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Consumer Price Index

Rent and owners’ equivalent rent weight information

BLS has received numerous inquiries recently related to the January 2024 Consumer Price Index (CPI) for owners’ equivalent rent (OER), which increased 0.6 percent over the month on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared to the over-the-month increase of 0.4 percent for the rent index. The OER index is estimated from the same underlying sample of rental housing units as the rent index. There are several methodological differences between the rent and OER indexes. Additional information on this topic is available in the Measuring Price Change in the CPI: Rent and Rental Equivalence factsheet.

In January 2023, BLS refined the weighting method for OER in the CPI. Unit-level weights for OER are now adjusted to account for structure-type, that is, the proportion of owned homes that are single-family detached compared with non-detached housing units (such as townhouses and condos). See OER Unit Weight Refinement. BLS calculates the detached versus non-detached proportions based on American Community Survey (ACS) data. These data are updated annually effective with the January index. The new method better reflects rental markets across the nation, but it may introduce monthly variability in the unit-level weights. In January 2024, the proportion of OER weighted toward single-family-detached homes increased by approximately 5 percentage points. For details on the new method see the Location, Location, Structure Type: Rent Divergence within Neighborhoods research paper.