Mission apartments listing on Craigslist from 4/5/21 to 6/29/21. By George Lipp

In early April, my 80-plus-year-old friend asked me to help rent a vacant three-bedroom apartment in her two-unit building. The building is her longtime home. The previous residents had moved out just days before the pandemic lockdown began. Pre-pandemic, the apartment rented for $4,800 a month.

I started first by looking at Craigslist to see how many apartment listings there were in the Mission. In early April, availability had wandered up to a peak of around 900 listings. The pandemic made things a little scary out there.  My friend had yet to get her vaccination.  So she wanted to hold back on looking for new neighbors.

We waited and watched the listings. I noticed that some apartments were listed multiple times, just days apart. I decided to not edit the Craigslist totals, just just wrote down whatever the top of the page said. The availability began to turn toward fewer listings in late April. That trend continues through today, with total Mission District availability now around 550 listings.

Now, my fully vaccinated friend is more comfortable with meeting people. She plans to list the flat soon for $4,000 a month.  Good luck to her, as I know she will enjoy having new neighbors and restored income.

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George Lipp has long lived in the Mission. He’s our volunteer extraordinaire – always out taking photos or running across crimes in progress.

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  1. Hi George,

    Right now there are 760 unfiltered listings for Mission rentals on craigslist. According to your metric, that coincidentally happens to be a 38% increase, in just five days.

    Will you now report that vacancies are piling up and the rental market is “loosening” by 38% at a frenzied pace?

    A better understanding of current vacancies than through craigslist can be gained by talking to movers and UPS drivers; by walking around the Mission and seeing all the For Rent signs and vacant flats; checking inbound vs outbound U-Haul and moving van rates; or just calling the U-Haul on Valencia St and asking them how their box business is doing (hint: they’re selling more boxes than any other U-Haul outlet in the country).

    If you do walk around the Mission, though, be careful you don’t get hit by a moving van, as there is a lot of activity, mostly outbound.

    Craiglist is useful, though, for seeing how many people are looking for housing. A few years ago when we needed to fill a room, there were hundreds; now there are several dozens.

    Also, consider that “asking rents” are not “actual rents,” and that even “actual rents” don’t account for the considerable concessions (i.e. 8 weeks free) now being widely offered.

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  2. This’ll sound insane but if your landlord friend is comfortable with you sharing her contact details email me (assuming you can see the email I use to comment)

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