Rents continue surge in large metro areas

by Lindsey Wells

Rental prices are surging to an all-time high after dropping considerably in 2020 due to the pandemic.

In September, median rents in the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. jumped 13.6% compared to the same month last year, according to a monthly rental report from Realtor.com. 

Rents hit a median price of $1,654, which means renters are paying $198 more compared to 2020.

“It really highlights how challenging affordability is at this point,” said George Ratiu, manager of economic research for Realtor.com.

While the increase in rents is bad news for renters, it does at least signal that the economy is recovering from COVID-19 as tenants return to cities.

Growth was particularly high in metros such as Miami, which has seen a 31.6% increase in rental prices. 

The pandemic saw a vast exodus of renters from big tech hubs like Seattle, since tech-related jobs are often well-suited for remote work. As a result, median rents in Seattle dropped from $2,923 to $2,610 from March 2020 to January 2021. As of September, they’re back up to $2,895.

More people returning to these tech hubs is a good sign generally for prominent cities and the U.S.

“In a sense, they were bellwether markets for when rental housing would see a return toward some degree of normal,” Ratiu said in the report.

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