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San Francisco Studio Rents Down 31% Year-Over-Year As Pandemic Slump Continues

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Rents in parts of the Bay Area continued to see massive declines during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the cost of a studio in San Francisco down more than 30 percent compared a year ago.

According to, the median rent on a studio in San Francisco was at $2,285 / month in September, down 31%. Rents on one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments in the city were also down by double digit percentages. The median rent for a one-bedroom was $2,873 (down 24.2%), while the median rent for a two-bedroom was $3,931 (down 21.3%). The declines in San Francisco were the steepest in the country.

The rents are a far cry from just a year and a half ago, when the city made headlines after real estate website Zumper found the rent for a median one-bedroom reached an eye-watering $3,700 a month.

Steep decreases were also reported for apartments in neighboring San Mateo County and in Santa Clara County.

In San Mateo, median studio rents are down 17.6% for studios ($2,100 / month), down 12.5% for one-bedrooms ($2,466) and down 11% for two-bedrooms ($3,380). Meanwhile in Santa Clara, studios are down 19.2 percent to $2016 / month, one-bedrooms are down 12% to $2,466 and two bedrooms are down to $3,075.

The real estate website attributed the rental declines in San Francisco, the Peninsula and Silicon Valley to tech workers being able to work remotely and choosing more affordable areas. Similar trends are being observed in Manhattan, Boston, Seattle, and Washington, DC, which are seeing declines, but nearby "spillover" markets such as Tacoma, Washington, Newark, New Jersey and Worcester, Massachusetts are reporting increases.

"Renting in these spillover markets provides lower rents, more social distancing, and still allows for commuting if necessary," the website noted.

An example of this could also be happening in the Sacramento market, where rents are up by double-digit percentages compared to 2019. Rents for a studio in the capital city are up 16% year-over-year to $1,400 / month. Meanwhile, the rent for a one bedroom in Sacramento is up 10.1% to $1,410.

Nationally, the median rent for a studio apartment in September nationally was $1,347 / month, $1,502 for a one bedroom and $1,873 for a two bedroom.


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