Are renters turning away from apartments in the priciest of U.S. cities during the COVID-19 pandemic? The latest research from apartment search site Zumper suggests that they are.
Zumper’s June national rent report says that the 10 most expensive rental markets in the United States have all seen flat or declining monthly rents. That’s unusual: Demand usually increases in these markets as the country moves closer to the summer. Today, though, the opposite is happening as demand for high-priced rental markets is falling.
Zumper says that as more companies move into work-from-home mode, many renters have decided not to pay that big-city rental price tag. This isn’t surprising. Renters can’t use the amenities of these higher-priced apartments as most on-site gyms, pools and community areas are still closed because of COVID-19.
These same renters can’t take advantage yet of many of the amenities offered by big cities, either. While the country is slowly reopening, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues are still either closed or offering limited service.
Seeing this, renters today are searching for more affordable housing options outside of large metropolitan areas, Zumper says.
Just look at the most expensive rental market in the United States, San Francisco. Zumper reported that one-bedroom rents in San Francisco are down 9.2 percent this June when compared to the same month a year earlier. That median monthly rent is still high at $3,360. But that figure is the lowest median rent for one-bedroom apartments in this city since March of 2017.
The next three most expensive rental markets in the country — New York City, Boston and San Jose — also saw one-bedroom median rents fall on a year-over-year basis.
Overall, both the national one-bedroom and two-bedroom median rent dropped 0.5 percent on a year-over year basis. The national median one-bedroom rent stood at $1,217, while the median for two-bedroom apartments was $1,473 at the beginning of June.
In the Midwest, Milwaukee saw a big drop in its median one-bedroom rent, falling 4.7 percent on a year-over-year basis to $1,010.
Chicago, not surprisingly, ranked as the most expensive Midwest rental market, with the median one-bedroom rent coming in at $1,510 in June and the median two-bedroom rent hitting $1,810. The one-bedroom rent was down 3.8 percent from a year earlier, while two-bedroom median rents in Chicago were down 4.6 percent.