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Couple and real estate agent examining rental options
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Rents in most major cities across the United States began correcting this past month — except for Boston, where wicked-high prices now place it as the second-most expensive metro in the country.

An October report from rental listing site Zumper shows a continuation of last month’s indications of a cooling market, with the national median rent for a one-bedroom home falling slightly to $1,491. More than half of the 100 cities analyzed saw month-over-month declines while 19 stayed flat.

The progress extends to annual measurements, too: For the first time in 12 months of consistent double-digit year-over-year spikes, the national median only increased 9.2% from October 2021.

Zumper’s analysts say renters can thank increasing vacancy rates in certain markets and the re-emergence of more normal seasonal moving patterns. People's concerns about a possible recession also has a hand in the declines, although high interest rates and inflation are still sidelining would-be home buyers and upping the ante for rentals.

Per Apartment List's October report, this month's rent decreases are a continuation from September, which marked the first month the national median month-to-month rent declined in 2022. While renters shouldn’t expect significant price drops until supply gets closer to demand, Zumper says it anticipates a flurry of new units finally becoming available in the next six months, putting more pressure on landlords and accelerating falling prices.

“In many metro areas, declining prices are actually a correction to prices that’d become overly inflated,” Zumper CEO Anthemos Georgiades said in a news release. “Now — with a turbulent, unpredictable economy causing fear of recession — migrations are slowing, occupancy rates are falling and rent prices are following suit.”

The trickle of good news, however, stops flowing in Boston.

Beantown’s rental costs surpassed San Francisco for the No. 2 spot on the list of priciest markets, surging 5.9% to $3,060 for median one-bedroom rents in October. An ongoing housing crisis driven by scarcity issues is to blame, according to the report, which says the shortage is especially hard to overcome due to zoning laws.

What’s more, the city’s new inventory is overwhelmingly designed for luxury renters, making median rental prices higher.

But don’t despair, Bostonians: The Boston rental market is particularly sensitive to seasonal change thanks to its high concentration of college students, so Zumper expects some relief as co-eds settle into their temporary homes.

Where rent is going down fast

Metros where renters have been plagued by drastic jumps thanks to pandemic migration are also cooling down.

Zumper found that rents in nearly every city in Florida is down month-over-month, and prices in Arizona's urban centers are either down or did not increase. New Yorkers can also celebrate a turn toward falling rent prices: The nation's most expensive city saw a decrease of 2% last month for one- and two-bedrooms, signaling a potential return to typical pre-pandemic seasonal trends.

These cities saw the biggest drops in one-bedroom rent prices in October:

  • Baton Rouge, La.
    Median price drop: $890
  • Lincoln, Neb.
    Median price drop: $900
  • Buffalo, N.Y.
    Median price drop: $1,060
  • San Jose, Calif.
    Median price drop: $2,600
  • Tulsa, Okla.
    Median price drop: $950

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