ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL — While rent is on the rise in smaller, more-affordable U.S. cities, many of the country’s largest metropolitan areas and coastal cities saw prices fall rapidly throughout most of 2020, illustrating how the COVID-19 pandemic had a starkly different effect on regional housing markets over the course of the year.
Arlington Heights is among cities where rent prices dropped significantly during the pandemic, according to Apartment List’s final National Rent Report of 2020.
To determine the change in rent prices over the course of the year, Apartment List used its own rent estimates from December 2019 through December 2020. To determine its rent estimates, the company uses median rent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Rent estimates for Arlington Heights are included in the report. Here’s a look at current rent prices and how they’ve changed:
Median One-Bedroom Rent: $1,269
Median Two-Bedroom Rent: $1,557
Year-Over-Year Rent Growth (November 2019 to December 2020): -4.7 percent
Rent Growth Since March 2020: -4.6 percent
Nationwide, the national rent index fell by 1.5 percent after four consecutive months of decreases, according to the report. This marks a significant change from previous years. In 2019, rents increased by 2.2 percent, by 3.0 percent in 2018, and by 1.4 percent in 2017.
The year started out normally, according to the report. After a typical winter slump, rent prices picked up as the weather and markets started to warm.
However, things changed after the coronavirus pandemic was declared in March. As Americans were told to avoid all nonessential moves and millions more put moving plans on hold after losing their jobs, national rent prices fell during the summer months — typically a busy season in the rental market when apartments get more expensive rather than less.
Expensive coastal cities have taken the biggest hit during the pandemic. Drops in rent prices were also concentrated in principal cities rather than their suburbs, according to the report.
As the most-expensive and most-impacted city in the country, San Francisco leads the pack with a rent decline of 26.7 percent since March. As a result, the median two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco dropped from $3,147 to $2,305.
These are the cities that saw the steepest declines in rent prices during the pandemic:
San Francisco, California: 26.7 percent drop
Seattle, Washington: 22 percent drop
Boston, Massachusetts: 20.6 percent drop
New York, New York: 19.9 percent drop
Washington, D.C.: 15.3 percent drop
San Jose, California: 15.2 percent drop
Arlington, Virginia: 14.8 percent drop
Oakland, California: 14.2 percent drop
Chicago, Illinois: 13.2 percent drop
Minneapolis, Minnesota: 12.8 percent drop
Meanwhile, in affordable, midsize cities and suburbs, rent prices saw significant growth throughout the pandemic. In Boise, Idaho, rents have increased nearly 10 percent since March, more than double the growth experienced during the same period last year.
These are the midsize cities that saw the biggest growth in rent prices:
Boise, Idaho: 9.7 percent growth
Chesapeake, Virginia: 8.8 percent growth
Fresno, California: 7.9 percent growth
Greensboro, North Carolina: 7.7 percent growth
Toledo, Ohio: 7.6 percent growth
Albuquerque, New Mexico: 7.1 percent growth
Bakersfield, California: 6.9 percent growth
Memphis, Tennessee: 6.7 percent growth
Riverside, California: 6.6 percent growth
Chula Vista, California: 6.5 percent growth
Researchers at Apartment List speculate that as remote work opportunities increase, more-expensive cities may lose their allure as more U.S. employees take advantage of work-from-home arrangements in cities where they can afford more space.
Read the full report on ApartmentList.com.