Having suddenly dropped 4 percent in September to its lowest level in a year, the average asking rent for an apartment in Oakland has since dropped another 3 percent to $2,400 per month, which is 7 percent lower than at the same time last year, 10 percent lower than prior to Covid, nearly 20 percent below its 2016-era peak and the lowest average asking rent in two years, none of which should catch any plugged-in readers by surprise.

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 just ticked back up to…34 percent, with the average asking rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Oakland having just slipped back under $2,100 a month versus back under $3,000 in San Francisco.

At the same time, the number of apartments listed for rent in Oakland continues to climb and is now 30 percent higher than at the same time last year, as are increasing inventory levels in San Francisco, with nearly 50 percent more studios and one-bedrooms on the market and local employment down, facts that aren’t “bearish” or “pessimistic” in nature but key to understanding and forecasting actual, versus AspIrational, trends in rents, values and development returns.

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.

13 thoughts on “Asking Rents in Oakland Just Dropped to a Two-Year Low”
  1. Weird, it’s as if people do not want to be mugged, shot, carjacked or worse…. Or live in a wasteland of closed and boarded up businesses….

    1. But what’s even wierder is that they seemed quite willing to do so a few years ago. And perhaps weirdest of all, is that developers in the past decade have built thousands of units of housing there, pushing up the supply. It’s almost as if Oakland is – you know – an integral part of the Bay Area and affected by the same forces as other cities here. I know: Crazy Talk!

      1. Oh I see, that explains why rents are down in Palo Alto too. See it’s the Bay Area, not the insane politics of Oakland in the last 4-5 years.

        1. 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 just ticked back up to…34 percent
          Perhaps the author boldfaced that for a reason? When the differential becomes significantly higher than it was – not exactly the same – get back to us.

        1. Yep, whether it’s SF, Oakland or nationwide, there isn’t that much more crime than before. It’s that there’s so much more social media now to actually see it, and everyone was stuck at home for two years watching it.

          1. Right, also don’t believe your own eyes, everything is fine and will come back. Those pesky things called statistics that show a huge increase in crime, carjackings, etc. are nothing but mirages, it’s just because people were stuck at home. Makes perfect sens

          2. Local politicians running for re-election can be reductionist. They try to reduce crime statistics down to one data point, like murder rate, and then say its not that different from other year. But quality of life crimes have exploded that directly affect real estate values. Such as homeless takeover of public spaces, illegal dumping of trash, vandalism, broken windows, graffiti and defacing of properties, open air drug use and dealing, shoplifting, organized looting, smash and grabs, car break-ins, open solicitation of prostitution, more.

        2. Everyone would…or would if that’s the point I was making. But it wasn’t; my points were:
          1) Oakland has long had a serious crime problem
          2) It seems to have little to to do with rents or people’s willingness to live there. In fact, as the quotation (above) shows the differential to SF dropped from pre-Pandemic to 2021, at the very time the homide rate soared.

      1. Curiously, considering the context, it looks like I’m living rent-free in your head. Btw, the plumbing is clogged. I need a mop and plunger, fast.

        1. if there are a surplus of plungers in the area compared to the amount of heads that need plunging, do we think the prices of plungers will increase or decrease over time?

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