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Landlords veer back to Pre-Pandemic prices after year of lower rent

Real Estate

Landlords veer back to Pre-Pandemic prices after year of lower rent

Rents nationwide have now rebounded fully from pandemic-driven declines, although recoveries in the Bay Area and New York City are still in progress.

Apartment List’s national rent index rose 2.3 percent in June, the second consecutive month rent growth hit that mark. The rent increases observed in May and June were each higher than any other month recorded since the company started tracking this index in 2017, according to the report.

“After this month’s spike, rents have been pushed well above our expectations of where they would have been had the pandemic not disrupted the market,” the report reads.

Median rent was 8.4 percent higher than in June of last year, when coronavirus infection levels were on the rise and many of the nation’s businesses were being required to close, furlough staff or operate remotely.

Rents rose in June nearly across the board.

In San Francisco, rents have climbed 17% since January, although they remain down year over year in this heavily depressed market.

“Here, the lasting effects of the pandemic mean renters can still find apartments at discounted prices,” the report said.

New York City has followed a similar path. While most Manhattan-area landlords have yet to reinstate their pre-pandemic rent levels, they have managed to raise prices by 16 percent since the start of the year.

Most of the hardest-hit cities have seen at least five consecutive months of rent growth, a strong rebound that puts some of these lagging markets on pace for a full recovery.

In some smaller, more affordable cities, the steep rent declines that some landlords feared never materialized. In fact, 10 areas have now seen rents surge by nearly 20 percent or more since the pandemic began.

“With the exception of Virginia Beach, VA, all of them are located in the Western United States, absorbing the rental demand overflowing from nearby, pricey metros like the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles,” the report found.

The nation as a whole has seen greater than 9 percent growth in rents since January — more than triple what’s seen in the first half of a typical year, Apartment List said.

Still a ways to go

Some larger metros have yet to recover to pre-pandemic rent levels.

Below is a list of the 10 hardest-hit cities, ranked by how much their June rent levels still trail what landlords charged in March 2020.

  1. San Francisco: -14%

  2. Oakland: -12%

  3. San Jose: -8%

  4. New York: -7%

  5. Seattle: -7%

  6. Washington, D.C.: -6%

  7. Jersey City: -5%

  8. Fremont: -4%

  9. Minneapolis: -4%

  10. Los Angeles: -3%



Red-hot rent growth

Not all cities saw rents fall significantly last year — and some have even launched to new heights since the pandemic began.

Here is a list of the 10 cities with the fastest-growing rents since March 2020.

  1. Boise, Idaho: +39%

  2. Spokane, Wash.: +31%

  3. Fresno, Calif.: +21%

  4. Glendale, Ariz.: +20%

  5. Virginia Beach, Va.: +20%

  6. Gilbert, Ariz.: +19%

  7. Reno, Nev.: +19%

  8. Mesa, Ariz.: +19%

  9. Henderson, Nev.: +19%

  10. Chandler, Ariz.: +18%