Neil Gerstein

Zumper National Rent Report: January 2021

Disruptions in the Top 10 Markets

Despite massive price drops in the country’s most expensive rental markets in 2020, the list of the 10 most expensive markets remained roughly the same. This is largely due to just how much more expensive these rental markets were than the rest of the country. Recently, however, a few cities have dropped out of this relatively consistent list and have been replaced.

Here’s what the top 10 list looked like exactly a year ago in the January, 2020 report:

The price difference between this list from a year ago and the current one is astounding, and speaks to just how far prices have dropped in these expensive markets. Additionally, this list of 10 cities was relatively consistent (save for Seattle), and there was little movement in the rankings. As of last month, however, the bottom of this list has finally changed. Newark, NJ, which has experienced dramatic price growth throughout 2020, ranked as the 9th most expensive rental market. Miami, FL dropped down 4 rankings due to recent price declines and sat at spot 13. Fort Lauderdale, FL, which had been at the bottom of this list for the last few months had its spot taken by Santa Ana, CA.

Looking Ahead in Expensive Markets

The list of the country’s most expensive rental markets may look quite different from 2020 or even the past few years due to price trends that came about in 2020. Previously hyper-expensive markets like San Francisco and New York City could be overtaken by lightning fast-growing cities like Newark, NJ, or expensive cities that have resisted the decline like San Diego, CA. But there are also reasons to expect that to not happen.

The incredible growth of places like Newark and the resilience of places like San Diego can likely be attributed to renters flocking to these places from nearby, hyper-expensive markets, like New York City and Los Angeles, respectively, in this case. If the hyper-expensive markets that renters abandoned in 2020 drop so low that they cease to be hyper-expensive, then it’s reasonable that renters would return to these markets and prices would stabilize. New York City and Newark present an interesting example of this phenomenon: how low does New York City have to drop to stop the massive migration of renters out of it to Newark? If New York City and Newark were the same price, which city would we expect renters to flock to? Questions like these will likely determine what the top 10 most expensive markets will look like in 2021.


Overall, the national 1-bedroom median rent remained flat at $1224, while the 2-bedroom median increased 0.3% to $1491. In year-to-date terms, the 1-bedroom median was up 0.6% and the 2-bedroom median was up 2.1%.

Notable Changes this Past Month


1. Richmond, VA saw 1-bedroom median rent increase the most from the month prior, up 8.3% to $1300 and ranked as the 28th most expensive rental market.

2. Newark, NJ and Colorado Springs CO, tied for second highest monthly growth rate for 1-bedroom median rent at 8.1%. Newark ranked as the 9th most expensive rental market and Colorado Springs as the 52nd.

3. Plano, TX and Virginia Beach, VA both saw median 1-bedroom rent climb 5.3% from the prior month, and ranked as the 36th and 38th most expensive rental markets, respectively.

4. Norfolk, VA saw an increase of 5.2% to its 1-bedroom median rent from the prior month to $1020.

5. Detroit, MI had an increase of 4.9% in median 1-bedroom rent to $860 and was the 77th most expensive rental market.


1. Raleigh, NC had the largest decrease in 1-bedroom median rent from the prior month at -5.4% to $1050.

2. Pittsburgh, PA had the second highest monthly decrease in 1-bedroom median rent at -5.3%. Pittsburgh ranked as the 49th most expensive market.

3. Durham, NC had the 3rd highest monthly decrease at -5.2% in 1-bedroom median rent. Durham ranked as the 47th most expensive rental market.

