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Rental Housing Spot Markets: How Online Information Exchanges Can Supplement Transacted-Rents Data


Traditional US rental housing data sources such as the American Community Survey and the American Housing Survey report on the transacted market—what existing renters pay each month. They do not explicitly tell us about the spot market—i.e., the asking rents that current homeseekers must pay to acquire housing—though they are routinely used as a proxy. This study compares governmental data to millions of contemporaneous rental listings and finds that asking rents diverge substantially from these most recent estimates. Conventional housing data understate current market conditions and affordability challenges, especially in cities with tight and expensive rental markets.

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