NYC Surpasses San Francisco As Most Expensive Rental Market In The Country: Report

With rents across the city beginning to surge back to pre-pandemic levels, New York has reportedly surpassed San Francisco as the country’s most expensive rental market.

The median rent for a one-bedroom in New York is now $2,810, slightly outpacing the $2,800 average in San Francisco, according to a new report from the real estate website Zumper.

It’s the first time that New York has held the top spot since the site began tracking rental prices in 2014. Just two years ago, the spread between the two cities was more than $800.

But while both urban areas saw rents drop off as residents fled during the early days of the pandemic, the cities have taken vastly different trajectories in recent months.

Rents have jumped nearly 20% in New York this year, compared to less than 5% in San Francisco — a discrepancy that may be fueled in part by the number of remote tech workers in the Bay Area who have sworn off the city altogether.

Other signs point to a swift rental recovery in New York — and then some. According to a recent report from Douglas Elliman, the number of new leases signed in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and northwest Queens last month was the highest for any July in at least a decade.

The rapid resurgence is particularly evident in Manhattan zip codes that saw an exodus of wealthy residents during the early days of the pandemic. Neighborhoods including Flatiron, the East Village, and the Financial District are now seeing rents above pre-COVID levels, according to a new report from StreetEasy.

According to Nancy Wu, an economist with StreetEasy, that trend is the result of landlords exploiting pent-up demand, and attempting to “make up for time and money lost during the pandemic’s lull by raising prices and erasing discounts.”

“Prospective renters should be prepared for tougher negotiations over the next few months as NYC rents continue rising,” she added. “But I expect price growth and landlord expectations to normalize as we head into the colder months.”

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