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Study: Boise rents went up faster than anywhere in the US in the past year


The Idaho Press
The Idaho Press

The City of Trees has seen the highest jump in rent prices among U.S. cities during the pandemic, according to a new study. 

Rents in Boise jumped 12.4% from January 2020 to January 2021, according to a study released last month by Apartment List, a listing site and market researcher. Boise’s median rents increased from $931 to $1,047 year-over-year, while median rents climbed to $863 for a one-bedroom and $1,024 for a two-bedroom.

It was the largest hike, percentagewise, in the nation, followed by Fresno, California, (10.8%); Gilbert, Arizona, and Chesapeake, Virginia, (8.4%); and Bakersfield, California, (8.3%).

“In most cases, rent growth in these markets has been fueled by a tightening of supply; we have observed local vacancy rates plummet as more renters compete for fewer available apartments,” the study says. 

In Ada County in the fourth quarter of 2020, only 1.05% of rentals were vacant, according to the Southwest Idaho chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers. The vacancy rate was even lower in Canyon County, at 0.9%. Local vacancy rates were low even before the pandemic: 1.55% in Ada County and 2.53% in Canyon in the fourth quarter of 2019. 

[Local home prices are rising fast. Median income is not]

Also last year in Boise, home values experienced one of the highest surges — a 13.2% increase, more than twice the national average — among real estate markets in the U.S., according to a study by Insurify.

The pandemic has created “significant disruptions” to rental markets across the country, the Apartment List study says. “Social distancing and remote work changed what people want in a home, while many renters were thrust into immediate and unexpected financial hardship as layoffs and furloughs rippled through the economy.”

Boise apartment rents
Fastest growing rent rates in the US, via ApartmentList

Year-over-year, rents are down 1.2% nationally, the report showed.

While mid-sized cities, many of them inland, “were experiencing rapid increases in rent prices as the pandemic and remote work spurred demand for the space and affordability that these cities offered,” large coastal cities, such as San Francisco and New York, saw the highest rent decreases.

San Francisco saw a 27% decrease, from $2,294 to $1,983, in its median rental prices. New York City, Seattle, Boston and Oakland, California, saw the next highest dips, ranging from 21% to 15%.

Cities on both extremes saw big changes during the first six months or so of the pandemic, but in recent months, rents have stabilized, the study found. In Boise the “vast majority” of growth occurred from April through October, and over the past three months, rents have increased by a total of just 0.4%.

More housing options are being built in Boise. In 2020, the city approved permits for 493 new multifamily units.  

The study concluded, “This month’s data may signal the beginning of a turning point in this trend, and growth shows signs of leveling off at both ends of the spectrum. While remote work and economic fallout of the pandemic will undoubtedly continue to impact local rental markets going forward, the way that these trends continue to play may now start to become more nuanced and gradual.”

Ryan Suppe - Idaho Press reporter
Ryan Suppe - Idaho Press reporter
Ryan Suppe is a reporter for Meridian Press, Kuna-Melba News and The Idaho Press. Follow him on twitter, @salsuppe.

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