Having continued to inch down last month, the weighted average asking rent for an apartment in San Francisco appears to have bottomed at around $3,050 a month, down around 25 percent since the pandemic hit and nearly 32 percent below a 2015-era peak.

And with the average asking rent for a studio in the city holding at under $1,900 a month (which is down nearly 35 percent from peak), and the average asking rent for a one-bedroom having dropped to around $2,600 a month (which is down a little over 28 percent from peak), the absorption of vacant rental units in the city has accelerated over the past two weeks, with the net number of units listed for rent in San Francisco, including units in larger buildings as well as one-off rentals, having dropped around 15 percent and extending a key trend we highlighted last month.

That being said, listed inventory levels for apartments in San Francisco are still 50 percent higher than they were at the same time last year and twice as high as they were pre-COVID while the population has shrunk, which is likely to moderate a rebound in rents.

Keep in mind that our analysis of the rental market is based on a subset of over 100,000 listings going back going back to 2004 that we maintain, normalize and index on a monthly basis.  And as always, we’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by SF Property Manager

    From my anecdotal perspective (as a SF property manager), I have noticed a real shift over the last few weeks. I rented two units in the heart of the Castro this week almost immediately (2 days each on the market) without any concessions to out of state renters moving back to SF. These types of units took me much, much longer to rent at the end of 2020 (and required concessions to do so at the time).

    • Posted by Ken m

      And two renters in my building just moved out of state, one to Nashville, the other to up further in nor cal once his work authorized fulltime WFH.

      • Posted by thattechguy

        And.. as a landlord who runs 3 furnished units, I’m having my best year ever of bookings at highest prices.

        Picked up a new place in November when the sky was falling, and it’s up 250k. Hayes valley – a 1/1. New construction.

        • Posted by ExAgent

          “Picked up a new place in November when the sky was falling, and it’s up 250k. Hayes valley – a 1/1. New construction.”

          I’m calling b.s. Proof/links or ban.

          • Posted by rl

            They are running an illegal Airbnb hotel chain.

          • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

            Yeah. It’s not clear what “up 250k” means.

            Is that the projected value of all the discounted cash flows the property will produce from purchase until it’s sold or the increase in appraised value if the property was sold today? If you’re using “bookings”, it’s not clear (or at least to me, since I’m not familiar with illegal hotel managerial accounting).

          • Posted by thattechguy

            It’s pretty simple actually. Buy low, sell high.

            I’m not going to appease the negative trolls who have no idea what they’re doing listening to each other with my personal information, but I was hoping you would dig deeper with the evidence through the basic information. It’s not that big of a neighborhood guys – come on.

            Here are some more clues: new construction unit, hayes valley – developer reduced prices in Autumn, and raised prices in January. Identical unit right above me sold for 280k more in value. Don’t be lazy, spend some time doing some research if you want to make money.

            No short term stays.

            The bottom was in a while ago.

          • Posted by ExAgent

            Calling b.s. again. Max difference in sale price between two identically sized 1/1s in Hayes Valley over the past year is $34k.

          • Posted by inthemarket

            I think he meant 555 Fulton. During end of last year and beginning of this year, some 2 bed 2 bath are listed almost $200k less than what almost identical units sold for before…

            But I do not think prices have recovered that much yet.

          • Posted by question

            How does a 2/2 listed for $200k less than prior sales correspond to a 1/1 he claims sold for a $280k increase?

        • Posted by Al

          What is the best way to rent furnished units? I have a studio in Hayes Valley (built in 2016) that I’d love to rent furnished. Where do you list and what do you think 478 sqft might command $$$wise

  2. Posted by Notcom

    “our analysis of the rental market is based on a subset of over 100,000 listings going back going back to 2004”

    Aha! you admit it…cherry picking!!! A whole huge orchard of cherries. 🙂

  3. Posted by Bluntcard

    “Apartment Rents in San Francisco Appear to Have Bottomed”

    You gotta do what you gotta do to get them bills paid.

  4. Posted by Confier

    Wow. What a relief! I thought the sky was falling.

  5. Posted by James Wavro

    The exodus ended in January.

    We’ve removed about 30% of the excess inventory since November. However, the article is correct that we are still about double where we were the year before. The next year will be a year of absorption. It’ll be this time next year when you start to see an increase in pricing again. Until then the market remains soft.

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