Median U.S. Rent Continues Rising

August 30, 2021 |

Updated August 30, 2021

2 minutes

New York City overtakes San Francisco as the most expensive rental market.

New York City is officially the most expensive market in the U.S. For the first time since Zumper began tracking rental data, New York City surpassed San Francisco as the most expensive market for median one-bedroom rentals.

Zumper’s national rent index reports the median price of one-bedrooms in the U.S. has increased 9.2% since the second quarter of 2020. Meanwhile, two-bedrooms are up 11% during that time.

The median rent for one-bedrooms in New York City is $2,810, only $10 more than San Francisco. Boston is at $2,300, while San Jose, Calif., is at $2,200. Median rent for one-bedrooms in Washington, D.C., are at $2,160. Four other California markets were in the top 10—Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego and Santa Ana.

The flip of the top two markets was called “unthinkable” by Zumper as prices in San Francisco were more than $800 higher than in New York in early 2019. By January 2020, the gap had decreased to $520, and during the course of the next year during the pandemic, rents continued to decline. The narrative has since changed with rent prices climbing across the country.

Since January 2021, rents have increased nearly 20% in New York and are only down 1.4% since March 2020. However, San Francisco has not seen this renaissance. Rent prices are only up 4.5% since January and down 20% compared to when the pandemic began in the U.S. Much of this is due to the nature of employment in the Bay Area, where large technology companies have given workers the go-ahead to continue working remotely.