Apartment rents in San Francisco and Silicon Valley are down over the last 12 months largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from Zumper, an apartment listing firm.
The median monthly rent for a two-bedroom San Francisco apartment is down 23 percent or about $1,000 since April 2020.
In San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, which make up most of Silicon Valley, the median monthly rents for a two-bedroom apartment dropped by 18 percent and 15 percent or $670 and $500 over the same period.
Two-bedroom apartments in San Francisco before the pandemic were renting for about $4,700 and in San Mateo County about $3,700.
Rents have dropped outside of the pricey Bay Area, too.
“Nationwide, we’ve seen a migration out of expensive rental markets to cheaper, neighboring areas this past year,” said Zumper analyst Neil Gerstein.
“This rings very true for the San Francisco Bay Area. Renters are seeing that the premium they paid in the Bay Area may not be worth it anymore if they’re not commuting to a downtown office,” Gerstein said.
Instead, data indicate renters moved to less expensive Bay Area locations, driving up rents in some places.
Median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Santa Cruz County went up 18 percent or nearly $450 in the past year to almost $3,000 a month, Zumper data show.
“There’s just so much demand right now,” Kathy Oliver, broker/co-owner of Oliver Property Management in Watsonville, said.
She said people are moving to the area because it’s so beautiful even though they work in the Bay Area.
“They’re looking for something more affordable and with more space,” Gerstein said.
San Francisco and Silicon Valley rents may not stay lower for long.
“We will likely see some increase in rents as the economy re-opens, though it’s too early to tell when rents will return to pre-pandemic levels,” said San Francisco’s chief economist Ted Egan.