Report: Detroit ranks first in cities with largest rent increases from 2014-17

Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

By Robin Runyan, Curbed Detroit, 12/6/18

As more new construction and renovations occur in Detroit, the price of apartments continues to rise. How much? A new report from SmartAsset compares rent prices from 2014 to 2017, along with household incomes, and finds that the amount Detroiters have to spend on rent has increased the most in that time frame.


The study found that average market rent in Detroit increased $390 per month, while median household income only increased by $4,600 in that time frame. The study reports, “That means if the average Detroit household wanted to rent the average apartment, it would need to commit just under 47% of its income.”

The amount of income spent on rent has gone up 9.8 percent from 2014 to 2017 in Detroit.

The report finds many mid-size cities on the list, while cities like New York, LA, Boston, and San Francisco—which have some of the highest rents in the country—haven’t seen as much of a difference when it comes to both rent and income.

The study saw two big issues that led to the top placements: rising rent paired with stagnant income. According to the study, “The cause of the rent increase was split between two problems: large rent increases outpacing substantial gains in income, or stagnant income growth amplifying the impact of small rent increases.”

While rents and occupancy rates remain higher downtown, more neighborhoods—Corktown, West Village, Woodbridge, Midtown, and New Center—are starting to see higher market-rate rents.

The study looked at 2014 rent as a percent to household income compared to 2017. For the final rankings, the study, “Subtracted the 2017 rent as a percent of household income from the 2014 rent as a percent of household income. The cities with the largest difference, where the relative cost of rent went up the most, ranked first, and the city with the smallest difference ranked last.”