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Pandemic Cools San Francisco's Red Hot Rental Market

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) - Rent prices are dropping in pricey San Francisco while the suburbs remain steady. The City is still the priciest place for rentals, but that may not be the case for long.

New numbers were released from Zumper, the apartment search site, which show rent prices continue to decrease in many parts of the Bay Area due to the pandemic.

Zumper will release its official numbers on Thursday. They reveal San Francisco is seeing double-digit percentage drops year-over-year in the August numbers and significant decreases in other parts of the Bay Area.

"We saw prices going down weekly honestly," said Abhishek Kundy, who recently moved to San Francisco.

Kundy found a 3-bedroom in Pacific Heights for $4895. That was $1000 less than the listing price, plus a free month.

"The inventory is stacking up because there's so little demand. Units that would usually go in 2-to-4 weeks are still around," said JJ Panzer of the Real Management Company.

"Now we have this deflationary spiral and everyone's wondering if the prices will be even less if they continue to wait," said Panzer.

In San Francisco, the cost of a 2-bedroom rental has dropped an additional 3% month over month, and 12.1% year over year. In San Jose, it's down 5.7% year over year, but Oakland has seen a 6.6% increase.

"The biggest declines are Mountain View, Menlo Park, and Santa Clara [where] one-bedrooms are down about 16%," said Crystal Chen of Zumper.

A couple of months ago, Panzer says many tenants were getting 1 month-free rent in exchange for an extension of the lease.

"The one month free rent isn't enough and I'm finding myself just having to negotiate for lower rents in order from keeping people from moving out or to just get people to sign a lease," said Panzer.

"It's a renter's market right now. Ask questions and it's OK to make some sort of demands, right now, because there's so many units available," said Ricardo De Anda, who moved recently from Oakland to San Francisco.

In Sacramento, August numbers show 1 and 2 bedroom rent prices have increased more than 10% year over year.

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