The weighted average asking rent for an apartment in San Francisco, including one-off rentals as well as units in larger developments, has inched up to around $4,280 per month, which is roughly 1 percent above its mark at the same time last year but still 4 percent below its peak in the fourth quarter of 2015, with the average asking rent for a one-bedroom in the city having just dropped to around $3,600 a month.

At the same time, the weighted average asking rent for an apartment in Oakland has inched up to around $2,625 a month, which is roughly 3 percent higher versus the same time last year but still 10 percent below its peak in the second quarter of 2016, with the average asking rent for a one-bedroom holding at around $2,200 a month (which is 39 percent less expensive than in San Francisco versus 40 percent less expensive at the same time last year).

Keep in mind that our trends analysis is based on pricing data from over 3,100 past and current apartment listings in San Francisco and Oakland combined and for which the “weighted average” apartment totals 2.4 bedrooms when counting a studio as having one.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Notcom

    And at this rate of convergence, Oakland will surpass SF in only 26 years…

  2. Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

    Bouncing up and down, month to month, but remaining below the 2015 peaks. There is a good chance SF’s population will start its decline during 2019. And parts of the Bay Area as well. A prolonged phenomena? Quite possibly and one that bodes well for keeping a long-term lid on rents and could bring further drops – bodes well, that is, if you are a middle class renter in the Bay Area.

    The Guardian had an article just this week about how techies more and more “hate” San Francisco – a city the article notes that they transformed into what they are disillusioned with. The bad press SF is getting of late is another factor that will put a damper on the boom that has recently experienced.

    • Posted by Panhandle Pro

      We’re building more housing than at any point in the last ten years (per a Socketsite report on June 18th), tech continues to do extremely well with multiple IPOs this spring (new cash on hand for companies = new job openings), and rents are slightly down from 2015-2016…yet *this* is the year that SF’s population starts declining? I’d love to hear a more complete rationale as to why you think that’s the case, because it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

      • Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

        We’re building more housing than in the past decade, but still less than in the four decades prior to that. Current building “boom” would not impress construction workers of the 1970s.

      • Posted by Tipster

        “new cash on hand for companies = new job openings”.

        They had unlimited cash before their IPOs, but few demands for profits. That will change.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      Dave has been suggesting that SF’s population is about to start declining for a long, long time. It’s possible! Not likely, but anything is possible.

    • Posted by Scott F

      That article was the same worthless clickbait pablum that gets recycled every couple months. The transformation of San Francisco has nothing to do with tech workers, and everything to do with Prop 13, the Ellis Act, the 1970s series of downzonings, and Calvin Welch’s toxic effect on progressive housing discourse in the City.

      Some San Franciscans who moved here to work in tech are snobbish, out-of-touch jerks, true. So are plenty of born and raised San Franciscans. Substituting this culture-war nonsense for a real interrogation of the City’s and Bay Area’s problems is the worst kind of tabloid sensationalism.

      • Posted by observant neighbor

        Hear hear!

      • Posted by Oakland lover

        Well said!

      • Posted by Mark

        +1 Thank you

      • Posted by Anonymous

        Nailed it.

      • Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

        It’s more than click bait. SFGate just had an article about The Landing’s (new apartments) tacky ad promising to keep the sidewalks “poop free” in the area and assuring potential tenants the homeless problem is far away from the new apartment complex. Also, the NYT saw fit to send a crew to SF recently to find the dirtiest urban street. They decided it was Hyde (believe it was the 300 block). SF boosters should be pushing back hard on the City PTB to clean the filth up rather than soft pedal that the situation exists.

        • Posted by Anonymous

          You’re not actually supporting your continued cherry-picking with any evidence. You understand that, right?

          Some NYT team arbitrarily selecting a street in the only city they even visited to “find the dirtiest urban street in America” is laughable nonsense. The streets directly east of Citi Field in Queens literally aren’t even completely paved and have car parts strewn about. Streets in Detroit have pot holes deep enough to function as foxholes and abandoned furniture and cars laying around. The list goes on all over the country, in urban, suburban, and rural places alike.

          It is pathetically uncritical, unrigorous, and definitely unscientific to pretend like intentionally poorly researched anecdotes are bulletproof fact. Lying and engaging in dishonest hyperbole to make a point is a bad way to make a point.

          • Posted by Backtotheburbs

            We don’t have potholes or unpaved streets? Time to crawl out of your hole … also cherry picking doesn’t work for rationale arguments right?

            FYI NY population also declining noticeably.

            When you combine extreme cost of living with degrading quality of life for the average person, the good times are over.

