This Is Now the Most Expensive American City to Rent In

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When you hear "the most expensive U.S. city to rent in," you might automatically think "San Francisco." However, that's about to change. Based on rental platform Zumper's most recent National Rent Report, it appears that another U.S. city has surpassed San Francisco.


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According to Zumper's August rental data, New York, N.Y., is now the most expensive U.S. city to rent in — but only by a small margin. For a one-bedroom, the median rent in N.Y.C. is $2,810, and in San Francisco, it's $2,800. Though this is only a slight $10 difference, it marks the first time New York has outdone San Francisco since Zumper began compiling rental data in 2014.

This news is especially surprising considering how New York and San Francisco were affected by the pandemic. In both areas, many renters chose to escape lockdowns and embrace work-from-anywhere policies, so apartment vacancies increased. In January 2021, this caused San Francisco's median one-bedroom rent to fall 23.4% when compared with March 2020 data. As for New York, it fell 17.5%, but San Francisco rent still cost $330 more.

As you can see from Zumper's August data, renters are returning to San Francisco and New York now that vaccines have become widely available in America. In New York, this led rent to rise 19.6% since January 2021, which is about where it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. The same hasn't happened in San Francisco, where the average one-bedroom rent has only gone up 4.5% since January.

Only time will tell if these trends continue — especially when you consider that we don't actually know when the pandemic will officially end. As a result, many are unsure about offices reopening and what the future of work-from-home life will look like. If workplaces do open back up and work-from-home policies grow stricter, we might even see rent in places like N.Y.C. become higher than it was before the pandemic happened. Yikes.

What are the top ten most expensive U.S. cities to rent in?

According to Zumper, behind N.Y.C. and San Francisco, the most expensive U.S. rental cities are Boston, San Jose, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Oakland and San Diego (these two are tied), Miami, and Santa Ana. This is based on the average price of a one-bedroom space in these areas.

h/t: House Beautiful


Anna is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who covers lifestyle and design content for Hunker. She's written for Apartment Therapy, the L.A. Times, Forge, and more. She previously worked as the lifestyle editor at HelloGiggles and deputy editor at So Yummy. Her email: