Are San Francisco Rents Beginning to Stabilize?

Rents are about 20 percent lower than a year ago and still declining, but the slide may be slowing.

San Francisco’s notoriously high rents have dropped precipitously over the course of the pandemic, so it’s no surprise to learn that in October, they dipped again. However, it appears that the rental market’s decline may be slowing, according to the latest data from real estate analytics company Zumper. 

Median rents for one-bedrooms declined 1 percent between September and October to $2,800. Rents for two-bedrooms declined 3 percent to $3,690. Both one and two bedroom apartments are now renting for 21 percent less than they were a year ago.

But, while a 21 percent year-over-year drop is certainly significant, comparing the 1 percent September to October dip with the more dramatic numbers San Francisco saw over the late summer, seems to suggest that the bottom won’t fall out completely. That’s good news for landlords and just OK news for renters.

After all, San Francisco rents are still far from affordable for most people, and continue to be the highest among major cities in the U.S. But the City by the Bay, along with Silicon Valley towns like Palo Alto and Mountain View, have also registered some of the steepest rent declines in the country during the pandemic, which real estate observers have attributed to a “tech exodus” from the region as many companies allow their employees to work from home indefinitely. For-sale prices for houses and condos have remained much more stable. 

San Francisco’s (so far) highly successful pandemic response has allowed the city to continue reopening more of its economy, including non-essential offices at limited capacity. The coming months will tell whether more people coming to work downtown will put an end to the city’s rental market “free fall.” 

Tags: , , ,

Related Stories