High demand has caused rental costs to rise. According to realtor.com®, the national median rent price rose to $1,781 per month in Dec. 2021, representing a 10.1% yearly increase. Miami, Tampa and Orlando, Florida, all had increases of more than 34%. National rentals were more than 10% higher on average in 2021 than in 2020. As realtor.com’s Dec. study demonstrates, this average fails to take into account the roller-coaster ride that the rental market—and many tenants—underwent in 2021. Rents were mainly unchanged at the start of 2021; but they quickly accelerated over the year, reaching double-digit annual rates by the summer and continuing to rise through the end of the year. Dec. rental patterns show a change in demand toward smaller rental units, which are more popular in big cities. For example, after spiking earlier in 2021—as employment flexibility permitted some large city tenants to explore smaller markets, providing more space for their money—two-bedroom rentals fell for the first time in Dec., since Nov. 2020. Studio rentals increased at a quicker rate than bigger unit rates in Dec., helping overall rents stay in the double digits for the sixth month in a row, despite the fact that more workers were returning to downtown offices. While annual rental growth remains high, monthly growth slowed in Dec. (as is customary for that time of year) and is unlikely to continue. Rent affordability is becoming increasingly difficult for many Americans in 2022, with rents remaining high and likely to climb this year. Even if for-sale home prices and mortgage rates continue to rise, rising rents will remain a driving factor for people considering making the switch from renting to purchasing their first home.