Bay Area rents down for the fourth straight month

For the fourth consecutive month, rents have fallen around the Bay Area.

That’s according to a new analysis by the Axiometrics research firm, which shows rents sliding across the region, from San Jose to San Francisco and Oakland.

These are the numbers for December:

  • In the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area, average rents dropped year-over-year by 2.4 percent, from $2,706 to $2,640.
  • In the San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco metro area, the year-over-year drop was 2.3 percent — from $3,243 to $3,168.
  • In the Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley metro area, the year-over-slide was nominal: just 0.6 percent, from $2,314 to $2,301. That makes sense: Oakland rents began to appreciate later than the other metro areas — part of the spillover effect from costly San Francisco and Silicon Valley to the East Bay.

Last year, as rents began softening elsewhere in the region, Oakland rents continued to appreciate. But over the past few months, Oakland rents have softened, too.

Of course, even with the “softening,” many Bay Area renters continue to pay through the nose. Nationally, the average rent stood at $1,272 in December, up 2.1 percent from $1,246 a year earlier.

Even so, things may be looking up for renters in our region.

“The rental market has pretty much stopped,” said Ron Stern, CEO of Bay Rentals, a housing relocation service. “I don’t know if it’s just a rainy January. But a lot of people” — landlords, property managers — “are getting nervous, because properties are sitting unfilled. They’re losing so much money, it doesn’t make sense. So they rent it out cheaper — drop it a couple of hundred bucks — and get on with it.

“It may not be a lot, but at least it’s going down instead of up,” he said. “And landlords are starting to accept people who have less than perfect credit if they have good explanations for what happened. It’s starting to look like good news for people — a better year for renters.”

Photo: Apartment complex under construction in downtown San Jose in 2015.  (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)


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