Map of Wonky Rent Fluctuations Shows How Much Everyone Moved in 2020

A lot of people seemed to head to Arizona over the last year, for example.

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The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on all aspects of our lives, including the price of housing as people decamped from their regular lives and moved to the suburbs or close to their parents or to buy their first house. Because of that — and because of hyperlocal stories about rents plummeting in major cities like New York, for example — one may assume that rent dropped across the board over the last year.

But it turns out that was not the case everywhere. HowMuch, a website that creates data-driven service-oriented visualizations, created a map that showed the U.S. cities where rent has increased and decreased the most over the last year.

To compile the lists, HowMuch compared the average rental price of a two-bedroom apartment from April 2020 to April 2021 based on the Apartment Guide’s Rent Report, May 2021: The State of the Rental Market. From there, they were able to determine which cities saw the most dramatic increases and decreases in rent prices. You can see the entire list here.


It might be hard to believe that the price of rent increased anywhere during the pandemic but according to HowMuch, these 10 cities have actually seen rent rise dramatically in prices year-over-year. Las Vegas saw the most dramatic increase, with rent growing by a shocking 45.6 percent over the last year, followed closely by Buffalo’s 41.8 percent increase from the beginning of the pandemic to now.

Arizona apparently became a hot spot during the pandemic, as Scottsdale (36.8 percent increase) and Tucson (28.8 percent increase) grabbed the third and fifth spots on the list of U.S. cities with the largest rental price increase. Detroit saw the fourth-largest increase, with rent growing by 31.4 percent.

Seattle topped the list of cities with the largest rental price decrease, as the average price of rent decreased 26.3 percent year-to-year. Miami (20.5 percent decrease) narrowly beat out Philadelphia (20.3 percent decrease) for second place, with Lexington and San Jose rounding out the top five.

Of course, even as we slowly appear to be exiting the pandemic, it’s really impossible to know how much rent will increase or decrease. This list shows that while some cities saw rent skyrocket during the pandemic, others dropped dramatically as Seattle residents packed up their belongings and headed to Las Vegas (?) or Tucson (ok!) to settle down.

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