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Big Cities Are Luring People Back, But Some Can No Longer Afford It

Home prices and rents are surging in major urban areas across the world, leaving people who moved out during the pandemic with dwindling options.

Skyscrapers in the distance past homes in London.

Skyscrapers in the distance past homes in London.

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Big cities are alluring again, but there’s a problem for people who are looking to move back: it’s become prohibitively expensive.

In Manhattan, median apartment rents hit $4,000 for the first time ever in May, while home prices surged nearly 11% in the first quarter compared to a year earlier. The story is similar in many other major global cities, where living costs are surging alongside prices for everything from food to gas. Rents in London’s core jumped 16% in May year-over-year, and housing prices rose 7.6%.