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San Francisco apartments experience sharpest rental drop amid COVID-19


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San Francisco has reportedly experienced the sharpest drop in apartment rental prices in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The notoriously expensive rental market has plummeted, with nation-leading declines in prices for studios, and one- and two-bedrooms, according to a San Francisco Chronicle analysis of listings on

The paper pointed to tech industry workers who are fleeing the city for less-costly accommodations in the new work-from-home reality.

Median rents for studios in San Francisco fell 31 percent to $2,285 when comparing prices from September 2019 to September of this year, the analysis found. Meanwhile, median prices for one-bedrooms dropped 24.2 percent and 21.3 percent for two-bedrooms, the analysis found.

“What we’re seeing is really the move away from high cost, particularly in urban downtowns, toward the suburbs and toward affordability,” George Ratiu, a senior economist, told the paper.

“A good number of companies, and San Francisco is the leader in this, recognize the tremendous burdens, and tech companies were some of the first to announce extended remote work policies into next year.”

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The trends in San Francisco are mirrored in some big cities across the country. In New York this summer, Brooklyn rental prices slid while Manhattan rents dropped for the first time in 10 years, according to a recent StreetEasy study.

A pedestrian walks by a building advertising apartment leases in San Francisco, California
A pedestrian walks by a building advertising apartment leases in San Francisco.Getty Images

Though, the price drops are far less dramatic than what renters have seen in the Bay Area. From April to June of 2019, the median Manhattan rent was $3,395 a month — down 2.8 percent from the same period in 2020, when the median rent was $3,300.

In addition to San Francisco, nearby counties of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties ranked among the top four in rental price drops, the Chronicle reported.

Though found that among the 100 largest counties in the United States, the median rentals for one- and two-bedrooms actually continued to rise, if slightly, by 1 percent and  2.3 percent, respectively.

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