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Now May Be the Best Time to Save Thousands on a Lease in the Nation's Largest Tech Hubs, According to Rental Report

March 19 2021

In San Jose, Calf., renters signing a 12-month lease today would save nearly $5,000 compared to pre-pandemic prices

SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 16, 2021 -- Rents continued their downward spiral in many of the nation's largest housing markets in February, but they may have hit their bottom, according to the Monthly Rental Report released today. For those looking to move or return to the big city, acting now while rents are still at their lowest could mean saving thousands of dollars a year.

"Housing markets like San Francisco, Santa Clara, Calif., Boston and Seattle have seen rents decline by double digits since the start of the pandemic and rent growth across the nation remains lower than pre-COVID levels. However, the downward trend is leveling off and rents may have hit their bottom in many markets," said® Chief Economist Danielle Hale. "With the COVID-19 vaccination rates improving, returning to work and the city may be on the minds of many. For those looking to capitalize on rock-bottom rents, finding a new unit now could make sense. You'll not only save money, you'll have less competition finding the location that's best for you."

In February, the U.S. median rent, which is calculated by averaging the median rent of the 50 largest metros, was up 0.6% to $1,452, well below its pre-COVID growth rate of 3.2%. With rent growth stabilizing over the past three months, rents could begin to return to pre-COVID growth rates in the coming months.

Rent savings in tech markets could add up to thousands of dollars

Although rents have begun to stabilize, and even rise by double-digits in some markets like New Orleans, Sacramento, Calif., Memphis and Riverside, Calif., where rents rose 18.7%, 11.0% 10.8% and 10.7%, respectively in February, that's not the case in many of the nation's largest tech hubs.

In San Jose, Calif., situated in the heart of Silicon Valley, median rent was $2,690 in February, 13.2%, or $410, less than a year earlier. Renters signing a 12-month lease today would save nearly $5,000, compared to pre-pandemic prices for the same unit. They'd save almost as much in neighboring San Francisco, where rents were down nearly 13% from a year ago in February.

Tech hub markets - Typical savings versus last year's rents

rdc 2021 feb rental report 1

February 2021 rental data - 50 largest metropolitan areas

rdc 2021 feb rental report 2


Rental units include apartment communities as well as private rentals (condos, townhomes, single-family homes). All units were studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom units. National rents were calculated by averaging the medians of the 50 largest metropolitan areas.

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