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The community had the seventh largest drop in year-over-year median rental prices among major jurisdictions nationwide, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by ApartmentList.com.
And Arlington wasn’t alone; neighboring Washington, D.C., saw an even bigger decline, placing fifth nationally in rental-price dropoffs since last March.
The median rental price in Arlington for a two-bedroom apartment of $2,032 at the end of the year was down 14.8 percent from March, when the pandemic hit, according to the analysis. Arlington is among of 12 major urban communities that have seen rents fall by more than 10 percent since COVID’s arrival.
Topping that list is San Francisco, where the median rental for a 2-bedroom apartment plummeted 26.7 percent from $3,174 at the beginning of the COVID crisis to $2,305 at the end of the year.
Seattle, a city that saw both health impacts and social/political unrest over the past year, was down 22 percent to a median $1,677 for a 2-bedroom apartment, representing the second biggest drop.
Boston (down 20.6 percent to $1,674) switched places from previous rankings with New York City (down 19.9 percent to $1,609) to come in third, followed by the District of Columbia (down 15.3 percent to $1,569), San Jose (off 15.2 percent to $2,035) and then Arlington.
If you are sensing a trend, you are not alone.
“It is notable that these markets are some of the most expensive in the country, and they all have a high share of their workforces employed by the sorts of companies that have been quick to embrace remote work,” the ApartmentList analysis said. “No longer needing to be close to the office, and with many local amenities still closed, some of these workers may be questioning their choice of location.”
“Furthermore, workers who have been laid off or furloughed in these cities likely have little buffer to continue affording sky-high rents,” they said.
The survey also found that cities that are part of, but not the dominant jurisdiction in, metropolitan areas are tending to fare better than those dominant core areas.
For instance, Oakland is holding up better than San Francisco, Greensboro (N.C.) is outperforming Charlotte, and Arlington is doing – albeit only slightly – better than the District of Columbia).
Nationally, “principal cities” in metro areas have seen a decline of 9.3 percent in median rent since the onset of the pandemic, while those in slightly more suburban areas are up 0.5 percent.
Among those cities analyzed, the biggest jumps in median rents came in Boise, Idaho (up 9.7 percent to $1,021); Chesapeake, Va. (up 8.8 percent to $1,378); Fresno, Calif. (up 7.9 percent to $1,196); Greensboro, N.C. (up 7.7 percent to $1,001); and Albuquerque, N.M. (up 7.1 percent to $1,024).
Survey data also tend to confirm conventional wisdom: When vacancies rise, median rents fall, and vice versa.
For full data, see the Website at www.apartmentlist.com/research/national-rent-data.