Rents Begin Declining in Some Bay Area Cities

Diego Aguilar Canabal
Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Renters have been unhappy for quite some time in the Bay Area, and for good reason. Home to the highest rents in the country, the situation often seems dire, and likely to only get worse. Some outlets have begun reporting that there may be signs of a silver lining.

Two separate real estate data aggregates have claimed that San Francisco’s average rents have decreased ever-so-slightly this year. Zumper added to ApartmentList’s good news by showing some rental decreases in Oakland and San Jose as well.

Far from being cause for unbridled celebration, there are many caveats to the newly published data. While Zumper’s Oakland analysis found a 2.6% and 1.8% monthly decrease in median one and two bedroom rent prices, respectively, the yearly averages still rose by 11.6% and 13.8%. In San Francisco, median rent for one-bedroom apartments fell by 1.4%, but two-bedroom prices appeared to plateau with a mere 0.4% increase.

San Jose prices fell more consistently in Zumper’s data, with one-bedroom median rents decreasing by 2.6%. Boston’s rental market has now overtaken both San Jose and Oakland as the nation’s most expensive, trailing only New York and San Francisco.

ApartmentList drew slightly different conclusions. According to their data, San Francisco median rents dropped below those in New York both in July and August. Zumper’s study, which weighs their listings against data from ther U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, disputes this claim.