While home prices have soared across much of the country over the past year as people moved due to COVID, rent increases have been far more modest, and in many large cities, they’ve flat-lined or even dropped. As a result, leasing a house or apartment has become a lot more affordable lately in many spots in the U.S.—with rents coming down particularly sharply in some of the nation’s highest-end neighborhoods. In fact, rent has become easier to afford in almost half of the 94 metropolitan areas regularly surveyed by Zillow, the online real estate and rental marketplace. Some spots, like New Haven, Connecticut and Grand Rapids, Michigan, have seen the share of household income spent on rent—the standard measure of affordability—drop by more than 5 percentage points over the past year. What’s driving the change? Many urban-dwellers left their apartments in search of new places to live outside of the city, where there were fewer crowds heightening the risk of COVID and more room in which to work from home and quarantine—especially as the appeal of being close to work and amenities, like bars, nightclubs, theaters and restaurants, diminished in the face of lockdowns, says Chris Glynn, principal economist for… Read full this story
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