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How NYC's loss of renters, average rent drop compares to other big U.S. cities

New York City was third on a list of the largest U.S. cities seeing the biggest loss of renters this year.

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The events of 2020 took their toll on renters in the U.S.’s largest cities, and the impact was more keenly felt in New York City. The city ranks near the top of several new lists measuring leasing activity and other metrics in a new report from RentCafé.

New York City was third on a list of the largest U.S. cities seeing the biggest loss of renters; Detroit was number one. NYC had 25 percent more renters leave the city in 2020 compared to 2019. As for moves within NYC, there were 5 percent more in 2020 than 2019, and a drop of 7 percent of moves into the city from elsewhere.

This year saw average rents fall in all of the U.S.’s 10 most expensive large cities for renters. Manhattan was second behind San Francisco; average rent in 2020 was $3,760, a 10.8 percent drop from $4,215 in 2019.

Renter applications in NYC were up 15 percent over last year, according to the report. However that may be explained in part by a new $20 cap on rental application fees, which means it is no longer prohibitively expensive for renters to apply for multiple apartments.

The report uses data from Yardi Matrix and Rent Grow.