ST. LOUIS — Rents in St. Louis rose by more than they did nationwide since the pandemic arrived, thanks in large part to $8,000-a-month penthouses overlooking Busch Stadium and hundreds of other high-end apartments in hot neighborhoods such as the Central West End.
Tenants’ monthly payments rose $15 in metro St. Louis between February and August, according to Zillow estimates, compared with a $10 increase nationwide. The pandemic seems to be upending the bloated rental markets of New York City and San Francisco, where rents have declined, while creating demand in places such as St. Louis and Memphis, Tennessee. Add in dozens of top-shelf apartments — like one-bedroom units for $3,100 a month and two-bedroom units for $4,900 a month — and the St. Louis area’s rental market is surprisingly strong during COVID-19.
Rents were already climbing here, according to the data. In the past year, rents increased $32 in St. Louis and $27 nationally. That’s a reversal from the previous three years, when rent increases in St. Louis never matched or exceeded the national amount. Between 2016 and 2019, annual rent increases averaged $51 nationally and $26 in metro St. Louis.
A mass of new, rather immodest spaces coming online created competition, said Michael Hamburg, owner and founder of Pier Property Group.
“Luxury markets have been ignored here,” Hamburg said. “And it’s not getting ignored now.”