The weighted average asking rent for an apartment in San Francisco was unchanged over the past month, holding at around $3,600, which is 5 percent higher than at the same time last year but only 1 percent higher since the start of this year, 12 percent lower than prior to the pandemic and 18 percent below its 2015-era peak of nearly $4,500 a month, with the average asking rent for a one-bedroom in San Francisco holding at around $3,000 per month (which is only 2 percent higher than at the same time last year, 15 percent lower than prior to the pandemic, and 18 percent below peak).
At the same time, the number of apartments listed for rent in San Francisco ticked up 5 percent over the past month. And while there are 65 percent fewer apartments now listed in San Francisco than there were at the pandemic’s peak, there are over 10 percent more units listed than there were prior to the pandemic with the inventory of condos and single-family homes for sale across the city ticking up, sales down and the cost of capital having jumped.
As always, our analysis of the rental market in San Francisco is based on over 170,000 data points going back to 2004 that we maintain, normalize and index on a monthly basis, not simply a few years of data or recollections. We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.
Comments from Plugged-In Readers
Where are these data points coming from?
There are quite a few scams on a lot of these web sites that could skew the overall numbers. But sites such as craigslist are so integral for the rental market (does anyone know what percent of rented units are initiated from craigslist?) that they can’t be left out completely.
How do you filter out these scams and normalize the data?
And where are these “170,000 data points” coming from? I don’t see any sources listed.
Also, asking rents is not indicative of a rental market. What are the *actual* contractual rents (incl. incentives) in this current market?
With scams typically being lower (too good to be true), are you suggesting that average rents might actually be higher?
Average “asking” rents, yes it could skew higher. But it depends on the data points used (which is opaque in this context). If the data is coming from zillow or corporate property management rental sites, and not taking into consideration craigslist, which is typically more used by mom-and-pop landlords (and so rents would skew lower than corporate owned properties).
All of this reported data just leads to more questions than answers.
I don’t recall such price skepticism on these boards when the real estate bubble was inflating. It’s almost as if confirmation bias somehow induces epistemological inconsistency on the interrogator’s part..
As we’ve previously outlined, our database of listing data has excluded Craigslist postings, which tend to be too duplicative and onerous to verify in order to accurately trend, in favor of industry sources since 2015.
Keep in mind that corporate landlords compete with “mom-and-pop” landlords for tenants, it’s not a bifurcated market. And while you might quibble with our average asking rent in the absolute, our methodology is consistent and our trends analysis is absolutely correct, in terms of directionality and magnitude.
Which brings us back to the market and implications at hand…
Just anecdotes. I know people living in three large buildings in the Marina- two “large” corner buildings and one medium mid-block apartment building.
-Vacancies obviously down a lot from a couple years ago. But it is surprising how much turnover there still is. People who moved in a year ago, moving out, etc.
-Building have changed to attract tenants. e.g. a building that never allowed dogs, now allows pets and also did some repairs.
-That I know of, it’s impossible to figure out at scale the incentives people are getting.
Separate comment. CL is interesting. Many years ago, it went from reliable to being dominated by several apartment brokers who had the time to spam and dominate the listings. This effectively controlled the perception of what fair market rents were- driving them higher. I don’t follow it now to know if there are other more used sources.
Your first and second points seem to contradict each other…did you mean to say vacancies are up a lot??
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