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

5. Philadelphia, PA had the 5th largest decrease in 1-bedroom median rent at -4.9% from the prior month to $1370.

Full Data

  1 Bedroom  2 Bedrooms  
Pos.CityPriceM/M %Y/Y %PriceM/M %Y/Y %
1San Francisco, CA$2,660-1.50%-24.00%$3,500-2.00%-22.20%
2New York, NY$2,410-2.40%-19.70%$2,630-6.10%-22.40%
3Boston, MA$2,1500.00%-17.00%$2,6100.40%-10.90%
4San Jose, CA$2,0900.00%-14.70%$2,6500.00%-8.90%
5Los Angeles, CA$1,960-2.00%-13.30%$2,700-0.70%-11.80%
6Oakland, CA$1,950-2.50%-22.00%$2,560-1.50%-14.70%
7Washington, DC$1,9300.50%-14.60%$2,650-1.90%-12.80%
8San Diego, CA$1,8000.60%0.60%$2,4002.60%0.40%
9Newark, NJ$1,7308.10%30.10%$1,9508.30%25.00%
10Santa Ana, CA$1,7000.00%5.60%$2,4004.80%13.70%
11Fort Lauderdale, FL$1,680-1.20%4.30%$2,090-5.00%-4.60%
12Anaheim, CA$1,6600.00%1.20%$1,9900.00%-1.00%
13Miami, FL$1,650-3.50%-5.20%$2,170-4.80%-3.60%
14Long Beach, CA$1,6003.20%0.00%$2,090-0.50%4.50%
15Providence, RI$1,530-2.50%14.20%$1,8804.40%17.50%
16Scottsdale, AZ$1,520-1.90%2.00%$2,020-3.80%-3.80%
17Seattle, WA$1,500-2.60%-20.60%$2,000-1.50%-14.50%
18New Orleans, LA$1,460-0.70%3.50%$1,690-0.60%3.70%
19Atlanta, GA$1,430-2.10%0.70%$1,870-1.60%4.50%
19Chicago, IL$1,430-2.70%-4.00%$1,750-2.20%2.90%
19Sacramento, CA$1,430-2.10%10.90%$1,730-3.90%18.50%
19Honolulu, HI$1,430-4.70%-10.60%$2,000-4.80%-7.00%
23Denver, CO$1,410-0.70%-8.40%$1,9100.00%-3.50%
24Portland, OR$1,4000.00%2.90%$1,7701.10%4.10%
25Philadelphia, PA$1,370-4.90%-8.70%$1,7000.00%3.70%
26Gilbert, AZ$1,3302.30%7.30%$1,5800.60%9.00%
27Chandler, AZ$1,3201.50%9.10%$1,530-0.60%7.00%
28Richmond, VA$1,3008.30%16.10%$1,4505.10%6.60%
29Henderson, NV$1,2702.40%11.40%$1,4304.40%5.90%
29Minneapolis, MN$1,270-2.30%-8.60%$1,690-5.10%-6.10%
29St Petersburg, FL$1,270-2.30%25.70%$1,720-1.10%25.50%
32Nashville, TN$1,250-0.80%-9.40%$1,4501.40%3.60%
33Austin, TX$1,230-4.70%0.00%$1,520-5.00%0.00%
34Orlando, FL$1,2200.80%-3.20%$1,4000.00%-2.10%
35Dallas, TX$1,210-3.20%4.30%$1,640-2.40%3.10%
36Baltimore, MD$1,200-1.60%1.70%$1,450-5.20%2.80%
36Plano, TX$1,2005.30%0.80%$1,5502.60%-3.10%
38Charlotte, NC$1,190-0.80%2.60%$1,4200.70%10.90%
38Virginia Beach, VA$1,1905.30%19.00%$1,3303.90%12.70%
40Cleveland, OH$1,1801.70%25.50%$1,3004.80%30.00%
40Tampa, FL$1,180-0.80%4.40%$1,4100.00%6.00%
42Fresno, CA$1,1602.70%17.20%$1,3801.50%15.00%
43Milwaukee, WI$1,1404.60%1.80%$1,3204.80%12.80%
44Boise, ID$1,1301.80%13.00%$1,2705.00%11.40%
45Chesapeake, VA$1,120-5.10%2.80%$1,2500.00%3.30%
46Aurora, CO$1,1000.00%0.00%$1,430-2.10%1.40%
47Durham, NC$1,090-5.20%6.90%$1,250-2.30%10.60%
