Making It in the Bay

Pandemic Driving Down Cost of Rent in the Bay Area

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The pandemic continues to push down the cost of rent in parts of the Bay Area partially because demand is dropping. Real estate experts say, people are taking advantage of working remotely and moving to some place cheaper.

With a Bay Area paycheck and the option of not paying Bay Area rent, a lot of young professionals are moving to places like Colorado or Utah. It’s a no-brainer for 23-year-old professionals Spencer Reed and Andrew Verilli.

As they continue to work from home, they’re both looking for adventure and a way to escape. Reed, who is a consultant at Trinity, said, “We’re going to save some money, definitely going to splurge while we’re there for sure and take advantage of that. But it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and we can’t wait to get it all started.”

Reed and Verilli are currently paying $3,000 for their two bedroom, one bathroom apartment with a yard in the Inner Richmond. Verilli is a teacher at Alta Vista Middle School who just started summer break and said, “With rent so high, why not experience something new for way cheaper?”

In two days, the two will head east to Colorado where they will be living just outside of Denver with two other people in a three-bedroom that costs around $2,500 a month. Verilli said, “As of now, we do plan on coming back, but things could change. If we don’t have to move back in, we’ll see.”

Real estate agent Patrick Sedillo of Jira and Sedillo Real Estate Group said, “I expected it, because of overcrowding, especially in downtown San Francisco. You are seeing social distancing actually taking the next step.”

Sedillo believes Reed and Verilli are joining the latest trend, which is pushing down rents in the city by about 9% according to Zumper, a rental housing search engine.

“Because of supply and demand. The more supply there is, the less demand there is and they need to get these places rented out,” Sedillo said.

Take a listing we found on Craigslist for example: a 1,200 square foot three-bedroom on 18th Avenue for $4,249 a month. The listing’s broker says this is down about $400 from just a few months ago, and could have been listed for about $600 more at this time last year.

Sedillo said some other people who are choosing to stay in the city are asking realtors for places with more space. They want out of high-rise apartments, away from crowds and potential germs.

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