In May, San Francisco’s median rent prices across several online rental platforms hit all-time highs, as one unfortunate milestone after another fell. Now that June numbers have been released, the story remains the same with May records broken on at least three of the rental platforms.
The only consolation is that, by and large, the month-over-month rent hikes were relatively small.
For the third time in 2019, the median price of a one-bedroom San Francisco home on Zumper broke the site’s all-time record, creeping up to $3,720 per month in June. The previous record highs were $3,700 (in both May and April) and before that, $3,690 per month in March.
In the nearly five-year history of Zumper’s monthly price assessments, the median cost of an SF apartment on the site has never dipped below $3,100. That figure hasn’t dropped below $3,400 since December 2017.
The new June high is a 6.28 percent year-over-year appreciation—this time last year, the Zumper median was $3,500 per month. The site’s nationwide average in June was $1,220 per month.
The last time Zumper’s SF prices approached current prices was in October 2015 when, after rising month over month for seven straight months, they hit a then all-time high of $3,670.
But medians nose-dived after that period, never breaking the $3,600-per-month mark again until October of last year. So far, Zumper’s median SF price has not declined month over month a single time in 2019.
Apartment List barely moved the needle in June, with SF’s median rent on a single-bed apartment up less than 0.1 percent—that is to say, the price rose one dollar, from $2,470 to $2,471.
Suffice to say this is not an all-time high on Apartment List, but it’s close: The current record was $3,040 in September 2017, the only time the SF figure cracked $3,000 on the site since Apartment List began reporting median rents in 2014. It is a 1.27 percent appreciation year over year, though; in June of 2018, a similar SF home averaged $2,440 on the site.
Rent Cafe won’t release its June figures until midway through July. But May provided another comically modest hike in the median price of an SF home, up $1 to $3,648 per month on this site. Although that comes out to a hefty 5.64 percent rise year over year.
As with Zumper, this is the highest figurer ever recorded for the city on this site, but that’s a far shallower pool from which to draw; Rent Cafe only began reporting monthly rent figures in late 2016.
Unlike the other platforms, Rent Cafe does not rank SF’s rents as the highest in the nation because the site breaks down the borough of New York City as separate markets, and thus Manhattan’s soaring $4,000-plus median always takes the top spot, nudging SF to number two.
Abodo’s national tally for June finds “weakness in one-bedroom units” nationwide, but, sadly, this conclusion doesn’t affect San Francisco where the median rose again to an eye-popping $3,959 per month.
Last month, the median came in at $3,882. One year ago, it was $3,440. Continuing an unsettling trend, this is highest SF figure that Abodo has ever produced—it’s also the first time Adobo has ever cracked $3,900 for the city.
Before this year, Adobo’s highest record was $3,846 in September of last year. But it’s important to note that the platform’s archive only goes back two years to January of 2017.
As always, these figures do not represent the actual median rent in the city, which includes older units, rent-controlled homes, and other housing stock that rarely appear on rental sites. According to the U.S. Census, the average SF renter paid $1,709 per month in 2017 (the most recent year for which the census furnishes a figure).
These are, however, the prices that new renters (either new to the city or relocating from a longtime rental) will face attempting to rent a new home.