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San Francisco no longer most expensive Bay Area city for renters

The Dolores Heights neighborhood in San Francisco, which borders Noe Valley and Castro, is a new favorite spot for billionaires like Brian Chesky to buy real estate and build homes. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

San Francisco has been surpassed as the Bay Area’s most expensive rental city, according to a new report from apartment listings company Zumper.

The company’s San Francisco Bay Area Metro Report, released Wednesday, tallied one-bedroom monthly apartment rental prices for 28 of the region’s cities and towns, ranking them against April’s California regional median monthly rent of $2,065.

Taking the gold, silver and bronze rankings for average monthly rents were three Santa Clara County cities:

  1. Mountain View at $3,450;
  2. Cupertino at $3,110;
  3. Santa Clara at $3,050;
  4. San Francisco tied with Menlo Park at $3,000.

Among the most affordable Bay Area cities, Vallejo came in cheapest at $1,550 per month, with Antioch in second at $1,790 and Richmond third at $1,820. Concord and Hayward followed respectively at $1,930 and $2,050 per month, coming in just under the state’s median price, with Livermore just over at $2,090.

READ MORE: San Francisco Is Now the 3rd Priciest Place To Rent in the Country, Falling Behind Boston

In a Thursday tweet, Zumper CEO Anthemos Georgiades was blunt in his assessment of the data’s significance. “Bay Area is roaring back,” he said. “SF is not.”

“The return-to-office policies that the big tech companies have in place are really affecting the Bay Area rental market,” said Zumper spokesperson Crystal Chen, speaking of Mountain View, Cupertino and Santa Clara. “These three cities house some of the biggest tech companies, including Apple, Google and Intel, so many employees are returning to these areas to be close to the office, which is driving up demand and competition for rentals.”

Chen said rising rents in the South Bay could also be pegged to new luxury developments hitting the market, pushing up prices overall. 

“Paired with the fact that we are getting into the hot summer moving season, or when rental demand is generally at its highest of the year as many leases end during the summer months, all play a part in the spike in rents,” Chen said.

San Francisco's skyline | Getty Images

San Francisco’s rents have stayed relatively flat on a monthly and yearly basis for the most part, according to Chen and Zumper data.

Real estate broker CRBE recently estimated a 29.5% vacancy rate for the city’s commercial properties last quarter, higher than the rates during the dot-com bust and Great Recession, and up seven-fold from the beginning of 2020, with additional data suggesting that the San Francisco metro area was tops in the country for office inventory available for subleasing. 

The city and county of San Francisco, the state’s fourth-largest city with 831,703 residents, lost 5,333 residents or about 0.6% in 2022 according to U.S. Census data. By comparison, the city of San Jose, at 959,256 residents, lost 4,489 residents, or 0.5% in 2022, while Santa Clara County, with its 1,886,079 residents, lost 4,888 residents, or 0.3% from 2022.