Marin rental prices reach San Francisco levels

Marin rental prices reach San Francisco levels By: Keri Brenner (
POSTED: Monday, July 31, 2017 – 4:04 p.m. UPDATED: TODAY
Average rental prices are in the $1,800 to $2,500 range for one-bedroom units in San Rafael and Novato, with higher costs elsewhere in the county, market analysts said. At the new Tam Ridge Residences in Corte Madera, above, one-bedroom units range from $3,175 a month to $4,605. (Robert Tong/Marin Independent Journal) Rents in Marin are on the upswing again after a slight softening some months back.
An average one-bedroom apartment in San Rafael is going for $2,470 a month, while a two-bedroom might cost $3,110, according to Andrew Woo, data scientist at, a website that tracks the national rental market.
That represents a 3.6 percent rise over July 2016, Woo said Monday.
Marin has caught up with San Francisco, where median rent is $2,430 for a one-bedroom apartment and $3,060 for a two-bedroom – about even with a year ago, according to Woo.
“I’m seeing the biggest jump in the one- and two-bedroom market,” said Matt Prandi Borries, vice president of Prandi Property Management in San Rafael. “I think it’s a combination of a spillover from San Francisco and people moving here from outside the Bay Area and then being shell-shocked by the housing prices.”
Borries said he is also seeing “a lot of divorce situations” adding to the demand for one- and two-bedroom apartments.
“(The average rent) fluctuates a lot from Novato to Sausalito,” he added. “Most one-bedrooms are into the $2,000s and start there,” he said. “They only work their way up from there – that increase is not happening as much for three- or four-bedroom rental homes.”
The skyrocketing rental costs come as the Marin Board of Supervisors is looking at strategies to help stabilize the rental housing market in Marin. The board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael to discuss options, including possibly adopting an ordinance to prevent month-to-month renters from being evicted without just cause.
The board is also considering throwing more support to a landlord partnership program to help increase the number of Marin landlords who accept Section 8 housing vouchers.
While in the past Marin might have been seen as a lower-cost option to escape the crushing San Francisco rental costs, new apartment units in the county are not offering much of a discount.
At just-opened Tam Ridge Residences in Corte Madera, for example, one-bedroom units start at $3,175 and go as high as $4,605, while two-bedroom units are going for $3,980 to $4,330 a month. Three-bedroom townhouses start at $6,250 and rise to $6,500.
If Bay Area rents seem off the charts compared to the rest of the country, they are.
Nationwide, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,160, up 2.9 percent from a year ealier, according to the latest data from
The steep increases in Marin, meanwhile, seem to have crept up suddenly as summer wanes, people return from vacation and college students prepare to go back to school.
At the beginning of summer, some landlords were still holding the line on rents to stay competitive, according to San Rafael real estate broker Katherine Higgins of
“Rents in the larger Marin County cities of Novato and San Rafael continue to be competitive to attract tenants this summer, with one-bedrooms being offered at as low as $1,995 in Novato and $1,825 in San Rafael,” Higgins wrote in June.
“The vast majority of available rentals are in the two largest cities of Marin,” she said. “Most units available on the market in those locations are two-bedroom luxury units that start at over $3,000 per month and go as high as $4,200 in some San Rafael locations.”
Other parts of the county were mixed on rates, Higgins said.
“Southern Marin rents in Sausalito, Tiburon and Mill Valley have been softening in the past three quarters with one-bedrooms offered at $2,450-$3,600 and two bedrooms starting at $3,600 and going as high as $4,200 for units with water views and high-end finishes,” Higgins added.
Borries said he has seen a big bump in rents just in the past two weeks.
“The quality school districts here are very important,” he said. “People will work in San Francisco, but they’re coming here to Marin for the microclimates and school districts – and they will rent for one to two years until they find the great niche neighborhood where they want to buy.”
Woo said he sees rental costs rising as being “generally related to the continued strength of the local economy.”
David N Swaim Owner/Realtor -107078 Town of San Anselmo Planning Commissioner 415 710 5504 phone/text 609 San Anselmo Ave San Anselmo CA 94960

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