San Francisco rents are up again, to an average of $3,458 a month in the first quarter of 2015, according to a report from Real Answers. That figure is less than 2% higher than it was last quarter, but more than 13% higher than rental figures from the first quarter of 2014.
But note that this report only looks at rentals in complexes with 50 or more units and averages asking rents in properties ranging from studios to three-bedrooms. Many San Francisco rental units are not located in buildings this large, and the ones that are tend to be in newer, amenity-laden complexes, which typically run a bit higher in rent.
Take, for example, the one-bedroom currently being offered at Venue in Mission Bay for $3,824 a month, according to a recent Craigslist post. (The 2013 building is featured in the slideshow above.)
The well-appointed apartment may be only 729 square feet, but it comes with luxe amenities not found in most older, smaller San Francisco apartment buildings—like a clubhouse, conference room, fitness center, twice monthly free cooking classes and on-the-go continental breakfasts on Friday mornings—which clearly contribute to the nearly $4,000 asking rent.
Even if the San Francisco figures tapped the higher end of the market, they were well within the norm throughout the Bay Area, where the overall average asking rents were $2,370, up 14.3% from the first quarter of 2014, according to the report.
In the nine-county Bay Area, Solano was the most affordable Bay Area county; rents there averaged $1,355 in the first quarter. Yet that still marks a 12.7% year-over-year rent increase. Napa County saw a slightly lower increase at 11% year over year, while Alameda County had the highest increase: 14.6%, according to the report. Alameda rents are soaring as people who get priced out of San Francisco cross the Bay Bridge, according to Nick Grotjahn, a spokesman for Real Answers who spoke to the Chronicle about the new report.
San Francisco does have has an estimated 50,600 housing units in all stages of development, but that figure includes properties for rent and purchase, including designated affordable housing. Grotjahn thinks the new housing is unlikely to have much of an impact, as long as employment figures remain strong.
“I think the pipeline of developments coming into the market is only going to mute demand, maybe slow it down a little bit,” Grotjahn told the Chronicle. A slowdown in job creation would almost certainly have an effect or “maybe it hits a saturation point, where people say, ‘I can’t live here anymore, I’m going to commute.’”
Credit: Emily Landes