Bay Area Rents Climb Ahead of Apartment-Hunting Season

Monday, April 2, 2018
Louis Hansen
San Jose Mercury News

Bay Area renters, don’t look now, but more hikes might be on the horizon.

Year over year rents rose 3 percent in March in San Jose, 6 percent in Oakland and 1 percent in San Francisco, according to a survey by Apartment List released Monday. Nationally, rents rose about 2.3 percent during the last 12 months.

Real estate economists and professionals are expecting a continued run-up during this year’s peak summer moving season. “We’re just not doing anything to keep up with it on the supply side,” said Chris Salviati, housing economist with Apartment List.

The rising prices come as the long-running shortage of housing supply in the Bay Area has forced renters into less expensive suburban apartments. But those suburban apartments are no longer thrifty choices.

The highest prices for two-bedroom rentals in the country were found in Bay Area suburbs: Danville apartments leased for $5,400 a month, Cupertino for $5,050, and Los Altos for $4,690. San Mateo checked in as a relative bargain at $4,270 per month. Apartment List draws its data from private listings and adjusts for an over-representation of luxury units.

A survey by real estate website Zumper found similar hikes around the Bay Area. San Francisco remained the most expensive city in the country, ahead of New York and San Jose.

Zumper analyst Crystal Chen said rents for one-bedrooms in San Jose climbed nearly 10 percent in the last year in their survey. Only San Diego rose faster, she said.

Rick Smith, a Santa Clara real estate agent who advises clients on investment properties, said the stubborn market has been plagued by the low supply of apartments. Rent control in San Jose has given residents an incentive to stay in their homes, and further limits available units, he said.

He expects rents to continue to trend higher, especially around booming employment centers in Santa Clara County. “There’s just not enough vacancies,” Smith said.

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