The Arlington apartment-rental market is edging ever closer back to parity with the pre-COVID era, but according to a new monthly tracking survey, still has a little bit to go.
The median price for rentals countywide in June remained 2.2 percent lower than in March 2020, the month the pandemic roared in and altered daily life. That’s according to Apartment List, which keeps track of rental prices in major urban areas nationwide.
For June, the median rental price was $1,923 for a one-bedroom apartment, $2,328 for a two-bedroom in Arlington.
But it seems just a matter of time until the 2021 market catches up.
Arlington rents grew 3.7 percent in the one-month period ending in June, compared to a 2.3-percent monthly jump nationally. Among the 100 largest urban areas tracked by Apartment List, Arlington ranked ninth in price bump.
Nationally, things have caught up to where they likely would have been had the COVID pandemic not shown up. Nationally, median rents are now 2 percent higher than what might have been expected without COVID.
“Prices have turned a corner. In 2021, we [are seeing] a sharp rebound,” said Apartment List analysts Chris Salviati, Igor Popov and Rob Warnock.
While some mid-sized cities have seen significant spikes in rental rates throughout the pandemic (more on that in a moment), most major urban areas, particularly on the coasts, saw steep declines. But some of them already are back – San Diego and Austin are two that are ahead of where they might have been expected to be, price-wise, had the pandemic not occurred.
Even big urban cores are starting to turn the corner. While San Francisco’s median rents remain off 14 percent, that’s a vast improvement from the depths of the COVID crisis, when renters were fleeing and landlords had no choice but to cut rents or see units go unoccupied.
Similar situations are playing out in New York City (down 7 percent), Minneapolis (4 percent) and Los Angeles (3 percent), all of which remain down but are picking up steam.
The poster child for pandemic price growth – Boise, Idaho – continues to live a charmed existence, at least for those owning rental properties. Boise’s median rent is up 39 percent from pre-pandemic levels, including a 6-percent spike in June alone. Other big movers include Spokane, Wash. (up 31 percent from pre-pandemic levels) and even Virginia Beach (up 20 percent, the fifth largest price growth nationally).
At the depths of the pandemic, San Francisco rents had fallen 26 percent. Going back to pre-pandemic rates, the median 2-bedroom rental in San Francisco ($3,146 per month) compared to a median rental of just $929 in Boise, a 3.4-times differential. Now, with San Francisco at $2,695 and Boise at $1,303, that differential is just 2.1 times.
For full data, see the Website at www.apartmentlist.com/research/national-rent-data.