SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco remains the most expensive American city when it comes to renting a one-bedroom apartment, but the monthly hit to the pocketbook will continue to drop in September, according to the online rental listing website Zumper.
The company said San Francisco will not be alone. Rents in New York also were projected to drop in September.
“Leading the price decline of cities at the top are San Francisco and New York, the nation’s two priciest cities,” the company said in a Tuesday news release. “Both San Francisco and New York reached the lowest price points they ever have since Zumper started tracking median prices in 2014. Median 1-bedroom price in San Francisco last month was $3,040, a 14.1% decrease from a year ago.”
New York trailed San Francisco on the latest list with an average monthly rent of $2,700 and then Boston followed at $2,300. San Jose and Oakland rounded out the top five at $2,270 and $2,200 a month, respectively.
And the online rental agency had even better news for those hoping to find an apartment in San Francisco.
“While San Francisco one-bedroom median rent hovered just above $3,000 overall in this report, the median rent actually dropped below $3,000 towards the end of the month, and will likely stay below $3,000 next month if the trend continues,” the company said.
If that projection holds, it would be the first time in the history of Zumper’s data (which starts in 2014) that San Francisco’s one-bedroom median rent would fall below $3,000.
But while rents may be tumbling in San Francisco, neighborhoods are still filling up with moving vans on most weekends.
Like thousands of others, William Hauser came to San Francisco to pursue his digital dreams. Then the COVID-19 pandemic began and his professional world was turned upside down.
Hauser was packing a trailer in front of his San Francisco apartment on a recent Saturday afternoon, joining the exodus out of the city.
“Honestly, I started being a software engineer, I got into computers because it’s convenient to be able to work remotely,” he said. “Now that everyone has been working remote, and policies aren’t cemented at least until next year, there’s no reason to stay here when I could go back to family and work remotely there.”
A tech worker with a job but no office, which means yet another set of boxes and a truck. San Francisco is now crawling with moving vans. For every one a different story, and destination.
“I’m going back to my family in Ohio,” Hauser said.
“For us, it’s really just been about the kids,” explains Brian Poger who is leaving to provide in-person learning for children. “It sounds really sexy and cool to go to Hawaii and I’m not saying it’s bad. We love the city as well. Basically just to get the kids in school face to face. And for the first time in my career, I’m virtual.”
At another truck-loading scene it was a family that had been considering a departure from San Francisco, but accelerated the timetable.
“One of the reasons that a lot of the things that drew us to San Francisco, we want to be close to the symphony and opera here, want to be close to Hayes Valley, all the small businesses says Hajo Schiewe. “And basically, nothing is there anymore, everything is closed.”
Of course, not every departure is voluntary.
“A lot of people don’t want to leave, but people are losing their jobs,” said mover Ali Phelps.
Phelps has been moving people in and out of San Franciscans for about 20 years. Has he ever seen anything like this?
“No,” he answers. “Not really this big boom of people just moving all at once.”