Despite rising rents, Generation Z has moved to major metropolitan areas like San Francisco and Manhattan




While rents fell in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have risen by an unprecedented 17.1% nationwide over the past year, according to an apartment listing. At the same time, the only generation that has recorded an increase in rental activity in the past year (a 21% increase, according to RentCafe) is Generation Z – the generation apparently playing a large role in an urban renaissance.

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Rental growth continued to increase in March, with the national index for apartment listings up 0.8%. So far this year, rents are growing more slowly than they were in 2021 — however, rental prices have continued to rise faster than they were before the pandemic. Additionally, during the first three months of 2022, rents increased by a total of 1.8%. In March, rents increased in 93 of the country’s 100 largest cities, with “Sun Belt markets in Florida and Arizona continuing to see some of the fastest growth in the country,” per apartment listing.

Miami Metro has seen the fastest increase in rents in the country over the past six months, up 8%, and also ranked first in year-over-year rental growth, resulting in a 30% increase. Over the past six months, rents in New Orleans are up 8%, rents in Orlando are up 6%, Tucson rents are up 5%, and Salt Lake City rents are up 5%.

In terms of supply, the apartment listing notes that there has been a gradual easing of the tight market conditions that have characterized the rental market over the past year.

In the midst of these high prices, one generation appears to be less affected than others. A report from RentCafe found that Generation Z accounts for more than a quarter of rental applications nationwide, with the majority concentrated in large urban centers that promise employment. Generation Z residents may bring new life to cities previously considered to be in decline due to the pandemic.

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In 2021, Gen Z rental hotspots included San Francisco, which saw a 101% increase in new apartment renters for this generation, according to RentCafe.

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San Francisco’s popularity was echoed in Jersey City, New Jersey (with a 95% increase in Generation Z over the past year), and Manhattan, New York, with a 65% increase. Among the top 10 cities attracting Generation Z renters are Philadelphia, Boston, Arlington, San Jose, Seattle, and Minneapolis.

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About the author

Yael Biswati Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist with numerous publications, including Dow Jones, Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She has also worked as Vice President/Senior Content Writer at major New York City-based financial firms, including New York Life and MSCI. Yael She now works independently and most recently co-authored the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two MAs, one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Toulouse Jean Jaures University, France.

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