Having ended last year lower than where they started, asking rents for apartments in San Francisco inched up 1.1 percent over the past month but remain 1.3 percent lower versus the same time last year.

In fact, based on a comparison of roughly 2,500 listings, the weighted average asking rent for an apartment in San Francisco, including one-off rentals as well as units in larger developments such as Avalon’s new complex in Dogpatch pictured above, is currently around $4,050 a month which is 9 percent below their peak in the fourth quarter of 2015 with the average asking rent for a one-bedroom now running around $3,400 a month having ticked down from around $3,650 back in late 2015.

At the same time, the weighted average asking rent for an apartment in Oakland is currently running around $2,425 a month which is 5 percent lower versus the same time last year and around 19 percent lover versus mid-2016 with the average asking rent for a one-bedroom current running around $2,100 a month, which remains around 40 percent cheaper than in San Francisco.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Dave

    Rents are still too high despite the slight dip. Rents would have to drop a lot more for the average San Franciscan to not have to spend an arm and a leg (way more than they should) for their apartment. Short of being under rent control that is.

    Speaking of which, a huge red flag is looming larger for rental property owners across California. It’s one of several reasons I would never buy a rental in this state. On 01/11 AB1506 , a bill to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, fell just 1 vote short of passing the Assembly. it was expected to lose by 3 or 4 votes and tenant advocated now feel emboldened by their near victory. They will redouble their efforts – they feel they have the votes in the Senate to pass the repeal. This has been a red flag for me for years Many say it won’t happen – after this vote I’d say it is now likely to happen. Probably in the next year or two.

    • Posted by anon

      Dave, please stop with the misinformation.

      AB1506 did not “fall just 1 vote short of passing the Assembly.” And it was not “expected to lose by 3 or 4 votes.” It did not even get out of the Housing and Community Development Committee – failing with 3 ayes, 2 noes with 2 abstentions. A bill that can’t even get out of committee is not a threat. It means there is no meaningful support for it. It never even reached the Assembly. Or the Senate. Or the Governor.

      • Posted by jeremyharrison

        Any thoughts on the upcoming ballot measure that will try to repeal Costa Hawkins? It’s been filed and needs about 350,000 signatures by June to be on the November ballot.

        Anyone have a pulse on the electorate to see how the voters feel?

        • Posted by Anon123

          Most of the electorate have no idea what this is about, and if they vote on it, their votes will depend on who throws the most money into the campaign.

          • Posted by Dave

            There are more renters in the state and many are facing huge rents – especially along the coastal area. That said, you are correct. Money for mailings and get-out-the-vote will be critical for tenants groups pushing this. Will the Democratic party give them a spot on their mailers and put a big effort into get-out-the-vote pushes? That will be a key factor as surely the opposition to this from builders’ and landlord groups and well funded GOP types will have beaucoup bucks to spend. Think the initiative on Mission Rock a few years back.

          • Posted by Dave

            Also, if it makes the November 2018 ballot one needs to factor in the huge Blue wave that is expected because of anti-Trump sentiment in the country. Trump is a landlord/realtor. It is not directly related to this potential initiative, but there could be a tick up in support for the inactive because of that.

          • Posted by two beers

            Unfortunately for renters, they don’t vote as often as property owners, and when they do, they are less likely to vote in their own self-interest than property owners. Both of which factors can be partly attributed to the influence of the mainstream media, for reasons I’m sure I don’t need to explain, but which most readers here would take righteous umbrage with nevertheless.

          • Posted by two beers

            Most Democrat politicians are property owners, so they tend to side with Repubs on property issues, and I wouldn’t be surprised if California Dem pols gather even more money per capita from the RE industry than the official Party of Property pols across the aisle.

          • Posted by Dave

            True about Dem pols. Wonder why it is so hard to build affordable housing near Telegraph Hill. I’d guess the initiative will fail. The better option is the legislature. They are one vote away in committee. A better option, initiative-wise, would be a mandated statewide affordable component (say 25%) on major new residential construction. Mandating it at the city level allows developers to go across the city boundaries and build no affordable units.

          • Posted by SFrentier

            Oh Dave, you totally misrepresented the vote on 1506 as anon rightly called you out on. NOW you’re misrepresenting key CA stats. There are MORE homeowners than renters in CA. Statewide that is truth my friend!

            And 2beers also corrected your landlords = GOP fantasy. If the tenant groups have the money to collect the necessary signatures, I’m quite confident that this thing will not get the popular vote for two key reasons. One, homeowners will vote against it in droves. Two, I don’t think the Democratic Party will highlight and support this measure. Sure some local fringe cities will, but statewide I don’t think so.

            This issue is effectively dead. 1- it didn’t even make it out of committee for 2-3 tries now. 2- it will not win in ballot. 3- rents are stabilizing/going down, so impetus to “do something” will wane. Just go out and smoke a joint and let landlords manage their affairs and all will be well under the California sun ?

          • Posted by anon

            PPIC surveys indicate that about 68% of “frequent voters” in CA are homeowners. And lots of renters do not like rent control. So you’d need some freakish confluence of renters flocking to the polls and turning toward rent control for this to pass, assuming it even gets the signatures to qualify for the ballot. As others note, I certainly wouldn’t make any investment decisions based on this long-shot hypothetical development. Rent control might (and has) spread a tiny bit at various local levels, but the statewide overturning of Costa-Hawkins ain’t likely to happen any time soon. And, of course, rent control appears to lead to generally higher rents in the long-term (as supply is constrained), so it’s not clear this hypothetical development would have the impact many assume.

      • Posted by folderpete

        You are right to be concerned. While the owner/renter divide is 54/46 and declining. So, yeah, the demographics benefit tenants. However, AB1506 is dead. The Initiative may pass, but probably not this time.

        HOwever, give it a few years, with more housing being owned by hedge funds and corp. groups, the ‘absentee landlord’ profile may be filled just around the corner.

        However, land lording IS a business, and is poised to benefit from the new tax law. Specially with the limit on mort & RE tax deduction limits for SFH owners. So, the stage is being set. And it may get as ugly in CA as it is in SF.

        • Posted by Dave

          Exactly. I’m concerned at a more generic level as I exchanged out of California 3 plus years ago. But it could get ugly and landlords getting breaks homeowners do not, per the new tax law, will aggravate that as you say.

  2. Posted by Notcom

    So am I reading that correctly that SF peaked in 15Q4 but Oakland peaked only in mid-2016? What became of the “everyone knows ‘fact'” – so maybe it’s more like a theory – that Oakland rises last and falls first?

  3. Posted by GR

    Rents are still too high . Also a lot of new apartment buildings are smart to cover up the added costs when they advertise

  4. Posted by SFLandlord

    The averages may sound high but people can find rentals for significantly less than these dollar amounts.

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