While rents in Oakland held relatively firm over the past quarter, particularly in relation to the market in San Francisco, signs of weakness are starting to emerge.

In addition to an uptick in listing activity over the past couple of weeks, the weighted average asking rent for an apartment in Oakland has now slipped back under $2,600 a month and is down 1 percent on a year-over-year basis having been up an average of 4 percent over the past year.

And as such, the discount for renting a one-bedroom in Oakland versus San Francisco, which had averaged around 37 percent since 2015 but dropped to 30 percent last month, driven by a decline in San Francisco rents, has ticked back up to 32 percent.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Michael

    One of the new Jack London Square buildings has started offering 2 months free rent.

    • Posted by John Grabowski

      Several, not one, and if you talk to them on the phone they’ll offer discounted rent too. Not much, but unheard of a few months ago

  2. Posted by RA

    Most all the new apartments just coming onto the market (of which there are 10,000+ over the next months and year) offer 2 months free rent….or even 10 weeks free, or more. But beware, don’t be fooled by the lower prices. If an apartment is advertised for $2500 per month– that price already includes the discount. I.E, you will be paying 12 payments of $2500 for the first year. Not 10. Before the discount, the rent would have been $3000 per month, and that is where your rent may be at the beginning of year two.

    Here’s how one place words it–note the asterisk:

    Up to 8 weeks free rent!*

    Studios starting at $2,235 | One Bedrooms starting at $2,474 | Two bedrooms starting at $3,573 | Townhomes starting at $5,568.

    Schedule your Virtual Tour and ask us about our additional Look & Lease Incentives!

    *Pricing inclusive of up to 8 weeks free concession

    • Posted by tipster

      Just email them and ask, explicitly. Play dumb.

      Hi, I have an >740 credit score and I want to know if you’ll take the following terms: $0 in month 1, $0 in month 2, $2474 in month’s 3-12 for your 1 bedroom. If not, I won’t waste your time coming in to look. Please repeat the rental amounts as I’ve stated them above back to me for each month in your reply (so that they don’t try to say they misinterpreted you).

      Trust me, they’ll take it. A vacant apartment loses its rent forever, and the next month, the price will be lower for every month in the lease, so they’ll take it. If not them, someone will.

  3. Posted by Pablito

    A fair number of new units coming on line that are much nicer than most of the existing housing stock. Those neighborhoods are improving and I bet average rents actually going up.

    The flip side is during Covid the City of Oakland has abdicated any pretense of maintaining the poorer neighborhoods in the flats. The amount of garbage strewn on the streets is epic and ridiculous. Tenants who can afford to are moving out of those areas.

    I think the already big gap between rich and poor is about to turn into a chasm in Oakland.

    • Posted by Some Guy

      Moved out of the flats in Oakland a couple months back. Sayonara! Don’t forget to write!

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