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San Francisco apartment rents fall up to 31%, the biggest drop in the US

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San Francisco apartment rents plunge as much as 31%, the biggest drop in the US, while parts Oklahoma, Arizona and Texas see soaring demand

  • New data released on Tuesday shows apartment rental trends across the US
  • San Francisco saw the biggest drop, with studio rents down 31% from last year
  • Detroit, New York, and Seattle were also among the cities dropping fastest
  • Meanwhile, parts of Florida, Oklahoma, Arizona and Texas saw rents rise
  • It comes as mass exodus from major cities continues amid the pandemic 

By Keith Griffith For Dailymail.com

Published: | Updated:

Apartment rents in San Francisco have plunged by as much as 31 percent, more than anywhere in the nation, as a mass exodus from coastal megacities continues.

New data released by Realtor.com on Tuesday shows that studio apartment rents plunged by nearly a third in September from a year ago, with the median rent dropping to $2,285.

Detroit, New York City, and Seattle also made the top-10 list for the sharpest drops in studio apartment rents, all posting double-digit percentage declines.

In September, the median studio rent in Manhattan was $2,495, down 15.4 percent year-over-year. One-bedroom rents were $3,400, down 11.7 percent compared to last year. 

San Francisco in particular has seen a massive exodus in the past seven months, after undergoing one of the nation’s harshest lockdowns, and with many tech employers announcing extended or permanent remote working policies.

Smoke from wildfires sits over San Francisco in August. The city has seen the biggest drop in apartment rents, with median prices for a studio plunging 31% in September

Top 10 markets for studio apartment rent decreases

Rank and County 

1 San Francisco, CA

2 Wayne, MI (Detroit) 

3 Santa Clara, CA (San Jose) 

4 San Mateo, CA 

5 New York, NY

6 Honolulu, HI 

7 Allegheny, PA (Pittsburg) 

8 Middlesex, MA (Boston area) 

9 King, WA (Seattle) 

10 Alameda, CA (Berkeley/Oakland) 

Median rent and percent change 

$2,285 (-31.0%)

$886 (-23.0%)

$2,016 (-19.2%)

$2,100 (-17.6%)

$2,495 (-15.4%)

$1,400 (-14.9%)

$1,018 (-14.9%)

$2,066 (-14.8%)

$1,490 (-12.1%)

$2,153 (-12.1%)

Violent crime has also soared in that city and many others, with murders up 42 percent so far this year in San Francisco compared to the same period last year, according to SFPD data.

‘As renters continue adapting to the pandemic, many are seeking more affordable housing, job opportunities, and are perhaps opting for less-crowded neighborhoods,’ wrote economic analyst Nicolas Bedo.

‘Urban centers such as the Bay Area, Manhattan, Boston, Seattle, and Washington, D.C all saw the largest declines in rents compared to last year. These markets also represent some of the most expensive cities in the country, giving rents the most room to fall,’ Bedo added.

Meanwhile, rents are rising nearly as quickly, on a percentage basis, in parts of Oklahoma, Florida, Texas and Arizona, indicating a migration trend toward areas with lower density and lower taxes.

Tulsa, Oklahoma posted the largest increase in studio apartment rents for September, with median rent rising 36 percent from last year, to $775. 

Tulsa, Oklahoma (above) posted the largest increase in studio apartment rents for September, with median rent rising 36 percent from last year, to $775

Top 10 markets for studio apartment rent increases 

Rank and County 

1 Tulsa, OK

2 Hillsborough, FL (Tampa) 

3 Montgomery, PA (Philly suburbs)

4 Essex, NJ (Newark)

5 Pima, AZ (Tucson) 

6 Sacramento, CA 

7 Broward, FL (Ft. Lauderdale) 

8 Bexar, TX (San Antonio)

9 Baltimore, MD 

10 Cuyahoga, OH (Cleveland) 

Median rent and percent change 

$755 (36.0%)

$1,245 (28.4%)

$1,300 (20.0%)

$1,615 (19.2%)

$687 (18.5%)

$1,400 (16.2%)

$1,535 (13.9%)

$941 (13.4%)

$944 (11.3%)

$775 (11.2%)

Tucson, San Antonio and Tampa also made the top-10 list for the fastest growing studio rents in September, according to the county-level data.

Also seeing fast rises in rental prices were suburban areas just outside of major cities, including Tacoma, Washington, Newark, New Jersey and Worcester County, Massachusetts. 

‘This transition is likely in part to both affordability and a response to COVID-19, as more people seek out less crowded environments,’ Bedo wrote.

‘Renting in these spillover markets provides lower rents, more social distancing, and still allows for commuting if necessary.’

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1 Comment

  1. Great article, exactly right information of the median studio rent in Manhattan was $2,495, down 15.4 percent year-over-year.

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