RentBits, a search engine specifically focused on helping find apartments and houses for rent, has released a new feature that allows users to see the average and median rental prices of properties in 4,000 cities across the United States. With this information, RentBits proposes that prospective renters will be able to use the information to better negotiate, and that apartment owners will be able to better price their properties to fit the current market conditions.
The site has analyzed 7 million of the rental entries in its database, compiling historical graphs displaying the general pricing trends in each region (unsurprisingly, few of them seem to be heading upwards). Users can choose to view averages related to the entire market, and can also narrow it down by the number of bedrooms they’re looking for (there’s also an option for houses for rent).
The service could definitely come in handy when you’re looking to establish a ballpark range for what you should expect to pay for an apartment, but I question how useful it is for large cities, where rental prices vary widely by neighborhood. For example, the median price for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $2049 according to RentBits, but I suspect there there is a significant price difference for an apartment in Nob Hill versus the Tenderloin. The company says that it will introduce searching within neighborhoods in the future.
RentBits launched in March 2008, and is headed by ex-Googlers Dan Daugherty Tim Moynihan.