Renting an apartment in San Francisco remains slightly more affordable than it was three years ago, and a good bit cheaper than the high-water mark of 2015, but prices are on the rise.

As Socketsite explains today, the weighted average asking rent in San Francisco is now $3,500, which is 15% higher than the pandemic low — which was $3,050 in the second quarter of 2021. But the average rent is still 15% below where it was in February 2020, and a full 22% below the days of peak rent, which as it turns out was seven years ago, in 2015. The weighted average rent that year was $4,500, per Socketsite.

The "average" SF apartment has 2.4 bedrooms, but the smallest apartments took the biggest hit on rent the last few years. As Socketsite tells us, studio apartments are averaging $2,100 currently, and that is 28 percent below their 2015 peak.

Affordability is relative of course, and rent is still higher here than in most of the country. But rents are recovering much more slowly in SF, in tandem with the slow recovery of downtown.

We learned via a report earlier this month that San Francisco apartment rents are the slowest to recover of any metro area in the country. We are, in fact, the only one of 52 metro areas in the country with 1 million+ people where rents are still below March 2020 levels.

As the SF Business Times reported, the median rent in San Francisco was $2,238 in November, and Apartment List puts that at 10.9% below the pre-pandemic median.

The Business Times spoke earlier this month to the city's Chief Economist Ted Egan, who said that rents have taken the biggest hit in neighborhoods that had been dominated by downtown office workers — so, SoMa and North Beach? Egan added that, generally, "rental units located east of Van Ness Avenue and north of Cesar Chavez Street are seeing larger drops in rents than their counterparts in San Francisco’s more western and southern neighborhoods."

Photo: Robert Bye