While many apartment markets across the nation suffered rent cuts during the pandemic-induced lows of 2020, a handful of areas managed to avoid that fate. Many of these markets benefited from relative affordability in uncertain times. Riverside has been the nation’s star performer in the COVID-19 era, with average annual effective asking rent growth of 4.8% over the course of 2020. This market’s low point was in May, with annual growth of 1.9%. Riverside and Sacramento (with average 2020 rent growth of 4%) command monthly rents that are about $400 behind other major California markets. Phoenix logged average 2020 rent growth of 4.5%. While solid, that performance is about half the 8.2% average hike seen in this market in 2019. Phoenix’s low point in 2020 was the 2.1% annual increase seen in June. Most of the major Midwest markets avoided rent cuts during 2020. In fact, the only two Midwest markets that did not make this list were Minneapolis and Chicago, where monthly rental rates run about $150 to $300 more than their counterparts.