Zumper National Rent Report: February 2021


Notable Trends

With a first look at 2021 rental data, our February rent report shows some early signs of reversing the unprecedented rental market trends we saw throughout 2020.

Bay Area Shows Early Signs of Growth
The San Francisco Bay Area is a prime example of how trends may be shifting. For the first time since January 2020, we saw rental prices increase at a monthly rate in San Francisco after months of decline in the city and throughout the entire Bay Area. In San Jose and Oakland, prices also increased for the first time since March and May of 2020, respectively. Additionally, San Jose and Oakland now rank as the 3rd and 4th most expensive cities in the country because of these slight increases, but most notably due to a significant decrease in Boston.

It’s likely too early to determine if this is an inflection point for prices in the Bay Area, it certainly could be.

Mid-Sized City Growth Stalls
Outside of the SF Bay Area, we saw prices drop dramatically in the nation’s most expensive cities throughout 2020, while modestly priced, mid-sized cities grew significantly as renters migrated from historically costly cities to cheaper, often neighboring places. This trend appears to have slowed considerably as well.

The median 1-bedroom price in the top 8 most expensive cities, denoted by the dark blue line in the chart below, took a nosedive starting around July of 2020. That decline ramped up through about October, but has slowed down to an almost-flat monthly growth rate by January, 2021. The result is an almost perfect inverted-S shape, indicating that declines have slowed in this group of cities, and that prices could be stabilizing around a discount of about 20% from a year ago. The top 8 cities are the 8 most expensive as ranked in the January, 2020 report: San Francisco, CA; New York, NY; Boston, MA; Oakland, CA; San Jose, CA; Washington DC; Los Angeles, CA; and Seattle, WA.

In cities outside the top 8, price gains from earlier in the year appear to be diminishing. For the bottom 92 cities as ranked in the January 2020 rent report, price growth peaked at 7.5% in July, but has come down to 0.8% in year-over-year growth.

Second-Tier Cities and New Tech Hubs To Watch
Interestingly, expensive cities just outside of the top 8 appear to be declining in price somewhat in recent months, as noted by the grey line in the above chart, which is also an emerging trend. This could imply that a price drop is occurring in a group of “second tier” cities that are still considerably pricey, but remain cheaper than the nation’s most expensive cities.

This group of “second tier” expensive cities includes places that have been touted as new “tech hubs” in recent months, think Miami, FL and Austin, TX, that are eager to welcome tech companies and workers that are fleeing traditional tech hubs like San Francisco and New York City. These cities have seen a spike in renter searches on Zumper in recent months, which could be a result of price decreases.

In general, there are some significant early signs of trend reversals from what the rental market saw throughout the majority of 2020. These shifts, however, don’t come as a total surprise, as  the rental market tends to pick up in the New Year after the holiday season. It is still too early to determine if  this is in fact an inflection point or simply seasonality, and we intend to keep a close eye on these emerging trends in the coming months.

Nationally

Rents remain slightly up across the country, while expensive coastal cities are still down dramatically compared to a year ago.

Nationally, median 1-bedroom rent was up 0.6% from a year ago, and median 2-bedroom rent was up 1.7%. The national 1-bedroom median and 2-bedroom median grew 0.3% and -0.1% at a monthly rate, respectively.

Rents continue to be down considerably in historically expensive, coastal cities from a year ago. At the same time, rents in historically cheaper cities throughout the Midwest and Southwest are up considerably from a year ago.

Notable Changes this Past Month

Upward

1. Chicago, IL saw 1-bedroom median rent increase the most from the month prior, up 7.7% to $1540 and ranked as the 16th most expensive rental market.

2. Durham, NC had the second highest monthly growth rate for 1-bedroom median rent at 7.3%. Durham ranked as the 41st most expensive rental market.

3. Salt Lake City, UT saw median 1-bedroom rent climb 7.0% from the prior month, and ranked as the 53rd most expensive rental market.

4. Irving, TX saw an increase of 5.8% to its 1-bedroom median rent from the prior month to $1100.

5. Arlington, TX had an increase of 5.6% in median 1-bedroom rent to $950 and was the 67th most expensive rental market.

Downward

1. Boston, MA and Indianapolis, IN tied for the largest decrease in 1-bedroom median rent from the prior month at -6.0% to $940.

2. Laredo, TX had the second highest monthly decrease in 1-bedroom median rent at -5.8%. Laredo ranked as the 96th most expensive market.

3. Fresno, CA had the 3rd highest monthly decrease at -5.2% in 1-bedroom median rent. Fresno ranked as the 46th most expensive rental market.

