How Rents Have Changed in U.S. Cities During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The most expensive cities got cheaper, but it's harder to find a deal in Chattanooga

San Francisco
San Francisco saw a huge dip in rental prices year-to-year.
Braden Collum / Unsplash

Slightly good news about 2020, albeit for terrible reasons?

It now costs less to rent an apartment in our country’s most expensive cities.

Based on a new survey via apartment rental site Zumper, the rent for a one-bedroom dwelling in the 10 most expensive U.S. cities plummeted 7.2% in just a year. Interestingly, smaller cities are seeing an actual uptick in cost.

A few key takeaways from the report, which utilized data from over one million active listings across the United States.

  • San Francisco and New York were still the priciest rentals, but the average price for a median one-bedroom dipped 14.1% and 10.9% in a year, respectively.
  • San Diego, Miami and Santa Ana were the only cities in the top 10 that saw any price increase, although they were modest.
  • Detroit saw a 5.7% increase in rent prices just the last month, but still ranks pretty low (92nd) overall on average city rental prices. Meanwhile, Chattanooga and Indianapolis posted high rental increases (over 15% for both one- and two-bedrooms) for year-to-year.
  • Expanding to the top 25, Providence, New Orleans, Sacramento and Baltimore actually saw modest upticks in year-to-year rental prices.

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