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Study: D.C. and Arlington among the 10 cities with fastest rent declines during pandemic

An apartment building in the District's Barney Circle neighborhood. Year-over-year median rent in October decreased 11.6 percent in D.C. and 10.6 percent in Arlington, according to Apartment List. (Craig Hudson for The Washington Post)
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Demand for rental apartments plummeted in cities since the coronavirus pandemic started, as tenants were furloughed or laid off and remote work allowed more young people to move in with their parents to save money.

Nationally, the median rent dropped 1.4 percent in October 2020 compared with October 2019, according to Apartment List, a rental listing website.

City by city, there are wide variations in the way rental demand and rents have changed since the pandemic started. Many cities have begun recovering from the early days of the pandemic, with more than half of the 100 largest cities experiencing rent growth since March, according to Apartment List.

Popular cities for millennial apartment renters

Here are the 10 cities where the median rent dropped the fastest between March and October:

  1. San Francisco, down 21.7 percent since March
  2. New York, down 15.3 percent
  3. Seattle, down 14 percent
  4. Boston, down 13.6 percent
  5. San Jose, down 12.2 percent
  6. D.C., down 10.7 percent
  7. Oakland, Calif., down 9.8 percent
  8. Arlington, Va., down 9.7 percent
  9. Minneapolis, down 9.1 percent
  10. Fremont, Calif., down 7.6 percent

Median rent in D.C. declined 2.9 percent in October from September, the seventh consecutive month of rent declines. Median rent decreased even more sharply, by 11.6 percent, in October 2020 compared with October 2019. This month, median rent in D.C. is $1,637 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,656 for a two-bedroom apartment.

Rents have dropped in eight of the 10 largest cities in the D.C. metro area. Arlington has the highest rents in the region, with a median rent for a two-bedroom apartment at $2,154 in October. Rent in Arlington dropped by 2.6 percent in October compared with September and by 10.6 percent from October 2019 to October 2020.

The city with the lowest expensive rent in the region is Frederick, Md., where the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,607 in October. However, Frederick had the fastest rent growth in the region, with an increase of 4.7 percent in median rent from October 2019 to October 2020.

For the full report, click here.

For the D.C. report, click here.

Read more in Real Estate:

Looking for an affordable apartment? Here are the 10 cities where rent is declining most.

Here are dozens of Metro station areas where apartment rent became more affordable

Study: More big-city renters and homeowners considering smaller markets in wake of pandemic

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