In nearly every one of the 100 largest U.S. cities, rents are rebounding and even surpassing pre-pandemic rates after plummeting in the early months of 2020. Some New York renters who signed their leases at the start of the pandemic reported 30% to 40% price increases at the end of 2021, but not all rental markets are making equally strong recoveries, The New York Times reports.
Traditionally pricey markets like San Francisco are falling behind up-and-coming rental hubs like Boston, which reported a median price gain of 24.5% by January 2022, closing the one-bedroom rent gap between the opposing coastal cities to just $130 a month. Remote work flexibility and local economic growth account for new migrational patterns across the U.S., driving up prices and boosting demand in smaller cities and tech hubs.
When the pandemic set in, rents plummeted in cities across the country as workers and students fled to suburbs and rural areas. The median rent in Manhattan, for example, fell from $3,509 in March 2020 to $2,776 in November 2020, the lowest level in 10 years.
A year later, as renters flooded back in, the housing markets in New York City and other major cities had recovered remarkably well, with rents approaching, equaling or even surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Some New York renters who signed leases when rents were at their lowest saw 30 or 40 percent increases at the end of 2021.