Key Highlights

  • COVID pandemic has changed rental market – demand down, turnovers up, rent prices down in top 5 rental markets
  • UrbanDigs showed median rents dropping -6% compared to last year in Manhattan
  • Zumper showed “squeezing” effect on rental prices nationwide with more expensive cities becoming less and less expensive cities becoming more

 How have the dynamics and pricing in rental markets changed across the country in seemingly the blink of an eye?  To find out, experience a global coronavirus pandemic, mandated city and/or statewide lockdowns as the result of millions of people contracting and/or dying from this coronavirus and institute work-from-home policies to reduce the risks of contracting this virus.

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Voila. The two priciest markets in the US, San Francisco and New York, are seeing continued downward trajectories with their one and two-bedroom rent prices down -11% and -7% respectively since this time last year.

According to Zumper’s latest National Rent Report: August 2020, seven of the ten priciest rental markets in the country had larger y/y percentage decreases, an average of -5%, in August compared to July. Not one of the most expensive cities analyzed in this report saw an increase in median rent compared from the prior month.

Simultaneously, median rents in less expensive cities have been on the rise. Among the top ten least expensive cities tracked by Zumper, only Tulsa experienced a median rent decrease. Average median rent growth in the country’s less expensive cities averaged +5.2% y/y.

Zumper says that COVID-19 is causing a “squeezing” effect on rental prices throughout the country. Most expensive rental prices in most expensive markets are becoming less and least expensive rental prices in least expensive markets are becoming more. This “squeezing” effect is accelerating as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc throughout the country and as more Americans are opting for cheaper places to live while they work remotely.

Nationally, median rents continued to increase but just slightly…. one-bedroom median rents clicked up +0.3% m/m while two-bedroom median rents increase +0.6% m/m. On a year-to date basis, one and two bedroom median prices increased +0.7% and +1% respectively.

Take a look:

Top 5 Rental Markets

  1. San Francisco – both one and two-bedroom rents are down -11% from last year and between -2,4% to -3% m/m
  2. New York – one and two-bedroom units rent for -7% less compared to last year
  3. Boston – month-to-month rent prices dropped -2.5% for a one-bedroom unit and -3.1% for a two-bedroom unit
  4. San Jose – prices for one-bedroom units remained flat while prices for two-bedroom units dropped -1.4% m/m
  5. Oakland – one-bedroom rent prices fell -3.5% m/m and two-bedroom prices increased +1.8%

Rent Price Changes During Past Month

Upward Price Changes 

  • Henderson NV – +5.4%
  • Tulsa OK – one-bedroom +5.1% and two-bedroom +1.2%
  • Sacramento CA – one bedroom +5.1% and two-bedroom +3.8%
  • Memphis TN – one-bedroom +5.1% and two-bedroom +4.8%
  • Durham NC – one-bedroom +4.8% and two-bedroom +1.6%

Downward Price Changes

  • Providence RI – -4.8%
  • Washington DC – one bedroom -4.8% and two-bedroom -1.4%
  • Syracuse NY – one-bedroom -4.7% and two-bedroom -0.9%
  • Irving TX -4.6%
  • Wichita KS – one-bedroom -4.3% and two-bedroom -4%

Thanks to Zumper and UrbanDigs.

Also read: .Buying Is More Affordable Than Renting in 53% of the Housing Market, Buyers Market in NYC for Two-Bedroom Units, Buying Is More Affordable Than Renting in 53% of the Housing Market


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