Bay Area Rents See Summer Jump

Monday, July 3, 2017
Richard Scheinin
San Jose Mercury News

Not too long ago, Bay Area renters began to feel some relief. In the latter part of 2016, analysts described softening rents and, indeed, a plateau appeared to have emerged early this year.

But here we go again.

The cost of renting an apartment moved up in June across the region, according to a new analysis from ApartmentList.com, a website that tracks the national rental market.
Nationwide, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,150, up 2.9 percent from a year earlier.

Most Bay Area cities were about double that, or more.

Here are a few highlights from the report.

In San Jose, the median monthly cost of a one-bedroom flat was $2,050, while a two-bedroom went for $2,570. Month-over-month, that spelled a 1 percent increase, while the year-over-year increase was 2.2 percent.

In Oakland, a one-bedroom unit typically rented for $1,710 last month, a two-bedroom for $2,150. Month-over-month, the increase was 1.2 percent, while June rents were up 2.8 percent from the year before.

In San Francisco, a one-bedroom fetched $2,420 and a two-bedroom cost $3,040. There was a small boost of less than 1 percent on a month-over-month basis, but San Francisco’s rents actually were down slightly year-over-year, by just under 1 percent.

If any of these numbers come as a surprise, that’s because ApartmentList.com has altered its methodology “to provide more accurate rent estimates and avoid luxury bias in private listings,” explained Andrew Woo, data scientist for the website.

Its December report had indicated a median monthly cost of $4,550 for a two-bedroom flat in San Francisco and $2,500 for a two-bedroom in Oakland. Rents have not tumbled drastically in the time since, Woo explained. In fact, with the exception of San Francisco’s small year-over-year decrease, rents have increased across the region. The latest numbers, however, reflect the website’s adjustment in methodology.

Several other numbers jumped out of the report — for instance, one showing that a two-bedroom in Fremont ($3,550) cost more than one in San Francisco, another showing that a two-bedroom in Cupertino ($5,040) was pricier than similar apartments anywhere else in the region.

Woo explained: “In smaller cities, for example, Cupertino, rentals and neighborhoods tend to be more homogeneous, whereas in larger cities like Oakland rents vary more between neighborhoods, often resulting in lower median rents. Additionally, a two-bedroom in Fremont may be more spacious than a two-bedroom in San Francisco, resulting in a higher rent price.”

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