A monthly index of rent payments for the typical renter is produced as part of the Consumer Price Index under the title of "Rent of Primary Residence". Indices are also produced for utilities payments and for rents of the types of housing occupied by homeowners. All these indices are available for the nation, the four regions of the country, and selected large metropolitan areas.
The US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey provides rent information for apartments at various geographies, including the United States, states, cities, and counties. Data are based on a sample of the United States population.
The American Housing Survey provides payment information on rents and housing characteristics every two years from a national sample of occupants of rental housing. Summary tables and reports are available from the U.S. Census Bureau and the basic survey records can be accessed at HUD's web site.
More geographically targeted and current estimates of rents for specific quality niches are offered by private data companies serving the multifamily housing industry.
Newly Built Apartments
Asking rents for newly built apartments are available quarterly, by apartment size, from the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Market Absorption of New Apartments. Annual estimates are available for the regions and by furnished/unfurnished status.
HUD Fair Market Rents
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development produces annual estimates of rents paid in each Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and non-metropolitan county. The estimates, called Fair Market Rents (FMRs), are by number of bedrooms and currently are based on the 40th percentile of the rent distribution for recently rented, unsubsidized, modest rental units. FMRs serve as the payment standard (the limit of the amount of subsidy) for the Section 8 tenant-based assistance programs. HUD is currently testing Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) in several jurisdictions around the country, which would base rents off of zip codes instead of metropolitan areas. A list of participating jurisdictions is available from the FMR/SAFMR section of the HUD website.