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San Francisco Rent Report: We've Dropped to the Second Most Expensive City In America

Also, the sheer terror of being a renter in Oakland

Stop the presses: San Francisco is finally cheaper than New York again.

According to a single apartment listing site, that is, and by a margin of only $40, and only for a one bedroom place. And that still puts us as the second most expensive city in America.

Alas, it’s still not exactly manna from heaven for renters looking for relief. And since nobody else agrees, it’ll be a while before we see if ApartmentList was fooled by their sample or are ahead of the curve.

Still, after so many consecutive years on top of every ranking, it’s downright shocking to see the city slip to number two on even one rubric.

ApartmentList’s autopsy of the national rental market in June records a median price of $3,460/month for a single bedroom in the city, and $4,650/month for two. That’s no change from the previous month, but it’s down 1.5 percent from last year. Singled beds in New York are $3,500 on ApartmentList.

However. Competing rental site Zumper has no such good news when juxtaposing us with New York. We are comparing quite favorably to ourselves lately, ,though. While we’re still the priciest city in Zumper’s books, with a citywide median of $3,510 for one bed, that’s a 2.2 percent drop from last month and from last quarter.

It’s also only a measly $10 over Zumper’s city median of a year ago, meaning that we’ve basically broken even from the madhouse of 2015’s all-time highs. Compare this to the dizzying situation in Oakland, up 13.5 percent year over year, to $2,270.

For context, the median Zumper rent for San Jose is now $2,280. Yes, it costs basically the same fee to rent in Oakland as in San Jose these days. Savor the terror of that realization for a moment.

Real estate site Trulia records that rent prices on its listing are flat across all properties in June, and down significantly for one bedroom homes, to $2,900. Rental search engine RentJungle, on the other hand, says that prices went through the roof in June, now averaging $7,054 for a one bed apartment.

But since that’s double what the site reported last month, and would be the highest median in the history of the United States by many thousands of dollars, we can safely conclude that RentJungle has just lost its mind for the time being and check back on them in a week or two.

So, although sources don’t quite agree, and the good news is guarded at best, after months of gradual flattening we can finally say with some authority that rents have significantly dropped in San Francisco. Applause is encouraged.

Any break from the tension is nice, but the question is: Will things keep going down? We’ve got 26 days left in July to find out. Start counting.


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