Real Estate is weird. Pandemic life is even weirder. While the rise in remote working during the pandemic has undoubtedly shifted the urban influx across America, the full story of the change is a lot more complicated.
Luckily, hindsight helps. ApartmentList has released their first annual report tracking some of these changes:
This December rents fell by 0.4 percent month-over-month, consistent with what we've seen in years past. Our national rent index is now down 1.5 percent year-over-year, and has fallen for four consecutive months.
But when we look past the national figures, we find tremendous regional variation in rent trends, reflecting how the COVID-19 pandemic has had disparate impacts on regional housing markets over the course of 2020. Expensive coastal cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City are continuing to see rents fall rapidly, while traditionally affordable mid-sized cities such as Boise have actually become more expensive over the course of the pandemic.
There were definitely more drastic changes in March-June of 2020. (We put a house on the market on March 4 that had a dozen interested buyers in the first week that immediately dropped to 1. It was stressful.) After that initial drop-off, however, most things levelled out—although Apartment List notes that while "fewer cities got cheaper, those cities got cheaper faster."
For more details, check out the data and interactive chart on their site:
Apartment List National Rent Report 2020 [Chris Salviati, Igor Popov, and Rob Warnock / Apartment List]