Desperate SF Landlords Offering ‘Three Months Free’ As Rents Plummet
The Great San Francisco Rent Reduction we’ve long dreamed of has finally arrived, though it took a global pandemic, record unemployment, and the loss of thousands of local businesses to do it. The San Francisco Business Times reports that San Francisco rents are plummeting, and 40% of SF landlords have had a tenant leave or break their lease since shelter-in-place started in mid-March. “Apartment rents are falling faster than in any time in the past decade,” the Business Times says. “Large landlords and newer apartments in SoMa are offering giveaways like free parking, DoorDash credits, and two to three months of free rent.”
A separate Socketsite report last week ran the numbers and found that the average rent is down 20% compared to a year ago this time. People are obviously leaving San Francisco with work drying up and the big tech firms letting everybody work from home through at least the rest of 2020, and surely well into 2021. Socketsite noted in early September that “there are now nearly three times as many apartments listed for rent in San Francisco than there were at the same time last year (and climbing).”
Before you go immediately moving out of your apartment, realize that many of these ‘free rent deals’ are in luxury housing that you cannot afford. But not all of them. A Craigslist search on “free rent” shows that yes, zillions of places are offering multiple-month free deals. But the cheapest of these are in the $1,700/month range, and the vast majority are places that cost $2,000, $3,000, or even $5,000 a month. That free rent deal is probably not a good idea in the long run, particularly for people who read a website called “Broke-Ass Stuart.”
The Business Times says certain neighborhoods with all the big new condos and developments, like SoMa, are seeing the biggest drops in rent. “Neighborhoods such as North Beach are holding their rental values better,” the paper reports. SocketSite also finds that Oakland rents are going down too, though not as steeply as San Francisco’s.
The listing that has generated a ton of clickbait discussion (hey, no judgement!) was one that SFGate wrote up a couple weeks ago, offering two months free plus a free Peloton bike. While that listing has drawn all kinds of attention, the listing has since expired.