The Big Apple is looking shinier these days, and it's not just because Broadway's lights are back on. According to Zumper's National Rent Report, New York is in the top spot on the country's list of most expensive rental markets.
In August, New York's median rent for one-bedrooms was $2,810, edging past San Francisco ($2,800 median rent) for the first time. Zumper's September report shows that while San Francisco's median rent has stayed at $2,800, New York's has climbed to $2,950.
The Bay Area has long been known for its pricey rents fueled by a wealth of tech jobs, but many of those job opportunities have gone fully remote because of the pandemic. This has likely encouraged staffers to look for housing elsewhere, thus lowering demand.
New York, on the other hand, is represented by a wider variety of industries, not to mention a vast number of cultural offerings. While the city that never sleeps has, indeed, been slumbering this past year and a half due to the pandemic, data shows that rental demand is higher than ever. Further, a Unacast report shows that New York's population is rising again, particularly in Manhattan and the Bronx, and it has experienced double income growth since 2019.
Factors driving the rental market
Rents across the nation continue to swell "at an alarming pace," according to Zumper. While rents stagnated or dropped during 2020, things are much different this year. The national median rent for one-bedrooms is up 10.7% from March 2020, and two-bedrooms are up even higher at 13.1%. The scorching-hot sales market has priced out many would-be buyers who must now continue to rent as they wait for opportunities that don't involve fierce bidding wars.
Here are the top 10 most expensive rental markets among the 100 most populous U.S. cities, as of September, based on a one-bedroom median rental price. It's worth noting that New York nabbed the top spot in August with $2,810 as the median rent, which continues to rise: