San Francisco’s famously high rents have dropped by close to 25% during the COVID-19 pandemic, writes Gabrielle Canon in the Guardian, but the city still remains the nation’s most expensive, with the average one-bedroom renting for $2,660 per month.
According to the California Housing Partnership Corporation (CHPC), California needs roughly 1.3 million additional affordable rental units to meet the state’s housing needs.
The pandemic complicated a pre-existing housing crisis in a region with California’s highest rate of income inequality. While “tech workers and other high earners who easily adapted to work-from-home policies early in the pandemic while retaining big salaries have been able to lower their rental rates or cash in on new opportunities to purchase homes with extremely low interest rates,” half of the area’s renters lost income, writes Canon. The pandemic’s uneven economic effects have hit low-wage workers in the hospitality and retail industries hardest, with few prospects of returning to the job market “any time soon,” according to Karen Chapple, faculty director and professor of city and regional planning at the University of California, Berkeley. Int he article, Chapple warns that rent moratoriums, if not accompanied by permanent rent relief, are only a temporary solution for those who face eviction and homelessness.