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San Francisco Apartment Rents Crater Up to 31%, Most in U.S.

The median monthly rate for a studio apartment in the city fell by 31 percent year-over-year, compared to a 0.5 percent decline nationally.

(Bloomberg)—San Francisco’s sky-high apartment rents are falling fast.

The median monthly rate for a studio in the city tumbled 31% in September from a year earlier to $2,285, compared with a 0.5% decline nationally, according to data released Tuesday by Realtor.com. One-bedroom rents in San Francisco fell 24% and two-bedrooms were down 21%, to $2,873 and $3,931 a month, respectively.

The figures underscore how the pandemic has roiled property markets and changed renter preferences. With companies allowing employees to work from home, people have fled cramped and costly urban areas in droves, seeking extra room in the suburbs or cheaper cities. Tech firms, in particular, have told staff they should expect to work remotely well into next year -- and may be able to do so permanently.

“Renters are likely heading to more-affordable areas where they can get more space at a cheaper price,” Danielle Hale, Realtor.com’s chief economist, said in a statement. “The future of rents in many of these cities will depend on whether companies require employees to work from the office or continue to allow remote work.”

Bargains can be had in other high-cost areas, too. Studio rents dropped 15% to $2,495 a month in Manhattan. In King County, Washington, which includes Seattle, they fell 12% to $1,490.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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