4. Albuquerque, NM had the 4th largest monthly decrease at -5.1% in 1-bedroom median rent.

5. Virginia Beach, VA had the 5th largest decrease in 1-bedroom median rent at -5.0% from the prior month to $1130.

Full Data

  1 Bedroom  2 Bedrooms  
Pos.CityPriceM/M %Y/Y %PriceM/M %Y/Y %
1San Francisco, CA$2,6800.80%-23.90%$3,5000.00%-23.10%
2New York, NY$2,350-2.49%-21.67%$2,6701.50%-20.80%
3San Jose, CA$2,1301.90%-12.70%$2,6600.40%-10.10%
4Oakland, CA$2,0002.56%-19.03%$2,530-1.17%-17.05%
5Boston, MA$2,020-6.00%-19.20%$2,500-4.20%-13.80%
6Washington, DC$1,9601.60%-14.80%$2,620-1.10%-14.10%
7Los Angeles, CA$1,940-1.00%-14.20%$2,7000.00%-10.90%
8San Diego, CA$1,8000.00%2.90%$2,4000.00%2.10%
9Newark, NJ$1,7501.20%31.60%$1,9500.00%29.10%
10Santa Ana, CA$1,7000.00%3.70%$2,260-5.80%7.60%
11Fort Lauderdale, FL$1,6900.60%3.00%$2,1603.30%-0.90%
12Anaheim, CA$1,6600.00%3.80%$2,0201.50%1.00%
13Miami, FL$1,600-3.00%-9.10%$2,090-3.70%-8.30%
13Long Beach, CA$1,6000.00%0.00%$2,020-3.30%1.00%
15Seattle, WA$1,5604.00%-14.80%$1,990-0.50%-12.30%
16Chicago, IL$1,5407.70%1.30%$1,8908.00%9.20%
17Scottsdale, AZ$1,500-1.30%2.70%$1,970-2.50%-10.00%
18Atlanta, GA$1,4803.50%3.50%$1,860-0.50%2.20%
19Providence, RI$1,460-4.60%15.00%$1,800-4.30%13.20%
19Honolulu, HI$1,4602.10%-7.60%$1,900-5.00%-9.50%
21New Orleans, LA$1,420-2.70%1.40%$1,7000.60%7.60%
22Sacramento, CA$1,400-2.10%7.70%$1,7300.00%15.30%
22Denver, CO$1,400-0.70%-7.30%$1,9200.50%-1.50%
22Portland, OR$1,4000.00%0.00%$1,720-2.80%3.60%
25Philadelphia, PA$1,350-1.50%-6.90%$1,7000.00%3.00%
26Gilbert, AZ$1,3400.80%6.30%$1,6101.90%11.00%
27Chandler, AZ$1,3300.80%9.00%$1,5602.00%11.40%
28Henderson, NV$1,3002.40%15.00%$1,410-1.40%4.40%
28Minneapolis, MN$1,3002.40%-7.10%$1,7905.90%2.30%
28Nashville, TN$1,3004.00%-7.80%$1,4500.00%0.00%
31Richmond, VA$1,270-2.30%15.50%$1,4802.10%12.10%
32Orlando, FL$1,2401.60%-0.80%$1,390-0.70%0.00%
33Dallas, TX$1,2200.80%5.20%$1,6400.00%3.80%
33Charlotte, NC$1,2202.50%5.20%$1,4502.10%13.30%
35St Petersburg, FL$1,210-4.70%18.60%$1,660-3.50%15.30%
36Austin, TX$1,200-2.40%-3.20%$1,5401.30%1.30%
36Tampa, FL$1,2001.70%8.10%$1,370-2.80%2.20%
36Milwaukee, WI$1,2005.30%7.10%$1,250-5.30%6.80%
39Plano, TX$1,190-0.80%-3.30%$1,5500.00%-3.10%
40Baltimore, MD$1,180-1.70%2.60%$1,340-7.60%-4.30%
41Durham, NC$1,1707.30%18.20%$1,2600.80%11.50%
42Cleveland, OH$1,150-2.50%22.30%$1,200-7.70%20.00%
42Boise, ID$1,1501.80%15.00%$1,2800.80%10.30%
44Virginia Beach, VA$1,130-5.00%13.00%$1,300-2.30%9.20%
45Aurora, CO$1,1100.90%2.80%$1,4300.00%1.40%
46Fresno, CA$1,100-5.20%10.00%$1,340-2.90%11.70%
46Houston, TX$1,1001.90%2.80%$1,3601.50%3.80%
46Irving, TX$1,1005.80%0.00%$1,4405.10%0.70%
49Chesapeake, VA$1,090-2.70%-3.50%$1,200-4.00%0.00%
49Colorado Springs, CO$1,0901.90%10.10%$1,300-3.70%6.60%
51Pittsburgh, PA$1,0800.00%-6.10%$1,3000.00%-0.80%
51Fort Worth, TX$1,0802.90%10.20%$1,4002.90%11.10%
53Madison, WI$1,070-1.80%-5.30%$1,3900.00%6.10%
53Reno, NV$1,070-0.90%3.90%$1,4302.90%10.00%
