Here’s the latest Zillow data showing just how far S.F. rents have fallen


Newly released rental market data has thrown San Francisco’s pandemic-driven rent decline into sharp relief, while showing the opposite trend in nearby Sacramento, as Northern Californians flee pricey urban regions for more affordable ones.

New Zillow data shows that San Francisco rent decreased by 9.2% between January 2020 and last month — or from $3,169 to $2,786, based on data that takes into account local housing types.

Zillow Observed Rent Index

Zillow Observed Rent Index

Zillow Economic Research

In nearby San Jose, rent decreased nearly as sharply — from $3,118 to $2,892, or -7.2%, over the same time period. The two cities’ average rent declines were especially sharp compared to the national average rent change, which actually showed a small increase – .5% – compared with last January.

Zillow Observed Rent Index

Zillow Observed Rent Index

Zillow Economic Research

Other data have shown a possible rebound for rents in San Francisco and San Jose: A Zumper report found rent in both cities increased slightly between December and January. But the report noted that it was still too early to tell whether these increases were part of a new upward trend — and the Zillow report does not reflect any such trend.

Zillow Observed Rent Index

Zillow Observed Rent Index

Zillow Economic Research

Other real estate websites such as Zillow and Apartment List have reported higher annual declines over 20% using different methodologies.

“Rents in many expensive, coastal metros are currently much lower than a year ago,” the Zillow report noted, citing the “lost shine of urban life” as the pandemic has left many restaurants, bars and other city attractions shuttered.

Some less pricey cities, on the other hand, saw the opposite effect: Sacramento’s rental prices increased by a full 7.6% during the pandemic, a change that could be partially explained by an influx of San Franciscans and other Bay Area residents.

Zillow Observed Rent Index

Zillow Observed Rent Index

Zillow Economic Research

Meanwhile, home sales prices told an entirely different story: both San Francisco and San Jose saw increases to their average prices based on Zillow data.

San Francisco’s home value index increased by 5.3%, from $1.12 million to $1.18 million. San Jose’s home index, meanwhile, shot up 14.2% from $1.15 million to 1.31 million, a sharper increase than the national average of 9.1%.

Coupled with flatlining or declining rent in expensive regions, soaring home prices in the Bay Area and elsewhere reflect the unequal effects of the pandemic, according to the Zillow report. Job losses and economic effects of the pandemic have been concentrated among renters, who tend to be less economically stable than people who can afford to buy homes.

“The divergence in trends between…



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