The average asking rent for an apartment in Oakland, which had ticked up in August, suddenly dropped 4 percent in September to $2,475 per month, which is over 5 percent lower than at the same time last year, nearly 8 percent lower than prior to Covid, 17 percent below its 2016-era peak and the lowest average asking rent in over a year, with the average asking rent in San Francisco still holding at $3,600 per month (which is 12 percent lower than prior to the pandemic and 19 percent below its 2015-era peak).

As such, the relative discount in asking rents between Oakland and San Francisco, which had dropped from around 34 percent prior to the pandemic to 24 percent in the first quarter of 2021, has ticked back up to 31 percent, with the average asking rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Oakland having dropped back under $2,200 a month (versus closer to $3,000 in San Francisco).

Our analysis of the rental market in San Francisco and Oakland is based on over 200,000 data points going back two decades, not just a few years, that we maintain, normalize and index on a monthly basis. We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

18 thoughts on “Asking Rents in Oakland Drop, Lowest in Over a Year”
  1. I think SF will be fine, but I’m truly worried about Oakland. SF has a tourist industry to defend, a corporate/office/conference industry to defend, and an increasingly loud political base both in the Asian community as well as tech industry which will keep SF politically moderate and focused on the right things. SF has multiple major medical centers and recently added both the NBA and WNBA. Oakland has none of those things and their politicians are in over their head. I’m worried that homelessness and crime will worsen there and they don’t have the political will to stop it. Emeryville and Walnut Creek also soak up a significant amount of commerce activity meant for Oakland. I’m bearish on Oakland in a big way right now.

    1. “which will keep SF politically moderate and focused on the right things.”
      🙂 🙂

      Had me goingthere for a few seconds!!
      But all kidding aside, there’s actually been an increase in political activism here in the Asian Community; should be interesting to see how it plays out.

      1. Between Asian community, the tech community and the rich-white-people-in-Pac-Heights community, along with the legacy hippies of the Haight cycling out, shall we say, I see SF as being a far more moderate city than in the past now and in coming years. Needing to fight for corporations to stay or conferences to be held, rather than just banking on it, is another factor.

          1. They are a renewable resource. They start in the flats of the Marina and move up the hill to breed. Young hippies, on the other hand, can no longer afford SF and are more likely to land in Oakland where they can save 31% per this post.

          2. But will the newsters have the same esprit-de-ville as those they replace ?? One of the tender memories of Difi – no not the one from years ago when her recommendation for making the cityCity safer was to “go dump your guns in Oakland” – was how she stopped her limo to complain about a curbside mattress; contrast this with a story from more recently, fretting over dwindling support for mainstays like the Opera and Symphony, in which some overwell-compensated twentysomething said she was too busy for that b/c she had to build a slide for Burning Man. Uhmm..
            It’s not that I don’t think Oakland has …issues; OTC as someone who lives there , and has for 50+ years, I’m all-too-well aware of them. It’s that your insistence that SF will magically escape all of theirs seems current-events challenged. You’ve been beating this tom tom all year, so Ill give you consistency on messaging, but as the bad news keeps piling up, louder doesn’t equate to more convincing.

          3. I think he’s saying he wants replacements to be people who don’t have any civic spirit — or at least a significantly more right-wing conception of it than those described in his comment above — and are more like those who think the only measure of a vibrant, desirable city is one which maximizes the opportunities for people with a gold rush mentality to increase their personal wealth while they live here and then leave with their “winnings” for lower tax pastures such as Florida or Texas. People like Peter Thiel.
            And of course, that would increase turnover of homes here, which would benefit the flippers, real estate agents and other hangers-on who are seeking to to make their fortune in the S.F. real estate “game”.

          4. There’s actually an article which reflects what PP is claiming. So, again, the idea isn’t crazy. It’s just that the fact-free presentation, with the usual shills likely injuring themselves in a rush to endorse it, that was counterproductive.

            As Lincoln might have mused: better to remain silent and be thought a navel-gazing cheerleader than blog and leave no doubt.

    2. agree i think Oaklnad might actually be in a doom spiral. too much at stake in SF and moderates are waking up. once the police and DA toughen up, criminal will stop coming from oakland to SF to committ crimes and do it there.

      1. • The shortfall for the coming fiscal year (FY 2023-24) is forecast to grow to $290.9 million, or
        $90.1 million higher than our last projection.
        • In the upcoming two fiscal years, the period for which the City is required to adopt a balanced
        two-year budget, our offices now project a $779.8 million shortfall, or $51.5 million more than
        the deficit of $728.3 million projected in the January report.
        • Structural shortfalls in later years of our projection are also rising, growing to $1,319.8 million by
        FY 2027-28
        , which is $95.6 million greater than the January projection
        (emphasis added)

        1. Inflation is hard for any entity funded significantly by property taxes in the presence of Prop. 13. Oakland’s assessed roll increased 6.8% this year which isn’t terrible—well ahead of inflation—but Emeryville, Berkeley, Alameda, and San Leandro all had larger increases which implies that Oakland is lagging in the right kinds of development. SFHs aren’t pulling their weight because in real dollars their property taxes have declined 2 years in a row, but SFHs occupy virtually all of the territory and therefore dominate the cost drivers like police and fire.

    3. Unfortunately for Oakland, the narrative is not good. Lost the Raiders, Warriors, and A’s in the last few years. San Fran has problems, yes, but nothing like the problems facing Oakland.

    1. Point taken, but it’s one more item on the list of things SF has/got that Oakland didn’t. There was talk for a while that Oakland would get the team, but no…

  2. If you paid me $2500/mth to live in Oakland, I still wouldn’t live there.
    Too much out of control crime and too far left policies. I see Oakland getting worse, (and SF hopefully getting better). Good to see all the Asian merchants striking a few wks back.

  3. Narrative violation! Shouldn’t real estate shills be lauding the decline in average asking rents as evidence that any city can just build its way out of the housing shortage by enabling more business opportunities for the the flippers, developers, and other hangers-on in the real estate “game” just like Oakland?

    From Rents in Oakland have fallen faster than anywhere else in the US for a simple reason: The city built more housing:

    Oakland, California is proving the laws of supply and demand are alive and well in the housing market…Rent prices for apartments in Oakland…dropped…over the last year, according to data…that marks the largest drop in rent prices in any of the US’s 100 largest cities… The decline is in large part due to a bunch of new housing hitting the market. The city built about 8,000 new homes over the last 10 years, helping ease its housing shortage. The city has also lost residents, after years of population growth. Over the last few years, Oakland had the fifth-highest rate of housing construction and the seventh-largest drop in population among California’s 73 largest cities. But even has the number of residents in Oakland has fallen, the number of occupied homes has increased, with fewer people occupying the average home…

    The decline in rents is a turnaround for the city, which has faced a serious housing affordability crisis in recent years as new residents flooded the city and housing construction didn’t keep pace. Rents rose by about 25% between 2015 and 2018 as home prices surged about 40%.

    The story goes on to laud a building “megaproject [that will] ultimately add 3,700 new homes” on land that was first purchased by its developer over twenty years ago.

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