The recent expiration of local eviction moratoriums along with an intensified return to pre-pandemic life are leading to rent hikes and sparse supply across the U.S.
Unfortunately for tenants everywhere, rent is on its way up again. Throughout 2020, many renters were able to benefit from COVID-induced price reductions or even months of free rent as landlords struggled to fill empty units. But those concessions are now a remnant of the past, and landlords are hiking up prices as COVID-19 restrictions end and housing demand spikes.
Now that most pandemic-era rental protections have expired, landlords and tenants have entered a period of relative uncertainty – with some landlords hesitant to open new listings and tenants unsure of their next move. In some cases, tenants that had originally signed one-year leases at the start of the pandemic – and are now several months past that mark – may be negotiating with their landlords to work out a solution. In these situations, technically available units may not have come back onto the market yet, further compounding the supply squeeze. The full effect of recently-lifted local eviction moratoriums also remains to be seen, as we don’t yet know how many evictions will take place or if months of back rent will be recouped by landlords.
Meanwhile, our shift to an increasingly urban society has been well-documented; migration to U.S. cities has been on the rise for years. Even with the pandemic suburban boom, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that nearly 80% of Americans live in urban areas, up from 64% in 1950. And now, as employers are increasingly calling workers back to the office amid an intensified return to pre-pandemic life, many people are once again flocking to U.S. cities – leading to rent hikes and sparse supply.
These are the 25 metro areas that currently have the highest median rental prices:
|Median Rent (October 8, 2021)|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA||$4,500|
|Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA||$4,250|
|San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA||$4,250|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$4,225|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA||$4,200|
|North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL||$3,875|
|Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL||$3,600|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL||$3,500|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA||$3,325|
|New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA||$2,900|
|Port St. Lucie, FL||$2,725|
|New Haven-Milford, CT||$2,650|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI||$2,645|
|Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT||$2,400|
|Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL||$2,350|
Unsurprisingly, Californian cities occupy the top five spots on the list, as the Golden State continues to be one of the most expensive U.S. states to live in, per CNBC. The Bay Area, in particular, remains a hot spot for incoming residents, with rental prices having increased or held stable over the past year-and-a-half despite anecdotes of people leaving the region for less expensive abodes.
These are the 25 metro areas that saw the biggest jump in median rental prices since the start of the pandemic:
|Median Rent (March 13, 2020)||Median Rent (October 8, 2021)|
|Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL||100%||$1,800||$3,600|
|North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL||81%||$2,145||$3,875|
|Port St. Lucie, FL||44%||$1,895||$2,725|
|Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL||39%||$1,550||$2,195|
|Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL||36%||$1,728||$2,350|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL||35%||$2,600||$3,500|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA||33%||$2,500||$3,325|
|New Haven-Milford, CT||33%||$2,000||$2,650|
|St. Louis, MO-IL||30%||$1,295||$1,662|
|Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV||28%||$1,700||$2,185|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA||27%||$1,650||$2,100|
|Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL||27%||$1,650||$2,100|
|New Orleans-Metairie, LA||21%||$1,650||$2,000|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI||27%||$2,080||$2,645|
|Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT||26%||$1,900||$2,400|
|Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA||25%||$3,400||$4,250|
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there were many reports of people taking advantage of remote work policies and moving to warm-weather states like Florida and Texas. According to our data, Florida experienced the largest rent hikes throughout the pandemic, with eight different state metros making the list. Cape Coral-Fort Myers saw prices rise by 100% while the median rent in Miami-Fort Lauderdale grew 35% over the same period.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention enacted a national eviction moratorium, some states such as Texas did not closely enforce the policy, which likely contributed to the high number of people moving into the state as the majority of at-risk households were not protected by the local government and ended up in eviction court during the health crisis.
In other places like New York City – which largely experienced an exodus of people and an abundance of supply during the pandemic – the heavily enforced eviction moratorium helped keep prices level (or even discounted). Now, as people move back to the city and those protections have expired, rent has ballooned again.
One of the most important factors driving this price surge is the ongoing nationwide shortage of homes for rent. Just like in the home purchase market, metros across the U.S. are suffering from limited supply in the number of available rental properties – which, when put together with steady or increased demand from renters, leads to the kind of price growth we have been seeing.
These are the 25 metro areas that have experienced the largest decrease in the number of available properties for rent since the start of the pandemic:
|Baton Rouge, LA||-78%|
|New Orleans-Metairie, LA||-73%|
|Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL||-67%|
|Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT||-66%|
|New Haven-Milford, CT||-64%|
|Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL||-61%|
|Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL||-60%|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA||-57%|
|Port St. Lucie, FL||-57%|
|Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL||-56%|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA||-56%|
|Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA||-55%|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL||-55%|
|Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL||-55%|
|St. Louis, MO-IL||-54%|
|San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA||-54%|
Across the country, the number of available properties has plummeted since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, with areas of Louisiana experiencing the biggest drop in supply. As the demand for properties in Florida and California has risen, cities in those two states have also seen a significant downward shift in inventory levels.
Over the next few months, we expect supply to start rising to normal levels, which should stabilize prices – although it’s unlikely that prices will drop significantly anytime soon, unwelcome yet unsurprising news for anyone following the housing market this year.
If you are currently working with a real estate agent, this is not meant as a solicitation of your business.
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