Why Bay Area Rents Are Up and What You Should Do

Most sources are indicating that the entire Bay Area is moving well into a buyers’ market, although that’s not to say there is anything like a glut of unpurchased homes. That’s Buyers’ Market as opposed to Renters’ Market.


On the contrary, the shortage of housing in San Francisco and in the wider Bay remains acute, and as such, renting has actually gotten far more expensive than simply buying. That can seem like bad news for renters especially if you’re not ready to buy. If you are looking to buy, you should know that Contra Costa county homeowners have actually seen a good ten percent return on home values.


As is often the case, what’s good news for buyers is not necessarily good for those struggling to pay the rent.


San Francisco is indeed now more expensive than New York City for renting a home and the bright shining star in all of the Bay Area is still Contra Costa county. Homes are still much more affordable, and they’re bigger, too. If you’re not buying then renting in Contra Costa or Alameda Counties is often the very best option left in what has returned to being a very hot home-buying market.


In short, rental prices are up across the Bay Area simply because all housing prices are again at historical highs. That’s true on all sides of the Bay. It’s been a long ride since the crash of 2008, but foreclosures and even delinquencies are back down. The way real estate people look at it, it’s simply cheaper to buy a home than to rent. In a rental home you’re always going to be paying more than you would pay on the mortgage and upkeep for a purchased home. That’s what the picture looks like in 76 percent of US counties according to the Associated Press.  


So what should you do?


The short answer is to save up that ten percent down payment and get in as a buyer. You could also move to Chicago or Minneapolis where rents remain actually cheaper than the homes for sale in those markets, but for most folks that’s going to be out of the question.


If hauling off to a different metro area is not realistic then consider some of the more affordable locations in and around Contra Costa or Alameda Counties. Both offer some very good rental options, and even if you’re losing some money by renting, you’re still going to be able to put something aside to eventually buy.


Fortunately, both Contra Costa and Alameda Counties are still home to multiple affordable communities. There are more than we can list on our website, but each has incredibly valuable characteristics that make them worth checking out, whether we’re talking about Brentwood, Livermore, Fremont or someplace new that you’ve never even heard of. Let us know what you’re looking for, to rent or buy and we’ll keep you in the East Bay too.