July 20, 2024

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These are the 10 states where renters are most behind on payments — and high-cost California didn’t make the list

3 min read
These are the 10 states where renters are most behind on payments — and high-cost California didn't make the list

South Dakota has the highest percentage of renters behind on payments, at 26%, according to a new study. Pictured, Mount Rushmore National Monument.

Photo by Mike Kline (notkalvin)

Renters across the U.S. are feeling the sting of soaring inflation, rising housing costs and the end of the national eviction ban.

Some 15% of American households, around 6 million, are behind on rent this fall, according to a recent report from MyEListing.com, a commercial real estate website.

South Dakota, Alabama and New Jersey renters are struggling the most with payments, the report found, based on an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, and Americans ages 40 to 54 are having the most difficulty. 

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Despite signs the market is cooling off, families still paid 12.6% more for single-family rentals in July compared to the year-earlier month, a recent report from CoreLogic found.

These inflated costs, along with higher day-to-day expenses, have strained many Americans’ budgets, with 20% or more renters behind on payments in some states, according to the MyEListing.com report.

Here’s where renters are facing the biggest difficulties:

States with the most renters behind on payments

  1. South Dakota (26%) 
  2. Alabama (25%)
  3. New Jersey (24%)
  4. South Carolina (22%)
  5. Connecticut (21%)
  6. Delaware (20%)
  7. Arkansas (20%)
  8. Kentucky (20%)
  9. Louisiana (20%)
  10. New York (19%)

Higher rental prices may continue into 2023

Many markets are seeing rental prices decline, according to a September rent report from Zumper, based on the 100 biggest U.S. cities. More than half of the cities in the report showed month-over-month declines in the median price for one-bedroom rent.

Still, despite those signs of moderation, the national median rent continues to rise. 

Surging home costs have increased rental prices, accounting for a significant portion of inflation since late 2021, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

And rental price growth may continue into 2023, with year-over-year rental inflation expected to jump to 8.4% in May 2023 from 5.8% in June 2022, the report predicts.

How to save as rent prices grow

If you’re eyeing a move to reduce your rent, it’s critical to “study up on the local market,” so you’re prepared and can negotiate, said Zumper spokesperson Crystal Chen. 

“Winter is the best time to get a deal,” she said. “That’s when demand is at its lowest and landlords want to fill vacancies before the holidays.” 

You may find reduced rates if you can wait until then, she added, and you can watch for rent specials in the meantime.

Winter is the best time to get a deal.

Crystal Chen

Zumper spokesperson

“Property managers at newer buildings are usually trying to fill a lot of apartments at once,” Chen said. “Some will offer perks like six weeks’ free rent or reduced security deposits.”

It’s also worthwhile to ask for lower rent for a longer-term lease. “You might not get a discount, but it doesn’t hurt to ask,” she said.