Apartment rents in San Mateo are already twice as expensive as the national average and continue to rise, according to a database claiming the city is the fourth most expensive in the nation.
A report from online rental database RentCafe said the average rent in San Mateo was $3,229 per month, behind only Boston, San Francisco and Manhattan as the priciest locales in the country. Grouped with Cambridge, Massachusetts, the top five most expensive cities are the only in the nation where rents floated above an average of $3,000 per month.
The cost to rent is only growing more expensive as well, as the average monthly amount in March jumped marginally from the month before and nearly 3% from the previous year, according to the report.
What’s worse for those challenged to afford the cost of living is that rents typically increase over the summer months, when prices generally start to climb with increased activity on the rental market.
To that end, market analyst RentHop found June and July are the worst months to find a new apartment in San Francisco and San Jose respectively, as roughly a 2% premium is linked with rents in those peak summer periods.
The growth seen in San Mateo follows a trend across the country, according to RentCafe, as the national average rent grew by more than 3 percent over the past year. The average national rent in March was $1,430.
According to rental database Zumper, even the cheapest apartments in San Mateo are more expensive than the national average.
“There is no such thing as cheap apartments in San Mateo. The most affordable San Mateo apartments start at $1,500, and a luxury apartment or rental home in San Mateo can cost more than $7,000,” according to the website.
There is little relief to be found nearby either, as Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and Oakland are also found in the top 10 most expensive cities in the nation, according to the RentCafe list. In all, half of the list is comprised of cities from San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara or Alameda counties.
Critics of online databases frequently claim the rents cited are to too high, and are unrepresentative of the experience for local apartment seekers. In recognition of those claims, RentCafe notes its report only surveys market-rate properties and excludes those reserved as affordable. The website also recently adjusted its rent estimation methodology to include more properties, with hopes of becoming more accurate.
Other websites though back the RentCafe report, as RentJungle claims the average rent in San Mateo in March was $3,171, also marking an increase from the year prior. Across the county, online database Zilpy said there was a 7% average jump in prices year over the year for all rental units, except four-bedroom units, which largely stayed flat.
The local market’s growth illustrates movement in direction opposite from momentum established around the start of the year, when rent increases indicated they had started to trail off.
But since January, when some experts suggested the historically hot market may cool, the average rent in San Mateo jumped from $3,123, which is where the price landed at the end of 2018.
Looking ahead, some experts suggest the cost of living will remain high — especially as some notable technology companies lay the groundwork to go public, which will likely enhance the demand for luxury apartments across the Bay Area and push the overall figures up further.
“As we get into the spring months and the beginning of the hot moving season, we only expect this number to continue to rise,” said Crystal Chen, a Zumper market analyst in her monthly Bay Area rental report.
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