7 (Typically) Expensive U.S. Cities Where Rents Have Plummeted

published Jan 17, 2021
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Thanks to the rise of remote work during the pandemic, lots of people are taking a long, hard look at where they live — and wondering if they could be happier elsewhere

If you’ve always dreamed of living in a major U.S. city but could never stomach the high cost of living, the pandemic has presented a golden opportunity. With people moving out of big cities, rents are dropping — hard — which means there’s never been a better time to consider following your dreams and relocating to a major metropolitan area. The more expensive a city was before the pandemic, the more dramatically rent prices have fallen over the last 10 months, according to Apartment List, an apartment rental platform that tracks rent prices. 

While mid-sized cities like Boise, Idaho, and Greensboro, North Carolina, saw rent prices increase as more people took advantage of their newfound remote-work freedom, the largest U.S. cities saw rent prices plummet by as much as 26 percent, thanks to decreased demand.

Sure, you may be somewhat limited in what you can do in your new city, but signing a lease now will lock in a low rent price, which means you’ll have more money to spend exploring local bars, restaurants, museums, theaters, and other attractions when the world eventually does open back up.

For inspiration, here are seven expensive U.S. cities where rents have fallen during the pandemic.

San Francisco

If the Bay Area has always intrigued you, now’s the time to really consider making your move. Rent prices are down a whopping 26.7 percent. The median rent price for a two-bedroom has plummeted from $3,147 per month to $2,305 — still expensive, but in California terms, that’s downright affordable.


Home to big companies like Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Nordstrom, it’s no surprise that the Seattle region has seen a mass exodus during the pandemic. The median rent price for a two-bedroom unit in Seattle is now $1,677, a 22 percent drop since the start of the pandemic.

Credit: Raymond Forbes LLC/Stocksy


Rent prices have dropped by 20.6 percent in Boston since the start of the pandemic in March, according to Apartment List. These days, the median rent price for a two-bedroom property in Boston is $1,674.

New York

With bars, restaurants, theaters, and other social gathering spaces closed or severely limiting capacity because of the pandemic, people are fleeing the Big Apple — more than 3 million people, by some estimates. But their loss could be your gain, since rent prices have dropped 19.9 percent since March. The city’s median rent for a two-bedroom is now $1,609, according to Apartment List.

Washington, D.C.

Our nation’s capital is typically a very expensive place to live. And while median rent for a two-bedroom is still $1,569 — no small chunk of change — that’s more than 15 percent lower than it was last March.

San Jose

San Francisco’s neighbor to the south, San Jose, Calif., is in close proximity to some of the world’s best-known tech companies, including Facebook, Tesla, and Apple. But with many of these companies vowing to continue remote work through most of 2021, San Jose rent prices have dropped by 15.2 percent. Even so, the median rent price for a two-bedroom is still $2,035.