own Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Now, the city is experiencing another rise in population post-Harvey in neighborhoods affected by flooding and damage. Out in western Houston, directly west of downtown is the 77063 ZIP Code, which covers the neighborhood known as Mid-West. Situated along the southern bank of the Buffalo Bayou, the neighborhood, better known to natives as Woodlake/Briarmeadow, is a thriving residential and retail community.
Several apartment communities are sprinkled throughout the area among the shopping centers and upscale national chain stores along east-west running Westheimer Road and Richmond Avenues. The neighborhood also features a number of favored Houston restaurants including Thai Gourmet and Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse, a large movie Metroplex and is adjacent to music venue Stereo Live Houston.
Mid-west was not left untouched by the hurricane's flooding but, like many regions of Houston, as population filled back in, rents increased with the demand. In 77063, rents have risen 23.13 percent in the last 12 months to an average of $1,028 for a one-bedroom.
Directly north of the Eastern Tucson ZIP Code is the Creekside neighborhood covering the 85715 delivery district. Much like its neighbor to the south (listed above), the area is a mixture of Southwest-style single-family homes, along with a number of multi-unit apartment complexes.
The dominant features of the ZIP Code are its two large recreational venues, the Dorado Golf Course, an executive 18-hole, par-62 greenway along Speedway Boulevard, and the vast Tucson Country Club with an 18-hole, 7,000-yard course, plus 11 championship tennis courts and a large clubhouse.
And right in the middle of the neighborhood is the Morris K Udall Park and Recreation Center, which offers five baseball and softball fields, five soccer pitches, a swimming pool and a dog park. And the Tanque Verde Creek Trail runs the length of its namesake creek bed.
While the rental pricing in 86715 is significantly lower than its southern neighbor, nearly a hundred bucks less at $713 a month for an average one-bedroom, the increase is greater, up 25.22 percent year to year.
Phoenix, AZ, is the fastest growing city in the United States by sheer numbers, hands down. It topped all other cities, increasing by more than 25,000 people just between 2017 and 2018, the most recent numbers available.
While the current population increases come from a vast influx of residents into the Valley of the Sun, the Phoenix of the last decade grew exponentially by annexing vast pockets of land at its fringes.
Those annexed areas were folded into each of Phoenix's 15 urban villages, including the Camelback East village (also known as East Phoenix or the East Side), at the heart of which is the 85018 ZIP Code. The ZIP is bounded by the large middle-class suburbs of Scottsdale and Paradise Valley to its north and east and contains the upscale neighborhood of Arcadia.
Arcadia, a former citrus grove through the 1950s, offers high real estate values and pricey rental units surrounding a desirable aesthetic with trendy restaurants, high walkability and a lush cityscape. And just to the north is the imposing Camelback Mountain, the Echo Canyon recreation area and the uber-luxurious Phoenician Gold Club and Hotel.
While this East Side neighborhood would be right at home in the swankiest regions of Southern California or South Florida, its Arizona ZIP Code keeps costs for a one-bedroom apartment mostly affordable. An average unit rents for $1,390, which is up 25.67 percent from a year ago.
Spanning from the east side of Downtown to the west side of Uptown, it's no wonder that the Dallas ZIP Code of 75201 is in high demand. The jam-packed region contains a slew of attractions and destinations like American Airlines Arena (home of the Stars and Mavericks), the Uptown dining and hotel district, the Dallas Museum of Art, Meyerson Symphony Center and AT&T Performing Arts Center, the Majestic Theatre, the Main Street nightlife strip, running from West End to Deep Ellum, and some of Dallas' tallest skyscrapers including the Comerica Bank and JPMorgan Chase Towers.
These areas of Dallas had been fairly unimpressive collections of warehouses and industrial buildings until the building boom of the '70s and '80s (not completely coincidentally during the height of the primetime soap's popularity). Then, contemporary skyscrapers soared, restaurants and clubs opened and residential high-rises sprang up bringing scores of rental units to downtown.
Today, these are some of the most impressive residences in Texas in a neighborhood — a couple of neighborhoods, actually — that has everything a young professional or city family on the rise could want.
Living in one of the most fashionable, trendy regions of Texas, and possibly in the entire South, isn't cheap and it's only getting pricier. In the last year, rents for a one-bedroom have risen 26.24 percent in the last 12 months to a dramatic $2,254.
The North Carolina ZIP Code of 27603 is a behemoth. It stretches 20 miles from tip to toe, from the Mordecai Place Historic District at the north end of downtown south to just across the Wake/Johnston County border. That's a pretty large swath of diverse landmass.
The downtown district of this vast ZIP is the region sitting west of the North Carolina State Capitol, Moore Square and the central business district. It includes the Glenwood South nightlife and entertainment district and its trendy cafes, clubs, restaurants and pubs along Glenwood Avenue, the historic Boylan Heights neighborhood and the apartment complexes and residential parks of Ellington Place. The ZIP also includes beautiful tree-lined neighborhoods like Fuller Heights and Caraleigh, south of Western Boulevard.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. The district also encompasses the enormous stretch of exurbs and suburbs south of the I-40 portion of the Beltway all the way down US-401, towards Fuquay-Varina, as well as the deep ribbon of land bleeding into Garner towards and past Lake Benson, where you'll approach everything from golf course communities and cul-de-sac suburbs to shopping center neighborhoods and Piedmont farmland.
What all these diverse communities inside 27603 have in common is a significant rise in rental prices. Lease rates for a one-bedroom unit is up 27.07 percent year to year to an average of $1,539.
