U.S. Cities With the Highest Rent-to-Price Ratios

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With both real estate and rental prices rising quickly over the last two years, U.S. households that don’t currently own a home are facing a major affordability crunch.

The residential real estate market took off shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began. Boosted by increased savings, low interest rates, and government stimulus programs and motivated by a desire for more living space, buyers rushed into the market. The increased competition sent home prices to record heights. But now, with interest rates rising in efforts to cool the market and higher prices being a new normal, many would-be buyers have been priced out.

This state of affairs has left more prospective buyers in the rental market, and as a result of increased demand, rents have spiked dramatically over the last year and a half. The early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 saw rents remain flat while eviction moratoriums and federal rental assistance programs were in place. But with those programs expired and heightened competition for rentals, rents have taken off: in 2021, the median rent rose by 17.6%, and median rent is up by another 6.7% already in 2022.

For homeowners and landlords whose costs are locked in, the current market has been a boon. Homeowners have gained an estimated $6 trillion in equity during the pandemic. Landlords—especially larger corporate owners—are benefiting from greater profit margins as they raise rents to account for market conditions.

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