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Realtor.com® April Rental Report: Rents Begin to Rebound in Tech Hubs

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Nationally, rents see their biggest growth since the onset of COVID

- The median rent in the 50 largest U.S. metros grew 2.7% year-over-year, just below the 3.2% pre-COVID growth rate

- Rents in large tech cities were down 5.4% year-over-year, an improvement from the 6.6% decline earlier this year and a signal rents could reach pre-COVID levels this fall

- Rents for two-bedroom units have now surpassed pre-COVID growth rates, up 5.2% year-over-year

SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- With tech companies beginning to announce their return to office plans, the rental markets in the nation's largest tech hubs began to turn around in April, while rental markets across the country took a big step toward returning to pre-pandemic norms, according to the realtor.com® Monthly Rental Report released today.

In April, the U.S. median rent averaged $1,483, up 2.7% year-over-year and the fastest growth since March 2020. Prior to the onset of COVID in March 2020, rents were growing 3.2% annually. Rents in the nation's largest tech cities, which saw prices fall dramatically in 2020 due to remote work, were down 5.4% from a year ago, an improvement from the 6.6% decline registered in February.

"Overall, the U.S. rental market is beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels. With the largest growth occurring outside of major cities, renters are encountering different scenarios depending on the market in which they are searching and size of the unit they are looking for. For instance, the median rent for a two-bedroom unit in Charlotte, N.C. is up 11% year-over-year while a similar sized apartment in Boston is renting for nearly 4% less than a year ago," said realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale. "In tech centers, rent declines are getting smaller, signaling they are on the path to turnaround. If the trend continues, renters could expect to be paying pre-pandemic rates by as early as this fall."

The tech market recovery
In April, the median rent in the nation's tech centers was $2,086, up 1.1% from March. Although rents continue to be lower in the largest tech centers like San Jose, Calif. (-12.5%), San Francisco (-10.9%), and Seattle (-7.3%), the declines are lessening, especially for larger two-bedroom units.

Denver and Austin, Texas, are leading the rental market recovery in U.S. tech hubs, with the median rent up 2.2% in Denver and 1.7% in Austin year-over-year. (See table below)

Smaller metros see double-digit rent growth; two-bedroom units surpass pre-COVID growth
Riverside (+15%) and Sacramento (+13.6%), Calif., led the nation in growth in April. Much of their success can be attributed to their relatively affordable median rental prices, of $1,950 and $1,704, respectively, when compared to neighboring Los Angeles and San Francisco. Both Memphis, Tenn. and Tampa, Fla., saw median rents grow by over 12%, compared to last year.

With working from home still very much a reality for many, space has been a priority for home buyers and renters alike, and that rise in demand has been reflected in home listing prices and now in rents for larger units. In April, two-bed units surpassed their pre-COVID growth rates, reaching a median of $1,662, up 5.2% year-over-year. In March 2020, two-bedroom rents were growing 3.5% year-over-year.

Studios, which tend to be more plentiful in larger, more expensive markets, are still seeing declines in rent. The median studio rent was down 1.9% year-over-year in April.

Tech Markets - Rent Overview

Metro

Overall
Median
Rent

Overall
Rent
Y/Y

Studio
Median
Rent

Studio
Rent
Y/Y

1br
Median
Rent

1br
Rent
Y/Y

2br
Median
Rent

2br
Rent
Y/Y

Austin-Round Rock, Texas

$1,370

1.7%

$1,125

6.5%

1,261

3.9%

$1,550

5.1%

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H..

$2,340

-6.3%

$1,928

-14.3%

2,200

-6.8%

$2,595

-3.9%

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis.

$1,602

-3.5%

$1,265

-14.6%

1,595

-1.8%

$1,850

5.7%

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo.

$1,690

2.2%

$1,391

-5.4%

1,575

2.6%

$1,984

5.8%

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif.

$2,500

-4.0%

$1,899

-7.1%

2,250

-4.5%

$2,975

-1.5%

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY.-N.J.-Pa.