53Salt Lake City, UT$1,0707.00%-5.30%$1,3302.30%-1.50%
56Raleigh, NC$1,0500.00%5.00%$1,2500.00%5.00%
56Buffalo, NY$1,0501.00%-7.10%$1,1604.50%-14.70%
58Mesa, AZ$1,0205.20%10.90%$1,3007.40%13.00%
59Rochester, NY$1,010-1.00%4.10%$1,200-0.80%8.10%
59Phoenix, AZ$1,0101.00%4.10%$1,270-0.80%3.30%
61Chattanooga, TN$1,000-2.90%11.10%$1,140-3.40%14.00%
61Las Vegas, NV$1,000-2.90%6.40%$1,200-0.80%4.30%
61Kansas City, MO$1,0001.00%9.90%$1,160-0.90%14.90%
64St Louis, MO$990-1.00%15.10%$1,250-0.80%4.20%
65Norfolk, VA$980-3.90%6.50%$1,1000.00%10.00%
66Jacksonville, FL$9701.00%9.00%$1,1400.00%14.00%
67San Antonio, TX$9502.20%10.50%$1,1600.90%6.40%
67Arlington, TX$9505.60%9.20%$1,2001.70%9.10%
69Indianapolis, IN$940-6.00%14.60%$1,000-4.80%12.40%
70Cincinnati, OH$930-1.10%3.30%$1,1400.90%2.70%
71Anchorage, AK$910-4.20%0.00%$1,1500.00%4.50%
71Glendale, AZ$910-3.20%2.20%$1,1800.90%11.30%
73Detroit, MI$9004.70%26.80%$1,0804.90%28.60%
74Des Moines, IA$8901.10%1.10%$9401.10%2.20%
75Spokane, WA$880-1.10%14.30%$1,1302.70%11.90%
76Louisville, KY$870-1.10%3.60%$9501.10%5.60%
77Columbus, OH$8601.20%6.20%$1,0900.00%3.80%
78Corpus Christi, TX$850-3.40%2.40%$1,110-1.80%6.70%
78Bakersfield, CA$8504.90%6.30%$1,1003.80%12.20%
80Knoxville, TN$840-1.20%3.70%$1,0000.00%5.30%
80Syracuse, NY$8401.20%5.00%$9700.00%2.10%
82Memphis, TN$8300.00%10.70%$8800.00%11.40%
82Greensboro, NC$8303.80%13.70%$9200.00%10.80%
84Augusta, GA$8202.50%9.30%$9202.20%10.80%
85Omaha, NE$800-1.20%-1.20%$1,030-1.00%3.00%
85Winston Salem, NC$800-1.20%0.00%$870-1.10%7.40%
85Baton Rouge, LA$8000.00%6.70%$9503.30%8.00%
85Tallahassee, FL$8000.00%-3.60%$930-1.10%3.30%
89Lincoln, NE$7901.30%-2.50%$910-1.10%-2.20%
90Oklahoma City, OK$7701.30%1.30%$9000.00%0.00%
91Lexington, KY$7602.70%2.70%$9503.30%2.20%
92Albuquerque, NM$740-5.10%5.70%$9500.00%11.80%
93Tucson, AZ$730-3.90%7.40%$980-2.00%11.40%
94El Paso, TX$7101.40%7.60%$8702.40%10.10%
95Shreveport, LA$6600.00%6.50%$7501.40%5.60%
96Laredo, TX$650-5.80%-8.50%$9803.20%5.40%
96Lubbock, TX$6500.00%4.80%$8503.70%6.30%
98Tulsa, OK$640-3.00%4.90%$8300.00%2.50%
99Wichita, KS$610-4.70%-10.30%$7502.70%2.70%
100Akron, OH$6003.40%-6.30%$7401.40%4.20%

About

The Zumper National Rent Report analyzes rental data from over 1 million active listings across the United States. Data is aggregated on a monthly basis to calculate median asking rents for the top 100 metro areas by population, providing a comprehensive view of the current state of the market. The report is based on all data available in the month prior to publication.

If you’re interested in a more in-depth explanation of how and why we calculate our rent data, view our methodology post.

To keep up to date with rent changes across the country, like or follow Zumper on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In the market for a new place? Search apartments for rent on Zumper.

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