San Francisco

2017 Recap: Yet Again, Bay Area Rental Market is Priciest in the Country

From broke college students who sleep in old buses to San Mateo residents fighting double-digit rent hikes in a mold-infested building, 2017 had plenty of rental woes for many Bay Area tenants. 

Now, as the year comes to a close, a new real-estate industry report published by Zumper is shining a spotlight on the market’s high prices — and there are a few surprises. Check out some highlights (or lowlights, depending on your vantage point) below. 

The Bay Area is the most expensive rental market in the country

No surprise here. Like 2016, the Bay Area dominated top 10 lists of most expensive places to rent in the country. San Francisco holds the No. 1 spot, while other cities in Silicon Valley featured prominently in the top 10.

However, there may be a silver lining on the horizon, with the report forecasting a continued drop for some of the Bay Area’s priciest locales. San Francisco, for example, saw an average $30 decrease in monthly rent through December. Meanwhile, in year over year estimates, Palo Alto’s average rent decreased 1.9 percent. 

Most expensive and least expensive cities in the Bay Area 

The following cities had the highest average monthly rents for a 1-bedroom apartment. To see the full list, click here

  1. San Francisco - $3,390
  2. Mountain View - $3,310
  3. Emeryville - $2,790
  4. Palo Alto - $2,710
  5. Redwood City - $2,700 

The following cities boasted the region’s lowest rents on average:

  1. Vallejo - $1,360
  2. Santa Rosa - $1,540
  3. Napa - $1,560
  4. Concord - $1,580
  5. San Leandro - $1,780 

Rents are rising in the ‘burbs 

Rents are growing in some of the region’s most affordable cities. Concord, which earned a spot on the cheapest rents list, also nabbed a spot on highest rent growth in 2017, with rents rising an average of 15 percent.

That rent hike hasn’t gone unnoticed by longtime residents, either. Tenant advocacy groups in Concord mobilized and unsuccessfully tried to push the City Council to install rent control this year. Instead, the city implemented a non-binding rent review board for rent increases above 10 percent. 

Fastest rent growth over the last year

  1. Petaluma - 15.9 percent rent growth
  2. Concord - 15.2 percent
  3. Santa Clara - 14.4 percent
  4. Walnut Creek - 14.1 percent
  5. Vallejo - 14.3 percent 

Slowest rent growth over the last year

  1. Berkeley - dropped 9.2 percent
  2. Oakland - dropped 6.3 percent
  3. Burlingame - dropped 4 percent
  4. Palo Alto - dropped 3.9 percent
  5. Alameda - dropped 2.3 percent 

Highest — and hottest — rental markets in the country

  1. San Francisco
  2. New York City
  3. San Jose
  4. Washington D.C.
  5. Boston
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Oakland
  8. Seattle
  9. Miami
  10. Honolulu

To see the full data set provided by Zumper, click here.

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