$2,350

0.0%

$1,995

-13.3%

2,200

0.2%

$2,695

7.8%

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.

$2,656

-10.9%

$2,065

-23.9%

2,450

-13.7%

$3,120

-7.8%

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif

$2,695

-12.5%

$2,049

-14.4%

2,485

-12.0%

$3,071

-10.7%

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.

$1,780

-7.3%

$1,421

-13.5%

1,778

-8.8%

$2,053

-0.8%

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.V.

$1,881

-3.9%

$1,510

-12.6%

1,801

-5.0%

$2,229

2.5%

April 2021 Rental Data - 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas

Metro

Median Rent

Rent Y/Y

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga.

$1,485

9.8%

Austin-Round Rock, Texas

$1,370

1.7%

Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md.

$1,575

5.1%

Birmingham-Hoover, Ala.

$1,019

7.8%

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H.

$2,340

-6.3%

Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, N.Y.

$1,100

-0.9%

Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C.-S.C.

$1,357

7.8%

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis.

$1,602

-3.5%

Cincinnati, Ohio-Ky.-Ind.

$1,100

7.3%

Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio

$1,070

7.0%

Columbus, Ohio

$1,089

6.2%

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas

$1,295

3.6%

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo.

$1,690

2.2%

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Mich.

$1,127

4.4%

Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Conn.

$1,500

7.1%

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas

$1,210

0.9%

Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind.

$1,070

8.6%

Jacksonville, Fla.

$1,219

6.2%

Kansas City, Mo.-Kan.

$1,076

2.2%

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev.

$1,290

10.3%

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif.

$2,500

-4.0%

Louisville/Jefferson County, Ky.-Ind.

$995

7.1%

Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark.

$1,050

13.5%

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Fla.

$1,935

3.2%

Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis.

$1,330

-1.8%

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis.

$1,439

-1.0%

Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn.

$1,343

3.3%

New Orleans-Metairie, La.

$1,342

11.8%

New York-Newark-Jersey City, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa.

$2,350

0.0%

Oklahoma City, Okla.

$800

1.3%

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla.

$1,385

4.1%

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del-Md.

$1,595

3.9%

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.

$1,473

11.3%

Pittsburgh, Pa.

$1,295

2.0%

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash.

$1,535

2.3%

Providence-Warwick, R.I.-Mass.

$1,700

7.9%

Raleigh, N.C.

$1,265

5.4%

Richmond, Va.

$1,192

10.6%

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.

$1,950

15.0%

Rochester, N.Y.

$1,195

8.6%

Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, Calif.

$1,704

13.6%

San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas

$1,079

4.4%

San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif.

$2,275

4.8%

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.

$2,656

-10.9%

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.

$2,695

-12.5%

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.

$1,780

-7.3%

St. Louis, Mo.-Ill.

$1,100

7.8%

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.

$1,460

12.4%

Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C.

$1,249

8.0%

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.V.

$1,881

-3.9%

Methodology
Rental units include apartment communities as well as private rentals (condos, townhomes, single-family homes). All units were studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom units. National rents were calculated by averaging the medians of the 50 largest metropolitan areas.

About realtor.com®
Realtor.com® makes buying, selling, renting and living in homes easier and more rewarding for everyone. Realtor.com® pioneered the world of digital real estate more than 20 years ago, and today, through its website and mobile apps, is a trusted source for the information, tools and professional expertise that help people move confidently through every step of their home journey. Using proprietary data science and machine learning technology, realtor.com® pairs buyers and sellers with local agents in their market, helping take the guesswork out of buying and selling a home. For professionals, realtor.com® is a trusted provider of consumer connections and branding solutions that help them succeed in today's on-demand world. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. under a perpetual license from the National Association of REALTORS®. For more information, visit realtor.com®.

Media Contact
Janice McDill, janice.mcdill@move.com

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SOURCE realtor.com