S.F. Renters Partying Like It’s 2009

If you’re currently trying to rent an apartment in San Francisco, this news might make you laugh: The market is cooling so much that landlords are offering generous perks for signing a lease.

But to anyone considering a 400-square-foot studio for several thousand a month, the idea that things are getting better for tenants is comical. But apparently it’s true, according to Yahoo Finance, which proclaims that incentives for potential tenants are at levels not seen since the days of the Great Recession. The catch is, of course, these landlords seem more interested in renting to tech workers than, say, people who don’t work in tech.

At Solaire, a new luxury building in SoMa, tenants receive six weeks of free rent for leasing a two-bedroom unit. Yahoo also reports that Solaire is offering $1,000 discounts to tech workers. That’s a sweet deal — until you consider that those units rent from $4,765 to $6,400. Good luck with that, tech and non-tech people. And at 340 Fremont, tenants also can get six weeks off rent for new leases. You just need to shell out about $3,500 a month for a studio.

The impetus for luxury buildings shelling out perks is that the rental market is actually leveling off, or starting to trend that way. Figures from Zillow, the real estate database, show San Francisco rents increasing 5.5 percent this June from last June, which is far less than the 16.4 percent rise from June 2014 to June 2015. Yahoo also reports that more than 12,000 units in the three biggest Bay Area cities — San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland — will come online this year, offering more supply for the demand. That’s nearly as many as the 13,700 new units from the past two years combined.

Such supply is what build, build, build folks like the Bay Area Renters Federation say is the answer to making the region affordable again. Time will tell if it also makes it great again.

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