Rents in major metro areas tumbled in the second quarter of 2020 as covid-19 spread and many renters left their apartments. Some moved because they could no longer afford their rent, while others moved elsewhere because they could work remotely. For some renters, the decline in rents meant they were able to upgrade their living space for the same or perhaps a lower rent.
But those days are over in nearly every city across the country, according to the August rent report from Apartment List, an online rental marketplace.
The national median rent has increased for several months and jumped another 2.5% in July over June, according to the report. The national median rent increased 11.4% since the beginning of 2021 and is 9.4% above the pre-pandemic national median rent in March 2020.
The metro areas that saw rapid population growth during the pandemic naturally experienced spikes in rents, too. For instance, rents have now jumped 39% in Boise, Idaho, since March 2020; 32% in Spokane, Wash.; and 26% in Fresno, Calif.
Rents remain lower than pre-pandemic levels in a few of the most expensive rental markets such as New York and San Francisco, but rents are rebounding there, too. For example, in San Francisco rents are still 14% lower than in March 2020, but the median rent in that city has increased 17% since January 2021.
Washington, D.C.-area renters saw a bigger jump than the national average in July compared with June, up 3% in the region compared with 2.5% nationally. But year-over-year, comparing July 2020 to July 2021, rents are still down 1.8% in the D.C. region, according to Apartment List.
The D.C. region ranks 36th out of 100 cities for month-over-month growth. Median rents in the region are $1,737 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,756 for a two-bedroom apartment.