Report: Oakland saw slowest growth in rent prices in the U.S., has least expensive median rent in Bay Area

(Mary Stringini)

In a sign suggesting that rent prices in Oakland may be leveling out -- at least for now, a new report found the East Bay city saw the nation’s slowest growth in rent over the past year, as figures showed the city also had the least expensive median rent prices in the Bay Area. 

Online rental marketplace Apartment List said Oakland saw "a meager" increase in rent prices, rising just 0.5% from January 2021 to January 2022.

The city was one of only 15 cities among the 100 largest in the report that saw prices increase by less than 10%.

"For context, in January 2020, before the onset of the pandemic, there wasn’t a single city with year-over-year rent growth exceeding 10 percent," researchers said. 

Nationally, rent prices saw a record spike of almost 18% over the past year, according to Apartment List. 

"The early stages of the pandemic led to a modest decline in rents from January 2020 through January 2021 (-1.4%), but the staggering growth of 2021 more than made up for the lost ground," the site said, adding, "Rent growth over the past year has far outpaced that of any prior year in our estimates, which go back to 2017. For comparison, year-over-year rent growth in January averaged just 2.3 percent in the three years preceding the pandemic."

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Not surprisingly, New York City, historically known for its high rent prices, came in as the top city with the fastest year-over-year rent growth, seeing an increase of 33.5%. 

Oakland stood at the other end of the spectrum, researchers said, though they noted, "... even among most of the cities with ‘slowest’ rent growth, prices are actually still increasing rapidly by historic standards."

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Within the Bay Area, the latest figures showed the city had the least expensive rents in the region, as prices fell 0.2% over the past month.  

The data from Apartment List showed the city’s median for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,639. It was $1,938 for a two-bedroom. 

Other regional findings showed San Francisco rents increased a sharp 15.6% over the past year. The current median rent prices in San Francisco stood at $2,317 for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,681 for a two-bedroom. 

Figures showed across the Bay Area, of the ten largest cities analyzed in the report, all have seen prices go up from a year ago. 

San Mateo had the most expensive rents in the region, with its median of $3,144 for a two bedroom. For a one-bedroom, the median was $2,315. Over the past month, the city also saw a rent growth of 2.1%, the fastest in the Bay Area. 

Berkeley had the biggest rent drop over the past month, falling 1.3%. The median there for a one-bedroom stood at $1,689, and it was $2,169 for two-bedrooms.

Researchers said that the U.S. rental market experienced an overall cool-down, following the "astronomical growth" seen last year but warned rent costs were expected to pick up again in the coming months.

"It’s worth noting that a slowdown in rent growth during the fall and winter months is expected due to seasonality in the market," the report said, adding, "many American renters are likely to remain burdened throughout 2022 by historically high housing costs."

A new report showed Oakland had the slowest growth in rent prices in the U.S., from January 2021-January 2022. (Apartment List )