July rent growth in Lexington ranked second among 100 large U.S. cities and far outpaced the national average of 0.3%, according to online listing marketplace Apartment List.
In July, Lexington rents rose 1.6%, meaning a city of some 320,000 people outpaced significantly larger, destination cities, including New York City (1.2%), Washington, D.C. (1.5%) and Boston (1.6%), according to the website’s round-up of rental data.
Just one city outpaced Lexington for month-over-month rent growth in July: Jersey City (1.9%), which sits just across the George Washington Bridge from downtown Manhattan.
That said, there are signs rental rates are beginning to grow at a slower pace and perhaps move closer to a pre-pandemic normal. Apartment List reports rents in Lexington have risen 9% seven months into 2023, but the growth is still slower than what the city saw last year, when rents grew 15% from January to July 2022.
According to Apartment List, the current median rent in Lexington for all apartment sizes across the entire market is $1,232. That makes Lexington 75th most expensive out of the 100 largest cities in the U.S., according to the report’s analysis.
In terms of median rent, it’s even ahead of Louisville, which ranks 91st on the list with a rate of $1,068.
Where is rent growing the fastest in Lexington?
The latest available figures from RentHub, a real-time price guide for rent, indicate the 40503 and 40509 ZIP codes are experiencing growth in median rent. Between June and July, each saw an increase in median rent of about 2%.
Zooming out to a year-to-year view between 2022 and 2023, 40503 saw almost a 17% increase in median rent. That ZIP code contains the busy Nicholasville Road and its surrounding area.
Meanwhile, median rent in 40509, which contains the Hamburg area, returned somewhat to where it was in July 2022. At that time, the median rent was $1,499. This July, the median rent was $1,482.
Complete data is not available for all Lexington ZIP codes through RentHub. Also note data in the visualization below will change over time as it automatically updates.
How hard is it to find a decent place to rent in Lexington?
Lexington is generally a tight rental market. According to online real estate platform Point2Homes, renter-occupied units make up 45% of the local housing market, while the vacancy rate for rentals is 4.8%.
As explained by Azibo, a website that provides landlords with resources for managing their properties, a healthy vacancy rate is between 5 and 10%. That indicates there are enough properties available to meet demand, but also not so many there’s a glut.
A rental vacancy rate below 5% suggests demand for properties is exceeding the available supply, according to Azibo. That ultimately drives up prices and makes it difficult for renters to find housing.
Additionally, according to housing stock figures from Point2Homes, finding a unit below $1,000 a month has become a tall task.
Apartments priced from $1,000 to $1,500 represent the bulk of available rentals in Lexington at roughly 47%. Units between $700 and $1,000 make up 34%, and less than 3% of available rental units are priced between $500 and $700 a month.
Looking at housing quality in Lexington, more than 50% of renter-occupied units were built prior to 1978, according to figures Point2Homes, sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates 24% of homes built between 1960 and 1978 have some lead-based paint. For homes built before 1940 (of which there are nearly 4,000) that figure jumps to 87%.
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