San Francisco, CA

As San Francisco Moves To Red Tier, Rents Are Rising

Amancay Tapia

Image by free-photos from Pixabay

On Wednesday, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Napa resumed indoor dining and other activities as the counties moved to the less restrictive red tier.

They joined San Mateo and Marin, which last week became the first in the Bay Area counties to leave the purple tier since the disastrous winter wave.

And whereas the future is finally starting to look a bit more bright after a long lockdown that finally saw the the city reopening many business yesterday, those who are looking to rent an apartment in San Francisco, should consider doing it sooner rather than later while the prices are still lower than usual in the nation’s most expensive city.

The latest report by Apartment List- which aims to provide the most accurate rent estimates available in the 50 states using median rent statistics from the Census Bureau-shows that rents in San Francisco are once again on the rise.

If 2020 brought unprecedented shifts in the U.S. rental market, due to the coronavirus pandemic that led to a mass migration of renters out of high-cost-of-living areas into cheaper neighbouring markets. The trends are now slowly but steadily reversing.

According the report, renting prices in the city have increased 1.2% between January and February. A year ago, they actually dropped 26%. Currently, the median rent for one-bedroom apartment is $2,100.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Since the pandemic started, prices gradually dropped but now, not even 3 months into 2021, and the rental market is seeing signs that prices are increasing as renters in expensive markets are no longer leaving and new renters are moving in.

The report also shows that other Bay Area cities saw even bigger increases than San Francisco, for example, Berkeley’s month-over-month rent jumped 3.2% from January to February for a median one-bedroom rent of $1,630.

It was during last summer, that San Francisco apartment vacancy rates doubled and prices plummeted. The new data on Apartment List’s shows a shift that will continue as more people will return coinciding with the gradual lifting of restrictions.

The Apartment List data is slightly different to that of other reputable listings sites such as Zumper, which produces rental reports by analysing date from over 1 million active listings across the country.

Nevertheless, both sites show that rental price decreases are slowing or reversing in San Francisco and nationally, so after a downward trend, 2021 will see the rental market possibly going back to pre-pandemic prices.

In the rest of the United States, Apartment List report shows that rental prices are also rebounding. Prices rose in February faster than they usually do and rent growth from January to February rose 0.7%, as opposed to an average of 0.3% growth of previous years.

The report clearly shows that the days of lower rent prices in pricey San Francisco, will soon be over. Not only that, according to the report, it is cities such as San Francisco and Seattle the ones experiencing “positive month-over-month growth for the first time since the start of the pandemic”.

Good news for property owners who have been wishing for a surge in the prices of the properties they have for rent, but not so for renters.

The “Housing crisis” is still very real in a city where renting or buying is so extremely expensive that even a full time worker with an average wage, has many difficulties paying for rent and many can no longer afford living in the city.

As a result many small businesses have trouble when it comes to hiring much needed hospitality or retail staff.

Housing costs should be reasonable for everyone to thrive, which is not possible if people are squeezed by housing costs on a monthly basis.

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