Having dropped to a two-year low at the end of last year, the average asking rent for an apartment in Oakland has since ticked down another 4 percent to around $2,300 per month, which is 11 percent lower than at the same time last year, over 13 percent lower than prior to the pandemic having hit, and 22 percent below its 2016-era peak of nearly $3,000 a month, with the average asking rent in San Francisco having dropped even more, none of which should catch any plugged-in readers by surprise.

At the same time, 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, is now hovering around 30 percent, with the average asking rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Oakland currently holding around $2,000 a month versus $2,900 in San Francisco, with the number of apartments listed for rent in Oakland still 30 percent higher than at the same time last year, with 50 percent more studios and one-bedrooms on the market and local employment trending down, facts that aren’t “bearish” or “pessimistic” in nature, despite the rationalizations of some, but key to accurately forecasting rents, property values and development trends.

As always, keep in mind that our analysis of the rental markets in Oakland and San Francisco is based on over 250,000 data points going back two decades, not simply a couple of years nor “recollections,”, that we maintain, normalize and index on a monthly basis.  We’ll keep you posted and actually plugged-in.

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