            Beyond money and tech SF seems to have lost its clout politically and culturally. Neighbors to the north and south and beyond taking up the slack very efficiently.

            Of note, even if population doesn’t decline per se but simply gets replaced with new greedy transplants only here for a bit to apply riches won here elsewhere, it is clear the Bay is much worse off year to year. The libertarian and faux liberal stench is getting unbearable …

            KD is right 🙂

          • Posted by SFRealist

            By “libertarian and faux liberal” I assume you mean “pure capitalism”.

            Our demand is driven by capitalism, not politics.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            And how is SF losing political influence considering the Speaker of the House, governor of California, and both US Senators are from here? Has SF’s political influence ever been higher?

    • Posted by Anonymous

      You have repeatedly made the completely unsubstantiated claim that SF’s population will decline. Cite some evidence. Until then, try making even just the tiniest effort to stop cherry-picking information and representing your evidence-free opinions as fact.

      [Editor’s Note: Population Growth of San Francisco Really Slows Its Roll]

      • Posted by Anonymous

        Slowing population growth (key word being GROWTH) is not population decline.

      • Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

        Hardly unsubstantiated. It is simply following the trends. The January 2018 figure was revised down by 3063. If the January 2019 figure is revised down by the same amount (and given the trends that is likely) then the population of SF on January 2019 was less than it was on January 2018. This is why it is not a stretch to expect to see the beginnings of a decline in SF’s population this year.

        • Posted by Anonymous

          You just admitted that your assertion is false and not supported by documented evidence. The last time SF’s population dropped year-over-year was ’04-’05, part of a very small decrease stretching from ’02-’05. The last time the population dropped long term — i.e. over the course of a 10-year census period — was between 1970 and 1980… 40 years ago.

          “It simply follows trends” is the cry of mathematical illiteracy and general ignorance of demographic patterns, which are neither linear nor static. The census estimated population was 805,235 in 2010. In 2018 it was 883,305. By your own line of ‘reasoning’, that means the population will be 902,823 in 2020. After all, that math “is simply following the trends”.

          • Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

            My “projection” is based on the recent trend – not 1970or 1980. SF population growth peaked in 2012 at 1.7% and has been dropping steadily since then. Carrying that trend through 2019 leads to the plausible notion that SF’s population will drop this year. The net domestic out-migrations has been offset in SF and in California by robust immigration from other countries. That offset is getting smaller and California may start losing population. This is a statewide trend with projections for California’s growth in coming years to be less than the national average. A macro shift is going on as some have pointed out with new robust metros outpacing mature metros such as SF and LA. This is surely a mid-term trend and may well be a long term one.

        • Posted by Anonymous

          And it should endlessly be reiterated that you’ve made these assertions of population decline for years and the documented evidence proving your predictions wrong continues to pile up. It’s like listening to a doomsday cult that keeps pushing back the date of armageddon, each time coming up with a new and increasingly implausible excuse for why they got it wrong.

          • Posted by statistician

            Even a broken clock….
            People are leaving. The trend is recent and accelerating.

          • Posted by Anonymous

            Out-migration is only part of the equation. It does not represent total net population change. The question isn’t whether or not people leave in general, will continue to leave, will leave in higher numbers, or vice versa for any of those. The question is what is happening to the total population of the city, which is still increasing, even if only slowly. Over the current census period it has increased significantly.

            Might it decrease over the course of a year or a decade at some point? Yeah, maybe. But to assert, or even imply that there is any long term downward trend occurring is intellectually dishonest and counter-factual. There also isn’t hard evidence (read: information that isn’t just opinion or guesswork) that the long term population trend is down. None of that is controversial or difficult to understand.

        • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

          From yesterday, Bay Area renters looking to flee high prices aren’t looking far:

          An analysis released this month…found Bay Area renters looking to move are searching other local cities far more often than out-of-state tech hubs like Seattle, Portland or Austin, Tex. Bay Area renters…mostly want to stay in the Bay Area. “There’s certainly turnover, and there’s certainly folks looking to leave,” he said. But, he added, most often high rents are “driving people more to the outer limits of the region.”

          Emphasis added.

      • Posted by Notcom

        The problem is really more the “sowhat?”ness of population decline. Most American cities lost population for decades after WWII, but what all the hand-wringing failed to differentiate was the difference between decline due to shrinking household size and decline due to household abandonment (i.e. the diff b/w SF or Oakland or NYC and Detroit or Camden).

        And much the same can be said going forward: if population decline is due to 10 (unrelated) person households becoming 8(unrelated) person households, it’s different than being due to properties becoming second or third houses, and much different still than housing being torn down and not replaced.

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