Here’s How Apartment Rents in the Country’s Top 20 Metros Changed During Obama, Trump Administrations

The PropertyClub Team
Mar 10th 2020
The U.S. housing market can be impacted by a variety of different things, including economic shifts, global trends, and of course, politics. The country’s political climate has a significant influence on prices across all sectors, but in the U.S., housing prices are a sensitive topic. We wanted to see how the political scene of the past years has reflected in housing prices across the country’s biggest metro areas.

The political climate in the U.S. is a controversial topic, especially now, as a new round of presidential elections is coming in November. During the past years, U.S. politics have made news rounds around the world, which goes to show how much the political scene can impact trends. 

Regardless of your political inclinations, you can’t deny that political climates can have an impact on housing markets, especially in the U.S., where the high cost of living in major cities is a pressing issue. High rents, rising home prices, and the lack of affordable housing are topics that we’ve tackled in our studies many times, and they continue to be first-line topics of discussion in the country. 

That’s why we wanted to take a look at U.S. housing prices from a more political perspective. We looked at the growth rate in median rents before and during President Trump’s presidential mandate, to see how all the talks and controversies during the past four years influenced the housing market. 

We looked at the 20 most populated metro areas in the U.S., and compared rents for studios, condos and co-ops, and one- and two-bedrooms. We also compared the rent growth rates for each of the 20 metros during Obama’s tenure with those recorded during Trump’s term, and let the numbers speak for themselves, without being biased towards a specific timeframe or the other. 

Studio Rents Spiked in San Francisco During Obama’s Mandate, then Cooled Off During Trump’s

When it comes to renting studio apartments, San Francisco and New York are the priciest metro areas in the country. In the notoriously pricey California metro, studio rents climbed 44% during Obama’s mandate (from 2012 to 2016), and then this growth cooled off considerably during the Trump administration, to 9% from 2016 to 2019. Even so, San Francisco is currently home to the most expensive studio apartments in the country, with a median rent of $2,595 in 2019. 

In New York, where housing costs are a constant topic of debate, studio rent growth actually slowed down during Obama’s mandate, but then rents picked up the pace, climbing 13% from 2016 to 2019. Studios are quite pricey in the Big Apple, ending 2019 with a median rent of $2,400, making it the second-priciest metro in the country for studio renters. 

Rents for studio apartments in the Los Angeles metro also jumped significantly during Obama’s mandate, recording a 40% increase from 2012 to 2016. Over the next four years, during Trump’s mandate, rent growth in L.A. decelerated to 18%, closing 2019 at a median of $1,815. 

There are a few metros that saw studio rents climb considerably during Trump’s mandate, led by Phoenix (36%), Baltimore (35%), and Minneapolis-St. Paul (26%). Unfortunately, no data was available on studio rents during Obama’s mandate, so there’s no way to compare the rent growth rate. However, it’s clear that studios in these metros have become significantly more expensive during the past four years, signaling an increase in demand for these types of properties in these parts of the country.

Condo Rents in NYC Stagnate During Trump, While in Houston, They’re Cheaper Today than They Were During Obama

When it comes to condos and co-op units, some metros saw rents grow significantly during the Obama administration, while some recorded more growth during Trump’s mandate. 

In New York, rents for condos and co-ops are lower today than they were back in 2012, before both Obama and Trump. Rents for these types of homes decreased by 5.26% during the Obama administration and then stagnated at a median of $2,700 during Trump’s mandate. Even so, condos and co-ops in NYC are still some of the priciest in the country, surpassed only by Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

Talking about San Francisco, this metro area is home to the priciest condos and co-ops in the country, commanding a median rent of $3,000 at the end of 2019. Rents recorded a whopping growth of 51% during the Obama years, and then this growth cooled off significantly during Trump, recording a growth of under 2% from 2016 through 2019. 

In Houston, condo/co-op rents increased 39% during Obama’s mandate, but then that growth slowed down just slightly during Trump, to -0.38%. Consequently, rents for Houston condos or co-ops went from $1,300 in December 2016 to $1,295 in December 2019. 

1-Bedroom Apartments in NYC Got 18% Cheaper During Obama’s Mandate; Now, They’re on the Rise Again 

One-bedroom apartments are some of the priciest housing types across the country, as they’re highly sought after by students, young professionals, singles, and even small families. 

In San Francisco, where Millennials continue to flock, one-bedroom rents are the priciest in the country, closing 2019 at a median of $2,845 per month. Rents here climbed 42.82% during the Obama administration, then that growth slowed to 13.89% during President Trump’s mandate. 

Phoenix seems to be on track to becoming a Millennial hotspot, as well, as one-bedroom rents here are 77% higher today than they were back in 2012. This growth started during the Obama mandate, when rents grew 23.19% from 2012 through 2016, then really picked up the pace during the Trump administration, with a rent growth rate of 43.88%. As a result, one-bedrooms went from being $850 per month in December 2016 to $1,223 per month in December 2019. 

Rents for one-bedroom apartments in New York City are some of the highest in the country, but interestingly, they are 16% cheaper today than they were in 2012. As it turns out, one-bedroom rents in NYC decreased by 18% during Obama’s mandate. Nevertheless, during the Trump administration, these apartments became gradually more expensive, and rents increased by 2.44% from 2016 to 2019. 

2-Bedroom Rents Climbed Across All Metros, Except New York, Where They Became Cheaper During the Trump Administration

Renting a two-bedroom apartment in one of the 20 biggest metros in the U.S. is also becoming more and more expensive. In San Francisco, which is once again at the top of the list in terms of prices, two-bedroom rents climbed 46.58% during Obama and another 10.54% during Trump, reaching a median of $3,200 in December 2019. 

Next in line is Los Angeles, where two-bedrooms currently rent out at $2,650 per month. Here, rents increased 30.90% during the Obama administration and 13.73% during President Trump’s mandate. 

No data was available to compare the rent growth during Obama’s mandate in New York, but two-bedroom rents decreased during the Trump administration by 7.51%. Consequently, two-bedrooms went from a median of $2,595 in December 2016 to $2,400 in December 2019, making NYC the only metro to record a decrease in two-bedroom rents during Trump. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Phoenix, where rents for two-bedroom apartments are 66.27% higher today than they were back in 2012. During Obama’s presidency, rents here climbed 18.59%, and then picked up speed during Trump, rising 40.20%. 

Sources: Proprietary research & Zillow Housing Data.