Exodus From Cities Triggers Significant Rent Drops in SF, LA

October 6, 2020 Updated: October 6, 2020


The economic evidence of a pandemic-related exodus from large cities continues to grow.

Rents for a one-bedroom residence in San Francisco are down a full 20 percent from a year ago, while rents in Los Angeles for a one-bedroom dwelling are down 11 percent over the 12-month period.

Looking at other major urban areas around the San Francisco Bay: Rents in Oakland were down 14.1 percent from October 2019 and rents in San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley, fell 9.3 percent.

Meanwhile, in Anaheim—which has been hit hard by the closure of the Disney parks, the Convention Center, and its sporting arenas—rents declined 5.2 percent. That likely reflects the competing dynamics in which many landlords are likely reducing rents to try to find good credit-worthy tenants, while many people are moving to Anaheim from more densely populated areas.

People may be moving to Long Beach, where rents for single-bedroom properties rose 3.9 percent from last October, while rents in Santa Ana ticked up 1.9 percent over the same time frame.

This phenomenon is also evident in Northern California, as rents for one-bedroom dwellings in Sacramento increased 8.5 percent from a year ago.

Restaurants and other amenities have made San Francisco such a fun place to live, along with its proximity for commuters to Silicon Valley, but because of the pandemic, people are seeking more space both outside and inside their homes. It isn’t surprising that substantially higher rental rates for homes would be a result.

Tim Shaler is a professional investor and economist based in Southern California. He is a regular columnist for The Epoch Times, where he exclusively provides some of his original economic analysis.