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The rent's less damned high: rents falling in most of America's most expensive cities

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In all but a few of the most expensive cities in the USA, median rents on one- and two-bedroom apartments have fallen, sometimes quite sharply (for example, in NYC median asking rents on a one bedroom are down to $2940, a 12.8%/$430 decline from their peak in March 2016; while in Honolulu, rents are down 21.6% from their peak in Mar 2015, down to $1670 from $2130). The glaring exception is San Francisco, which hit an all-time high in June: $3720 asked for the median one-bedroom (but even in San Francisco, two-bedroom rents have declined, down to $4800 from the peak of $5000 in October 2015). The decline in rents in major cities is offset by skyrocketing rents in some of America's smaller cities, like Chandler, AZ; Fresno, CA; Glendale, AZ; Denver, CO; Reno, NV; Spokane, WA; Scottsdale, AZ; and Gilbert, AZ. On the Media's excellent, just-completed series on the eviction epidemic explains that while we think of the eviction crisis as a big-city phenomenon driven by gentrification, the real meat of the crisis is evictions in smaller, poorer cities, some of which have had large swathes of rental stock purchased by Wall Street hedge-funds who have chosen to perfect the art of speedy eviction rather than the art of maintaining liveable homes. Meanwhile, the cities experiencing the steepest decline in rents are something of a mixed bag: Philadelphia (down 12.7%!), Baltimore, Columbus, Akron, Madison, Nashville (which is regressing to the mean after a record-setting surge last year), Seattle, Des Moines and Portland, OR. Read the rest

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