47Madison, WI$1,090-2.70%-5.20%$1,390-0.70%5.30%
49Houston, TX$1,080-3.60%4.90%$1,340-2.90%6.30%
49Pittsburgh, PA$1,080-5.30%-10.70%$1,300-3.00%-5.80%
49Reno, NV$1,0801.90%3.80%$1,3900.70%10.30%
52Colorado Springs, CO$1,0708.10%7.00%$1,3504.70%10.70%
53Fort Worth, TX$1,050-0.90%2.90%$1,360-1.40%8.80%
53Raleigh, NC$1,050-5.40%5.00%$1,250-3.10%4.20%
55Buffalo, NY$1,0404.00%-8.80%$1,110-2.60%-18.40%
55Irving, TX$1,0403.00%-4.60%$1,3702.20%-3.50%
57Chattanooga, TN$1,030-1.00%14.40%$1,180-1.70%14.60%
57Las Vegas, NV$1,030-1.90%8.40%$1,2100.00%4.30%
59Norfolk, VA$1,0205.20%10.90%$1,1006.80%14.60%
59Rochester, NY$1,0202.00%9.70%$1,2100.80%10.00%
61Indianapolis, IN$1,0000.00%22.00%$1,0500.00%16.70%
61Phoenix, AZ$1,000-2.00%2.00%$1,2800.00%3.20%
61Salt Lake City, UT$1,000-3.80%-13.00%$1,300-3.00%-6.50%
61St Louis, MO$1,000-4.80%22.00%$1,2600.00%9.60%
65Kansas City, MO$990-2.90%5.30%$1,1700.00%14.70%
66Mesa, AZ$970-2.00%7.80%$1,210-2.40%9.00%
67Jacksonville, FL$960-4.00%6.70%$1,140-5.00%11.80%
68Anchorage, AK$9500.00%5.60%$1,150-4.20%4.50%
69Cincinnati, OH$940-1.10%4.40%$1,130-2.60%-3.40%
69Glendale, AZ$9401.10%1.10%$1,1700.00%10.40%
71San Antonio, TX$9300.00%5.70%$1,1500.90%4.50%
72Arlington, TX$9000.00%4.70%$1,1800.00%7.30%
73Spokane, WA$8903.50%17.10%$1,100-1.80%6.80%
74Corpus Christi, TX$8804.80%7.30%$1,1301.80%8.70%
74Des Moines, IA$880-3.30%2.30%$930-3.10%3.30%
74Louisville, KY$880-2.20%6.00%$940-3.10%1.10%
77Detroit, MI$8604.90%19.40%$1,0305.10%25.60%
78Columbus, OH$8500.00%6.30%$1,090-0.90%3.80%
78Knoxville, TN$8503.70%4.90%$1,0005.30%6.40%
80Memphis, TN$830-2.40%7.80%$880-2.20%8.60%
80Syracuse, NY$8303.80%2.50%$970-4.00%-3.00%
82Bakersfield, CA$810-3.60%0.00%$1,0601.00%14.00%
82Omaha, NE$810-2.40%1.30%$1,040-4.60%4.00%
82Winston Salem, NC$8101.30%1.30%$8801.10%6.00%
85Augusta, GA$800-3.60%6.70%$900-2.20%7.10%
85Baton Rouge, LA$800-2.40%5.30%$920-2.10%4.50%
85Greensboro, NC$8003.90%11.10%$9202.20%13.60%
85Tallahassee, FL$8000.00%-3.60%$940-1.10%4.40%
89Albuquerque, NM$7800.00%11.40%$950-2.10%14.50%
89Lincoln, NE$780-1.30%-3.70%$9200.00%0.00%
91Oklahoma City, OK$7600.00%0.00%$900-2.20%1.10%
91Tucson, AZ$760-2.60%13.40%$1,000-2.00%14.90%
93Lexington, KY$7400.00%1.40%$9202.20%-3.20%
94El Paso, TX$7000.00%4.50%$8500.00%6.30%
95Laredo, TX$690-4.20%-2.80%$9500.00%0.00%
96Shreveport, LA$6601.50%1.50%$740-1.30%5.70%
96Tulsa, OK$6601.50%3.10%$8301.20%0.00%
98Lubbock, TX$6500.00%0.00%$8201.20%2.50%
99Wichita, KS$6401.60%-4.50%$730-5.20%4.30%
100Akron, OH$5801.80%-6.50%$7300.00%4.30%


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.

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