Sometimes, it's not who you are, but who your neighbors are. ZIP Code 08536 encompasses most of beautiful Plainsboro Township, which just happens to lie right across the street from the Ivy League city of Princeton. But don't think for one moment that this pastoral New Jersey hamlet is going to take any back seat to its collegiate counterpart.
It didn't start out that way, however. While incorporated as a separate town a hundred years ago, Princeton University continued to own much of the town until 1971, when they began developing the bucolic community into a suburban standalone town while maintaining ties to its rural past.
But separate from the University, Plainsboro maintains a number of landmarks on its own turf, including NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, where computer climate modeling first occurred, and the $447 million Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center at Plainsboro, which opened its doors just 12 hours after the series finale of the Fox television show “House," which took place at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital.
For the convenience and prestige of living right near Princeton — the college — without having to pay the prices of Princeton — the town — Plainsboro is an affordable, nearby alternative. But the secret may be getting out as prices have increased over the last year by 27.55 percent for an average one-bedroom to a monthly rate of $1,824.
Just about equidistant from Fort Worth to the southwest and Dallas to the southeast, the 75057 ZIP Code sits in the central pocket of Lewisville, TX. The city itself is an underlooked community settled among the mass of fast-growing northern Metroplex suburbs like Grapevine, Carrollton and The Colony, and nearby satellite cities including Denton, Plano and Frisco. But Lewisville is no shrinking violet, with a population of more than 106,000 that makes it the 12th largest suburb in the Metroplex.
Lewisville sits on the shores of the eponymous Lewisville Lake, a man-made reservoir created by the construction of the Lewisville Dam in 1955, which formed the north end of the city. This event turned Lewisville into a new recreation destination for city dwellers, bringing visitors and residents into the city before many of its neighbors came of age.
Soon after, the opening of Interstate 35E in 1959 and Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in 1974 created rapid growth all around the region. But Lewisville stood out because of its six full miles of southern shoreline featuring marinas, fishing spots, campgrounds, parks, a cricket field and Sneaky Pete's, a waterfront bar and restaurant offering beach volleyball tournaments. The ZIP even includes the lakeside portion of the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area Nature Preserve, with hiking trails and educational opportunities.
The opening of Vista Ridge Mall, now Music City Mall, just across the south end of the ZIP in 1990 shepherded rapid growth for Lewisville, doubling the population over the next 20 years. The city's economy followed, becoming a hub for healthcare and banking, food distribution, car dealerships and particularly boat dealers.
The 75057 ZIP, which sits between I-35E and the Preserve, offers a number of suburban single-family subdivisions, along with scenic low-rise apartment complexes among the rivers, creeks and coves. A number of retail, dining and entertainment corridors line the exits of I-35E, as well as in the Old Town Lewisville district surrounding the intersection of Main and Mill Streets.
But as central Lewisville matures and the population continues to explode, its prime location along the lake pushes demand and rental prices higher. Lease prices have skyrocketed 41.28 percent over the last 12 months to an average of $1,617 for a one-bedroom unit.
The population of the city of Baltimore has fallen steadily every decade since the 1950s. From a high of nearly a million, there will soon be under 600,000 living in the Charm City limits.
While some folks move a distance away, many former Baltimorons packed up the moving van and headed out to the 'burbs. One of those ZIP Codes that benefited was 21208, which covers most of the town of Pikesville.
A large chunk of Pikesville's increase has come from an influx of Americans with Eastern European backgrounds. Nearly a quarter of residents of the town have Russian and Ukrainian legacy, with most of those of Jewish heritage.
Between the end of World War II and the end of Vietnam, the Jewish population of the region boomed, and the inflow continues today. In fact, many of Maryland's oldest and largest synagogues are located in and around 21208.
The Baltimore County district is bisected by Interstate-695 running east/west, through the junction with I-795. The ZIP is nearly entirely residential, with large-lot upper-middle-class single-family homes dominating the region east of Park Heights Avenue (State Route 129) and tree-lined suburban and cul-de-sac neighborhoods and stately apartment complexes west of Reisterstown Road (State Route 140).
Astride this important route into Baltimore lies Pikesville's commercial corridor, with a number of shopping centers, national chain stores and casual dining spots and hotels, as well as two golf courses — The Suburban Club and Woodholme Golf Course — and the large Druid Ridge Cemetery.
It's easy to see why this bucolic suburban residential neighborhood is growing. Bright, open neighborhoods, a sense of community and easy access into Baltimore City, including two Metro Subway stops inside the ZIP.
But as citizens continue to leave the city for Pikesville, the northwestern suburb closest to the city limits, the average price of a rental unit has exploded, up 46.59 percent to $1,672 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.
The comparison doesn't stop at the top 10. The full top 50 ZIP Codes are a varied and assorted collection of city centers, residential blocks and city-border greenery zones.
|Rank||ZIP Code||City||State||Average 1-BR Rent||YoY Rent Price Change|
|30||55416||Saint Louis Park||MN||$1,637.50||14.17%|
On the flip side, here are the 10 ZIP Codes where rents have fallen the steepest over the last 12 months, 10 of just 13 ZIPs in the nation where the decrease has dropped more than 10 percent.
|Rank||ZIP Code||City||State||Average 1-BR Rent||YoY Rent Price Change|
To create this list, Apartment Guide calculated rental pricing for an average one-bedroom unit from all ZIP Codes in the United States with at least five current rental units listed in the Apartment Guide and Rent.com inventory and ranked each to determine which ZIP Codes contained the highest percentage increase from October 2018 to October 2019. For the terms of this process, the average is calculated as a weighted metric, which accounts for markets that have more or fewer units in the high or low price ranges.
The current rent information included in this article is based on October 2019 multifamily rental property inventory on Apartment Guide and Rent.com and is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.