Rental prices across large U.S. metro areas are growing at a pace unseen since the coronavirus pandemic hit last year, as vaccination rates rose and businesses reopened their doors.
In May, the national median rent rose 5.5% year over year to $1,527 per month, the highest two years, according to a report released Wednesday by Realtor.com.
The pace of growth surpassed the 3.2% rate posted in March 2020, before the onset of Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, the report said.
Out of the 50 largest markets tracked by Realtor.com, 38 saw a peak in median rents, with an average growth of 9.1% year over year, according to the report. Riverside, California, led the pack with a 19.2% year-over-year rent increase to $2,020 per month in May. The area has become a relatively more affordable alternative to nearby Los Angeles, where the median rent was $2,581 per month, slightly down 0.5% from a year ago, according to the report.
Memphis(17.2%), Tampa, Florida (16.9%), Phoenix(16.8%) and Sacramento, California (15.5%) completed the top five metros with the steepest rent increases.
“Highlighting Covid’s uneven impact across the U.S., rents continued to decline in the nation’s largest metros like Los Angeles and Boston, where May prices were below prior peaks,” Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com, said in the report. She added that some big cities “are making big strides toward recovery, with rents on pace to see new highs later this year.”
In San Francisco, the median rent was down 8.3% year over year to $2,715 per month in May. San Jose’s median rent declined 7.3% from a year ago to a median $2,795 per month, while New York’s rent remained flat at $2,400 monthly.
“In these three markets, rents still need to grow an additional 9% to 12% to return to prior peak pricing,” the report said.
Mansion Global is owned by Dow Jones. Both Dow Jones and Realtor.com are owned by News Corp.