Having slipped around 3 percent in the first quarter of the year, the weighted average asking rent for an apartment in San Francisco is currently holding at around $4,000 a month, which is around 3 percent cheaper than at the same time last year and 10 percent below a 2015-era peak of around $4,450 per month, with the average asking rent for a one-bedroom in the city having now dropped to around $3,400 per month (which is down 6 percent on a year-over-year basis and 8 percent below peak).

At the same time, listing activity for apartments has recently jumped and is currently up over 50 percent versus the same time last year.

And having dropped around 6 percent in the first quarter of the year, the weighted average asking rent for an apartment in Oakland is now holding at around $2,600 a month, which is around 2 percent higher than at the same time last year but 8 percent below its peak in the second quarter of 2016, with the average asking rent for a one-bedroom having inched up to $2,350 a month (versus closer to $2,500 a month at peak).

Listing activity is up in Oakland as well, albeit by closer to 20 percent.

Our trends analysis was based on pricing data from nearly 4,200 past and active listings for apartments in San Francisco and Oakland combined and for which the “weighted average” apartment totals 2.3 bedrooms when counting a studio as having one.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by OMN

    50% YoY is a huge jump. What explains that?

  2. Posted by jimbo

    i would imagine many airbnbs are going to be changed to rental units

  3. Posted by Dave

    Airbnb folks and especially super hosts are often leveraged to the hilt. The WSJ had a piece on this a few days ago. With the hospitality industry collapsing most hosts are forced to turn to long-term rentals which can be far less lucrative – the “magic money” has dried up overnight. Besides having to put their units up for rent at a time when rental units are move available, some will have to sell their properties. Potentially putting downward pressure on real estate prices prices.

  4. Posted by ST

    The thing that surprised me the most is the fact that the peak rent was in 2015… I would have thought 2018 or 2019…

  5. Posted by Mark

    With respect to the 50 percent increase in listing activity for apartments, how is that determined? i.e. what is the source of rental listings?

    • Posted by SocketSite

      We maintain a database of apartment listing data, pulled from various sources, going back to 2004 (at which point Craigslist was the primary source). We’ve used industry sources, and excluded Craigslist, since 2015.

      • Posted by Neighborhood Activist

        Out of curiosity, why do you exclude Craigslist? AFAIK, it’s still the primary way that smaller landlords connect with prospective tenants — and a huge percentage of the market in SF is smaller landlords. Or is there a better way that I’ve missed?

        Larger properties may use the expensive commercial sites like Apartments.com and Zillow, but that’s only one part of the market.

        • Posted by Empirical personal evidence

          You mean scamslist? Over the years the obvious scams have increased tremendously (no I’m not DJT). I still actively use Craigslist as I’m a renter and always looking for a better deal. I’d say ⅓ are scams. And another ⅓ are large rental corporations posting 20 posts for the same apartment.

          • Posted by Moving from Mission to Elmwood

            Accurate. We’ve seen a huge influx of Airbnb (fully furnished) rooms on Craigslist for rent. The really nice and lower priced ones with beautiful pictures and $2200-$2800 rents are all fake. A few that are appropriately priced are obvious former Airbnb spots. Hanging inventory for 20+ days.

          • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

            It’ll be interesting to see if the increase in listings actually results in lower prices for tenants, or if landlords just put more apartments on the market and keep them empty until they get their “wishing rent”. There’s one interesting academic paper that could be written around that if an eager econ student took the trouble of gathering the data.

            A second one would be how much AirBnB contributes to supply destruction in the residential market.

  6. Posted by Anonymous

    No info on here about Compass not paying their rent all around the city?

    • Posted by Spinning Compass

      Oh, juicy. Hope to read about that. A cash-flush, venture backed firm from NYC goes around buying a bunch of local firms for top dollar, but their house of cards is so precarious that a couple of months of slowed transaction volume leave them unable to pay the rent? Is that the basic plot of this story?

      • Posted by scurvy

        Would love to see them get booted from Ghirardelli Square. Bring back the school and play space.

    • Posted by EBGuy

      Maybe WeWork can offer them discounted office space.

  7. Posted by heycarlos

    Does 50% Y/Y rental activity increase mean there is 50% more units being listed or something else?

  8. Posted by Manjose

    Could someone post a link to a chart with # of SF apartment listings (by month, quarter, year) over the past 10 years?

  9. Posted by Nob Hill Cat

    I moved out of a 1/1 in Nob Hill in February. I was paying $3,700, now it’s listed for $3,400… still looking for takers.

    I also manage a team of young 20-somethings, and anecdotally.. most of them went home to parents and seems like they plan to either let their leases expire or put in notice if month to month given we’re not mandatory returning to office anytime soon. Hard to imagine rental prices in SF aren’t under severe pressure as the spring progresses.

    • Posted by RussianHillDude

      I’ve had three friends moving home to Kansas/SoCal/NC this month as their leases expire..why would they pay Bay Area prices when they can work remote and there’s nothing worth doing in the city to make them stick around..hell I’ve even thought about moving to my brother’s house in NC for a bit since my lease is up on the 25th.

      • Posted by tipster

        U-haul rates for a 20′ truck for a 6/30 move (they lower their prices to get people to bring trucks back to where they are being depleted from, so they don’t have to pay someone to drive them back):

        SF to Dallas: $3206
        Dallas to SF: $752

        Yesterday, craigslist had more listings than I’ve ever seen in 20 years of tracking it: 2200. Furnished listings are about the typical percentage, so it’s not all airbnb listings being converted to long term. It’s people leaving SF.

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