Return-to-work drives apartment rents higher in Silicon Valley cities

But rents fall in Bay Area locales where tech firms have laid off workers

Return-to-Work Drives Up Apartment Rents in Silicon Valley
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Tech bosses in some Silicon Valley cities have told workers to return to their office desks, driving up local apartment rents.

Typical rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Mountain View, home of Google’s parent Alphabet, rose 19 percent year-over-year last month to $3,510, the highest in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Business Times reported, citing figures from Zumper.

The next highest monthly rents were in Palo Alto at $3,220, Cupertino at $3,130 and San Francisco at $2,920.

Rents in Redwood City rose 2.7 percent in December from the previous month, while rents in Cupertino, home of Apple, increased 2.6 percent during the same period. Rents in Mountain View and Richmond ticked up 1.7 percent month over month.

“The rent increases in Mountain View and Cupertino in the last year or so can be mainly attributed to the return-to-office policies of some of the biggest tech giants down the Peninsula,” Crystal Chen, spokeswoman for Zumper, told the Business Times.

“The return of renters to these areas for work has swelled demand and competition.”

The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in California last month was $2,062. Typical rent for a one-bedroom flat across the U.S. was $1,496.

The cheapest rent in the Bay Area was in the North Bay city of Vallejo, at $1,510, followed by nearby Richmond at $1,810 and Antioch at $1,920.

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Some cities across the Bay Area, where employers may have laid off workers, saw falling rents.

In Menlo Park — where locally based Facebook parent Meta Platforms cut 10,000 employees in March, after laying off 11,000 workers in November 2022 — year-over-year rents plunged 29 percent. It was followed by falling rents in San Bruno at 21.2 percent and Sunnyvale at 18.9 percent.

In Palo Alto, rents dropped 8.3 percent year over year, while rents in San Francisco fell 2.3 percent.

One factor driving rents down could be the generally slow winter season, when landlords want to quickly move tenants into vacant units, according to the Business Times.

Zumper’s San Francisco Metro Report is based on active listings that hit the market in December.  

Apartment landlords across the Bay Area are responding to a loosening rental market by offering sweeteners to attract new tenants. As thousands of new units hit the market late last year, concessions from free rent to free parking have become more common.

— Dana Bartholomew

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