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Rent inflation remains on track to slow over the coming year
Measures of market rents—the rental rate for new leases—increased about 15 percent in 2021. The surge occurred despite a modest increase of less than 4 percent in the rent and owners’ equivalent rent (OER) components of the most commonly watched U.S. inflation gauges, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE). A forecast of rent inflation using the Single Family Rent Index from CoreLogic, a financial analytics firm, would have accurately predicted this path a year in advance and currently anticipates rent inflation slowing to below 6 percent by the end ...
A Tight Labor Market Could Keep Rent Inflation Elevated
Rent inflation responds more to labor market conditions compared with other components of inflation. We attribute this link between labor market tightness and rent inflation to greater demand for rental units afforded by job gains and wage growth. Although online measures of asking rents currently suggest official measures of rent inflation will decline, we caution that rent inflation is likely to remain above pre-pandemic levels so long as the labor market remains tight.
Will Rising Rents Push Up Future Inflation?
Rising rents account for a significant portion of recent inflation. Estimates of how rent inflation typically responds to two leading indicators—current asking rents and current house prices—can help forecast the path of overall inflation for the next two years. This method predicts that higher rent inflation could add about 0.5 percentage point to personal consumption expenditures price inflation for both 2022 and 2023. These potential additions are important in light of the Federal Reserve’s 2% inflation target.