20 American Cities Where Skyrocketing Rent Is Forcing Residents Out

People talk about Millennials and Gen Z still living with their parents, but the rising cost of rent is causing trouble for people from every generation. These 20 cities in the United States have seen rent increases since the pandemic, causing people to move elsewhere.

New York City, New York

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In Manhattan, the median rent just hit an all-time high, and rent for New York City remains nearly 19% above its 2019 level, according to CNN. Eviction rates have been on the rise since the eviction moratorium expired in January 2022. The city’s strong tenant protections have helped limit evictions compared to 2016–2018 levels, but many renters are still struggling with affordability.

Boston, Massachusetts

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Boston has seen rent increase by 6.1% year-over-year as of March 2024, one of the highest jumps among major metros. With a typical rent of $3,079, Boston is the country’s third most expensive rental market. Rising costs are displacing residents and exacerbating the city’s ongoing affordable housing shortage.

Miami, Florida

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Miami is facing a housing affordability crisis as rent has skyrocketed in recent years. While the city has a relatively high housing supply due to excess construction, this has not prevented rapid rent growth and widespread displacement of lower-income residents. Many renters are spending over 30% of their income on housing.

San Francisco, California 

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Despite a pandemic exodus, rent in San Francisco has proven resilient, with prices now just 2% below pre-pandemic levels, Business Insider reports. The city’s limited housing stock and booming tech industry continue to drive up rental costs, forcing many long-time residents to relocate. A median rent of over $3,000 makes it one of the most expensive rental markets nationwide.

Los Angeles, California

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Los Angeles has been building more apartments in recent years, which has helped slow rent growth compared to other parts of California. However, the city still faces a severe shortage of affordable housing, with many renters facing overcrowding, rent burdens, and potential eviction as costs continue to rise.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.
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Rent in Washington, D.C., remains 10% higher than pre-pandemic levels, even as the city lost population in 2020–2021. Rental housing demand has rebounded, with vacancy rates falling below pre-COVID figures in 2021. Continued rent growth is straining household budgets and contributing to the displacement of lower-income residents.

Seattle, Washington

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Seattle has seen rent jump 13% compared to pre-pandemic levels. The city’s thriving tech sector and limited housing stock drive up costs and force many renters to move to cheaper areas. Suburban rent around Seattle has risen 15–21% during the pandemic, shrinking the affordability gap between the city and suburbs.

Oakland, California

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Oakland is experiencing spillover effects from San Francisco’s overheated housing market. As renters get priced out of San Francisco, demand and costs rapidly rise in Oakland. The city’s lower-income residents are facing growing rent burdens, displacement, and homelessness as affordable housing options dwindle.

Chicago, Illinois

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Chicago rent has increased 17% compared to pre-pandemic levels. While the city has more housing stock than other major metros, it has seen a significant jump in housing costs in recent years. Many renters, especially in lower-income neighborhoods, are struggling to keep up with rising rent.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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USA Today tells us Philadelphia has seen some success in reducing evictions through rental assistance and diversion programs. However, the city still faces rising rent and a shortage of affordable housing, especially for its lowest-income residents. Rent growth has outpaced wage increases, leaving many renters spending over 30% of their income on housing.

Denver, Colorado

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Denver’s popularity and growing population have sent rent soaring in recent years. The city has struggled to build enough new housing to keep up with demand, leading to low vacancy rates and sustained rent growth. Many renters are facing affordability challenges as costs outpace incomes.

Nashville, Tennessee

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Nashville rent has spiked over 50% at times compared to pre-pandemic levels. The city’s rapid growth and popularity have put intense pressure on its housing market, pricing out many long-time residents. Locals report steep rent hikes, scarce affordable housing, and fears of eviction and displacement.

Austin, Texas

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Austin rent has skyrocketed with the city’s population boom, although prices dipped 3.3% in March 2024 compared to the prior year. The city is working to add more housing through zoning changes and new apartment construction. However, many residents still struggle with rent burdens as costs remain high relative to incomes. “Some said they’re considering relocating altogether—from Austin to Richmond,” the Washington Post reported.

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon
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Portland rent was up just 0.1% year-over-year in March 2024, an improvement from the spikes seen in 2021–2022. The city has a shortage of affordable homes for sale but a better supply of rental apartments. However, rising rent continues to strain household budgets and contribute to homelessness.

Dallas, Texas

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Dallas is facing one of the most severe housing shortages in the nation, with a declining number of homes per capita fueling sustained rent growth. The city has seen an influx of new residents drawn by its booming job market, sending rent up nearly 50% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Houston, Texas

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Like other major Texas metros, Houston has a significant housing shortage, driving up rent. The city has worked to boost the housing supply by reducing minimum lot sizes, spurring more dense development. However, rapid population growth continues to outpace new construction, straining affordability for many renters.

Atlanta, Georgia

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Atlanta rents rose 0.5% year-over-year in March 2024, a cooldown after steep increases in 2021–2022. However, suburban rent around Atlanta has jumped 15–21% during the pandemic, shrinking the affordability advantage of living outside the city core. Investors own a substantial share of single-family rentals, limiting paths to homeownership.

Phoenix, Arizona

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During the pandemic, Phoenix has seen a massive influx of new residents, driving intense competition for limited housing. The Guardian shares one resident’s story: “Before the Covid-19 pandemic, his rent was about $900 a month. Last year, it was increased by $276 a month to $1,176 a month, and he has received a lease renewal this year with another large increase, to $1,585.65 a month.” Eviction filings were up 40% in early 2023 compared to pre-pandemic levels as rent has soared.

Las Vegas, Nevada

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Las Vegas has seen some of the sharpest rent increases in the nation, with prices in March 2024 up nearly 60% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Eviction filings by landlords are up 60% compared to 2016–2018 as renters struggle to keep up with soaring costs. Affordable housing is increasingly scarce.

Orlando, Florida

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Orlando is at the epicenter of the housing shortage, with a booming population and inadequate housing stock driving sustained rent growth. The city has the 5th highest year-over-year rent increase among major metros as of March 2024, at 5.4%. Limited affordable options are straining low and middle-income renters.

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