Some Americans may be reminded of the words of one-time New York gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan — the rent is still “too damn high” — with the latest rental data showing a 17% surge in major U.S. cities from a year ago. Renters paid a median monthly rent of $1,807 in March, according to Realtor.com.
That double-digit spike even outpaced an 8.5% increase in consumer prices during the same period, with inflation hitting a 40-year high in large part due to higher costs at the gas pump.
The rise in rent varies greatly depending on the location. For instance, the median rent in the Detroit area was $1,360 a month in March, or less than a 1% increase from a year ago, according to Realtor.com, which calculated national rents by averaging the medians of the 50 biggest U.S. metropolitan areas.
At the other end of the spectrum is Florida’s Tampa region, where the median rent is $2,114, or 31% higher than in March 2021.
Some cities have been impacted by the shift to remote work and the migration of workers to cheaper locations. Take San Francisco and San Jose, two California tech industry markets known for expensive housing. Compared with two years ago — just as the pandemic hit — rents for smaller units have actually dipped. Many tech workers moved out of those cities once companies shifted to remote work at the start of the COVID-19 crisis.
“While rents in tech markets have successfully risen out of their COVID slump in general, they are still falling behind the national growth rate by 9.4 percentage points, suggesting that renters continue to prefer to live in other, cheaper parts of the country,” Realtor.com noted in its findings.
Studio rents in Chicago, San Francisco, San Jose and Washington, DC, are still below their pre-pandemic levels, with Chicago and San Francisco more than 10% below where they stood before the pandemic hit, the study found.