BofA Data Finds the Surge in Housing Costs Varies by Metropolitan Area

Staff Report

Tuesday, March 28th, 2023

Bank of America Institute released new analysis today which examines the increase in housing costs across the United States. BofA internal data shows that median rent payments were up 8% year-over-year (YoY) and median mortgage payments were up 7% YoY for BofA customers in February, but there are meaningful variations by geography. Metropolitan areas in the Sun Belt like Phoenix and Tampa saw rent costs increase by as much as a staggering 26% and 23% YoY respectively, both of which are at a record high pace despite the Fed action aimed at taming price increases. Cities outside of the Sun Belt, like San Francisco, saw more muted growth, as low as 2.5% YoY. Mortgage payments saw a similar regional divide, with metropolitan areas like TampaOrlando and Atlanta seeing the biggest rise, while ChicagoWashington, D.C. and Boston see only modest gains.

Economists at the Institute offer four possible reasons for the regional divide:

Domestic migration trends between states since the beginning of the pandemic saw people moving to Arizona, Florida and Texas, while leaving California and Illinois
Sun Belt markets offer more affordable housing, even after the surge in home prices and rents
Job creation in the Sun Belt markets outpaced other markets and exceeded the national average since the start of the pandemic
The creation of higher-paid jobs such as those in technology and finance, which saw higher growth in the Sun Belt, puts upward pressure on the local housing market

"People across the Unites States continue to feel the squeeze from higher housing costs but the impact is uneven between regions," said Anna Zhou, economist for Bank of America Institute. "Ultimately, population and employment growth are two main factors driving a region's housing market, and this may be why we are seeing an over 20% YoY increase in rents in many Sun Belt cities."