August 17, 2009
Shacking Up In San Francisco To Save Some Shekels
"Facing layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs, more people have turned to shared housing to help make ends meet. Craigslist, the online classified ad giant, says that its roommate-wanted postings over the past 12 months are up...85 percent within San Francisco."
∙ More share space to shave costs in recession [SFGate]
First Published: August 17, 2009 7:00 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
The SFGate article is skewed. As another tipster had posted in the comments a few weeks back, the largest employer in the City is the State and City Govt. Most of these workers are sitting cushy.
So I think the roommate wanted postings are more like people trying to save wherever they can, and as you all know, housing (rent or own) is usually the biggest percentage of the paychek.
SFGate is trying to sensationalize this and scare people IMDHO.
Posted by: Topher at August 17, 2009 7:29 AM
Posted by: eddy at August 17, 2009 7:52 AM
says that its roommate-wanted postings over the past 12 months are up...85 percent within San Francisco.
I interpret that as attempts to augment income by renting out "spare" bedrooms or in-laws. Not sure why Topher thinks that government workers are not seeing less income, particularly with the furloughs. Many are seeing reduced incomes, or as Socketsite has shown, are trying to grab cashflow with rent. Cashflow is king.
Posted by: Robert at August 17, 2009 8:43 AM
The CA furloughs mean that most CA govt employees are seeing approximately a 14% cut in pay. That is huge by any measure.
Posted by: CameronREx at August 17, 2009 9:31 AM
the number of renters out there has decreased tremendously with the economy, leaving places with higher "days on market" and thus increasing room inventory. i speak as a master tenant who just found a new roommate.
Posted by: yao at August 17, 2009 9:35 AM
We are trying to rent one of our properties and it is just not happening. It is a higher end unit and the renter pool seems to have vanished.
Posted by: MarinaLocal at August 17, 2009 9:55 AM
The renter pool is still there, MarinaLocal -- lower the price and the unit will sell.
Posted by: Robert at August 17, 2009 10:02 AM
We certainly saw the shift when searching for a new roommate for our place in May. Eighteen months earlier, we received more than 80 e-mails regarding our room for rent. In May, we received fewer than 20 for the same room at the same price (we ran the same ad on CL as well).
We attribute this to an increase in roommate wanted ads, as well as the fact that our landlord requires employment verification for any new tenants, thus excluding many people who might be between jobs or working reduced hours.
Posted by: NorthBeachDweller at August 17, 2009 10:04 AM
Thanks Robert. That is plan 'B'.
Posted by: MarinaLocal at August 17, 2009 10:05 AM
What is Plan "A"?
I moved in during the last recession, and the unit I rented was empty for about 6 months. In fact, half the building was empty for about 6 months. It took the landlord that much time to lower the price by about 25%. They will never see those 6 months of rent payments -- never. I guess they could have kept it empty from 2001 until 2006, in order to avoid renting it at 75% of "peak" .com value.
A friend of mine does some "apartment management" work for his mother. When one of her units became vacant, she invited a real estate agent over, who casually dropped that it should rent for X. So, she tells her son to rent it for X. No one applies. He says
"Look, Mom, let's lower it by $100 every couple of weeks until we get an offer."
"What? Are you trying to rob me?!"
So they go on and on -- 6 months for the mom to agree to start lowering the price, at which point it sold for a few hundred below the anchored amount. She will never see those months of payments again, either.
I could go on and on, but the same principle applies to purchase property or rental property. People would stick their head in the sand to avoid recognizing losses, and in the end they only hurt themselves.
Posted by: Robert at August 17, 2009 10:19 AM
It's certainly cheaper to share a 2br with someone. But then you run into same issues that owners have: you go on months looking for a suitable tenant and then you end up subsidizing him/her. I got out of that business and now I am a happy 1br renter.
Posted by: Fish at August 17, 2009 10:40 AM
A couple I know are looking to maybe move from Russian Hill to a nicer part of the Mission. They asked me how much I thought two bedrooms would go for around there. I said I thought 2 grand or 1800. They thought that was cheap. I was surprised. Is that really cheap?
Posted by: anonn at August 17, 2009 10:57 AM
We were looking for a roommate and actually got a lot more response now (August) than when we advertised the same room, (same price, same ad) in May.
don't forget that there is a huge seasonality effect as 1 year leases expire and new blood comes into the city(people moving to SF after finishing school)
Posted by: BayAreaBum at August 17, 2009 1:56 PM
Anonn $1800 for a 2 bdrm would be a steal. The average rent on SFRentStats for the last 90 days in the Mission was $2412 for a 2bdrm. (Lots of caveats to that wonderful resource, obviously--average vs median; maybe apts that get posted multiple times because they are too expensive influence the average; etc. etc.)
Posted by: Jane at August 17, 2009 5:08 PM
There's what is advertised on craigslist and then what people actually pay, which when I was looking in Noe Valley a few months ago, was 10-15% below craigslist asking prices. Smart landlords, particularly in an economy like this one, are more sensitive to the quality of their tenants than $100 one way or the other in monthly rent. Also many quality tenants I know can't provide standard proof of income because they are self-employed - another has bad credit because of identity theft. Landlords who are more flexible on these things within reason have a larger pool of tenants to choose from.
Posted by: noevalleygal at August 17, 2009 10:22 PM
Agreed. Something that could also skew the statistical accuracy is the mix. Underpriced units will move faster than overpriced. Therefore, less exposure of cheaper places. Plus, cheaper places sometimes do not get advertised on CL as they often don't need to, like what I am renting right now (word of mouth). CL is a good place to fish for newcomers who are less likely to have access to good deals.
Posted by: San FronziScheme at August 17, 2009 10:30 PM
anonn- $2000-2500 for something decent, depending on ammenities, prkg, etc. of course.
if they are not in a rush i'm going to have 2 fully renovated, open plan 2/1's coming online later this year...pm me for deets if they can wait a couple of months.
Posted by: 45yo hipster at August 17, 2009 10:34 PM