By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – One look at the Minneapolis skyline and you will see all the cranes and the building of the city’s central core. Apartments are going up on nearly every corner.

That growth has helped Minneapolis become one of two cities in the country where the price of rent is going down.

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In a new report, the real estate company Zillow says the median price here fell to about $1,500 last month. That’s down 0.3 percent from last January. The only other city to see rents decrease is Chicago.

“Those new builds are already competing with the rent of existing units and apartments and holding rents stable in the downtown area,” said Kevin Ortner, CEO of Renter’s Warehouse, a local property management company.

Renters say they are taking advantage of the fact that Minneapolis is bucking the national trend.

“I think buildings are going to have to compete,” one renter said, “if they want to be able to keep renters in and keep people from moving outside of the city.”

Since 2000, rents have grown roughly twice as fast as wages, according to the Zillow Real Estate Market Report.

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Prices peaked in Minneapolis last March at $1,520.

Now that prices are trending down, renters can enjoy a robust building market, and several different new buildings to choose from to call home.

“We’re seeing more vacancies downtown with apartments and condos, and the great thing about it is that we have a bunch of great tenants to come in and fill those properties,” Ortner said.

Ortner said he believes this trend of lower rents could hang around for the next two years.

He expects to see more new buildings going up over the next 12 to 18 months, which means renters can enjoy lower prices and incentives to stay where they are or move to a new place.

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Ortner said we now live in a “renter nation,” where fewer people buy houses early in life and wait to be a little more established instead.

Reg Chapman