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San Francisco Rents Tick Up for Second Month in a Row

Updated: Apr 7, 2021

  • Rents in San Francisco jumped 3.4% month-over-month in March 2021, the largest increase of any U.S. city and the second monthly increase in a row, according to Apartment List

  • Rather than a simple median rent, Apartment List combines U.S. census data with data from its own listings to build a market snapshot that may be more comprehensive

  • The month-over-month increase in San Francisco tracks with a nationwide trend of rents in coastal "superstar cities" beginning to rebound from steep declines last year

San Francisco rents ticked up for the second month in a row, suggesting the beginnings of a potential rebound in the local rental market.

Rents in San Francisco jumped 3.4% in March, representing the largest month-over-month increase of any U.S. city., according to Apartment List. Currently, median rents in San Francisco stand at $2082 for a 1-bedroom apartment, and are still down about 23% compared to a year ago.

Rather than simply tracking asking rents in its own listings—which skew towards larger or pricier multi-unit buildings—Apartment List's analysis uses annual U.S. census data, which tends to give a more comprehensive picture of what renters are paying, and layers in data from its listings to build a snapshot of monthly price increases.

"I feel pretty confident that we are seeing a rebound here," said Chris Salviati, a housing economist at Apartment List. "If we look nationwide at cities that have seen big rent drops...the coastal superstar cities, like San Francisco, New York City, and Seattle, all of these places are starting to see a rebound, so I feel pretty confident that this is a real trend."

San Francisco saw the steepest rent drops of any U.S. city last year, as thousands of residents decamped for Bay Area suburbs or left the region entirely as the pandemic took hold.

With vaccinations accelerating and businesses reopening, the uptick in rent suggests that people could be returning to San Francisco in greater numbers after a year of widespread migration.

A Public Comment analysis found that as many as 40,000 postal customers relocated to new addresses San Francisco between March and November 2020, but they were far outweighed by those moving out.

More than 50,000 postal customers, which could indicate an individual or a family, appear to have the City entirely during that time, while roughly 34,000 relocated to new homes within San Francisco.

Image by Jake Buonemani
Image by Rasmus Gundorff Sæderup

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