Time to apartment hunt? Rents in these markets are cratering

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A For Rent sign is shown outside of a property in San Francisco, June 21, 2020. (AP / Jeff Chiu)

SAN FRANCISCO (Nexstar) — If your job is suddenly allowing you to work from anywhere, now may be a good time to start looking around for your next apartment in your dream city.

Realtor.com’s latest rent data shows a decline in cost in 36 of the nation’s largest housing markets compared to last year. During the pandemic, rent across the country has dipped just slightly for one and two bedrooms on average, but some of the nation’s priciest cities have seen much larger drops.

“Urban centers such as the Bay Area, Manhattan, Boston, Seattle, and Washington, D.C all saw the largest declines in rents compared to last year. These markets also represent some of the most expensive cities in the country, giving rents the most room to fall,” wrote Realtor analyst Nicolas Bedo.

Bedo says new remote flexibility in the tech sector is allowing some to flee high-density cities. The San Francisco Bay Area tech hub is perhaps hardest hit by the rent declines. San Francisco leads the nation with a 31% median rent drop, and four other nearby counties landed in the top 10 for small apartment price declines.

Wishing for a studio in New York? Realtor says the price is down 15% from a year ago. Honolulu has seen a similar drop. Meaning a renter’s market has returned in some of the most sought-after cities in America.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, has seen the largest rent spike this year, jumping 36% for studios. But those units still cost around $750 per month, which is still just a fraction of what landlords continue to charge for a studio in San Francisco, New York and Honolulu.

Another trend the data picks up is a shift to counties just outside of big city.

“The presence of counties like Bronx, NY; Pierce, WA (Tacoma); Essex, NJ (Newark); and Worcester, MA shows the growing demand for housing just beyond the nearby major cities,” wrote Bedo. “This transition is likely in part to both affordability and a response to COVID-19, as more people seek out less crowded environments. Renting in these spillover markets provides lower rents, more social distancing, and still allows for commuting if necessary.”

Dig into the numbers for yourself on Realtor.com.

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