Bay Area rents decline but have little impact on housing crisis

Renters in the Bay Area may be getting a little bit of relief from high rental prices. Recent data shows that rents across the state have dropped over 2% in a year and more than 4% in the San Francisco Bay Area.   

A drop in rent prices is a good thing, or is it? A housing advocate says he thinks the slight dip in rents is temporary and long-term affordable housing solutions are still desperately needed in California.  

"Even if they’ve gone down slightly, it’s not going to solve the housing crisis because rents are so high already," said Sandy Perry, president of the Affordable Housing Network of Santa Clara County

According to, rents in the Bay Area have taken their biggest year-to-year dip over the last 27 months. Contra Costa County had the largest decrease of 4.9% in a year, and Alameda County rental prices fell by 4.5%. 

Still, some people told KTVU they don’t think the decreases will make housing any more affordable.  

"It’s just chaotic. Given inflation, given the cost of living has gone up, and the sad part is wages in almost any industry have stayed the same," said Adrian from San Jose.   

"It was high to begin with. So, if it’s going down, I don’t know if it’s enough," said Zackery Madrigal-Moeller, who lives in San Jose.   

Rent prices in San Francisco County fell by 4.3%, San Mateo County fell by 3.6%, and in Santa Clara County, 3.1%. Perry believes the small decreases may send the wrong signal to private builders.  

"So, if rents are projected to go down or stay low, they simply won’t build. When they don’t build, rents will start going up again. So, this is not a solution to our housing crisis," Perry said.   

Perry says the rent decreases may be due to remote workers and others leaving the Bay Area for cheaper housing. He also says 20% of renters in San Jose are severely rent-burdened, meaning they use more than half of their income to pay rent.  

"That’s the kind of rent that if you have one problem in your family, like an illness, or an accident, any unforeseen emergency, you can end up homeless. Certainly, you can end up being evicted," Perry said.   

Perry says he supports new proposed state bills like Senate Bill 555 and Assembly Bill 309, which would make way for new state-owned housing with rents capped at 30% of people’s income.