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San Francisco rents finish 2017 by rising, breaking our hearts

Holiday headache for rent watchers

Dark clouds over a San Francisco pier. Photo by Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH

In December of 2016, popular apartment listing platforms reported that sky-high San Francisco rents had declined during the year, seemingly an early Christmas miracle for beleaguered renters.

Alas, winter has come again. And with it a more chilling December verdict, as the same sites tell us that, in spite of hopes and dreams and secret late night wishes on stars, rents dashed dreams by rising over the course 2017.

  • First, rental site Zumper reports this week that a single-bed apartment in San Francisco runs an average of $3,390/month, up 1.8 percent year over year, or about $60 in currency terms. However, two-bedroom apartments on the site declined by 2.7 percent since last year.
  • ApartmentList contends that prices rose 1.3 percent year over year. At face value the present $2,350 for a single bed looks like a decline from last year’s number, but that’s because ApartmentList changed its reporting methodology this year. The company assures us that prices did in fact rise. Hrumph.
  • RENTCafe releases its figures roughly one week after the other sites, so its present $3,420 number is from a November report. That’s down year over year—by all of 0.2 percent. Even worse, it’s just a statistical blip caused by the site’s irregular reporting schedule; RENTCafe’s November 2016 report featured an SF average $30 cheaper.

[Correction: RENTCafe actually has released more recent figures, showing rents up 1.1 percent year over year.]

Photo by jshultz
  • Abodo doesn’t have a year-over-year comparison figure, since until recently its monthly rent report only featured select cities based on big changes. Its latest figure of $3,253 is way down since January, dropping a shocking $300. But of course, comparing November to January isn’t even close to year over year, so this one only counts if we cheat. Yeesh.
  • By way of a control, the average for a single bedroom on Craigslist this week is about $3,095.

These are not the final figures for the year, of course, but they are the last figures most sites will release in 2017, which makes a hard landing.