15 Most Expensive U.S. Cities To Rent An Apartment During The Pandemic

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

U.S. apartment rental markets are undergoing massive disruption as the covid economy costs millions of people their jobs and forces millions more to make their homes do triple duty as workplace and school.

Some of the cities once considered the most expensive rental markets have seen sharp rent declines, including college-focused cities and tech and education hubs.

Others, including 60 of the top 100 U.S. rental markets, have seen rent increases, and 23 of them have booked double-digit increases, according to Wolf Richter, CEO and publisher of Wolf Street.

Some data indicate an exodus from the most densely populated urban U.S. centers, in part because people are wary of coronavirus outbreaks like the one in New York City in the early days of the pandemic.

The U.S. unemployment rate was at 13.3 percent as of May 2020, but it’s a lot higher in many cities. “Plummeting rental prices in many of America‚Äôs largest population centers indicate significant population losses,” USA Today reported.

Eight California cities made Zumper‘s list of the 15 most expensive major rental markets by median asking rent price in August 2020. 

Despite a 14 percent decline in the median asking rent price since June 2019, San Francisco remains the most expensive U.S. apartment rental market. A one-bedroom apartment there rents for a median price of $3,200 in August 2020 and a two-bedroom is $4,210.

These are the 15 most expensive U.S. cities to rent an apartment in August 2020 during the pandemic.

15. Atlanta

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,470
Year-on-year price increase: 5.8 percent

14. Philadelphia

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,500

Year-on-year price increase: 8.7 percent

14. Chicago

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,500

Year-on-year rental price increase: 2 percent

13. Honolulu

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,600

Year-on-year price increase: 0.6 percent

13. Long Beach, California

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,600

Year-on-year price increase: 3.2 percent

12. Anaheim, California

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,650

Year-on-year price decrease: -4.6 percent


11. Santa Ana, California

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,700

Year-on-year price decrease: -4.5 percent


11. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,700

Year-on-year price increase: 3 percent


10. San Diego, California

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,750

Year-on-year price increase/decrease: zero


9. Seattle, Washington

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,760

Year-on-year price decrease: -7.4 percent


8. Miami, Florida

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,800

Year-on-year price decrease: -1.1 percent


7. Los Angeles, California

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,140

Year-on-year price decrease: -4 percent


6. Washington, D.C.

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,160

Year-on-year price decrease: -2.7 percent


5. Oakland, California

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,220

Year-on-year price decrease: -3.5 percent

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4. San Jose, California

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,300

Year-on-year price decrease: -9.4 percent


3. Boston, Massachusetts

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,350

Year-on-year price decrease: -6 percent


2. New York, New York

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,840

Year-on-year price decrease: -6.9 percent


1. San Francisco, California

Monthly median rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $3,200

Year-on-year price decrease: -11.1 percent