By Da Lin

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, San Francisco rents have plummeted more than any other major city in the country.

The average rent in one San Francisco neighborhood is now to $1,600.

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Some housing experts even argue the city has turned in to a renter’s market.

The mass exodus in San Francisco during the pandemic resulted in more housing supply and less demand but, even after big price drops, San Francisco still retains the title as the most expensive rental market in the country.

At $2,700 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, the city tops New York and Los Angeles. Neighboring cities San Jose and Oakland round out the top five.

These rent prices have fallen to levels that haven’t been seen since the last recession — drops of more than 20 percent compared to last year in many neighborhoods.

The apartment listing website Zumper used thousands of rental ads to crunch the numbers.

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WEBLINK: Zumper San Francisco Rent Prices

A drive around several city neighborhoods illustrates a range of value available to renters.

South of Market, the average price of rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $2,800 per month. Rents are lower closer to downtown where homelessness is more evident. The Tenderloin is the only neighborhood near the city center where the average price drops below $2,000. Closer to the water you’ll find apartment rentals hovering around $2,900 in Russian Hill and the Marina.

Presidio Heights has the highest median price for one-bedroom apartments at $3,050 a month.

The southern part of the city is where you can find a wider selection of more-affordable residences. Visitacion Valley has the lowest median price in the city at $1,600 a month.

Whether you agree that San Francisco has become a renter’s market, the truth is renters now have more leverage — especially with apartments that have been sitting vacant for a while. Renters can ask for a free first month, perhaps a free parking spot or even negotiate on price.

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Rent experts say current prices are near the bottom. Rents may slip a little lower but they’re showing signs of stabilizing and may rebound in the spring when a COVID vaccine becomes more widely available and workers return to the office.