Rents are dropping in big cities — and especially in San Francisco — as coronavirus layoffs take hold

For the first time in four years, it’s actually getting cheaper to find an apartment in San Francisco.

Layoffs have hit every corner of the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, San Francisco’s tech market included. Meanwhile, many companies that haven’t had mass layoffs have considered expanding remote options once the pandemic ends, or moving some of their operations to smaller cities. Altogether, it’s leading to an exodus from San Francisco that has driven vacancies up and rent prices down, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Just three percent of renters in San Francisco paid no rent in June, and just 2.5 paid partial rent, the San Francisco Chronicle reports — a far lower percentage than what’s been reported in New York City. But a solid 7.5 percent of city residents, a big chunk of them younger than 25, have broken their leases, a survey from the San Francisco Apartment Association showed. A report from apartment data firm RealPage backs that up, saying there’s now a 6.2 percent vacancy rate in San Francisco, up 3.9 percent just three months ago.

Fewer tenants has translated into lower rents over the past few months as well. The median monthly rent for a San Francisco one-bedroom apartment has fallen 9.2 percent from a year ago, hitting $3,360, according to listings platform Zumper. That’s the first time prices have fallen from the year before since 2017, when the median rent was $3,370.

San Francisco tops the list of the steepest drops in monthly one-bedroom rents from the year before, but Denver has also seen prices drop close to 7 percent, and Los Angeles and Chicago both saw dips of about 3 percent, per Zumper. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.


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