Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 3, 2016

When I dip, you dip, we dip

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

A lot of people that are not fans of any sort of rent stabilization will point to the first dot com crash and say “hey rents fell during that time, we’re just making up for the times when we had to reduce or keep our rents flat.”

But of course Alameda hasn’t tracked any data on historic rents so it’s all sort of anecdotal based on home sale prices etc.  So I did a quick Google search to see if I could uncover any sites that tracked rental housing prices over the years and lucky me I found this one: Vital Signs.

And it gave me more than I could hope for in the form of nifty graphs and data:



It’s better to go to the website to look at it so you can zoom in on the data points.  Apparently during the time when there should be been a dip because of the dot com bust there was no data collected for Alameda, however if you use Alameda County as a guide you can see that while there were small dips there was not a huge fall in rental housing rates.




  1. That’s data for Alameda compared to Alameda County and the Bay Area as a whole. That data is from the MTC.

    Plus the arguments being used by “mom and pop” landlords is specific for Alameda and not, I’m assuming, San Francisco or San Jose or else they would be unable to label themselves as “mom and pop” landlords.

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 3, 2016 @ 9:08 am

  2. I wonder about the rise of home prices compared with rental prices. Is there a correlation? Is it equal or not?

    Comment by Hugo — February 3, 2016 @ 10:01 am

  3. Home prices have risen sharply in recent years. If you go back the ’09 bottom they’ve probably risen faster than rents, but that is of course a selective end point. Strangely, there’ s been no call to force homeowners to sell their dwellings below market. Why should landlords?

    Comment by dave — February 3, 2016 @ 11:40 am

  4. When you get 5% inflation adjusted rent increases for a decade, followed by a couple years of 10%, a two year period of flat or slightly negative rents feels like The Great Depression to landlords. It is indisputable that inflation adjusted rents have gone way up for decades in the Bay Area and property owners have gotten the lion’s share of income gains in the region.

    The individual mom and pop landlord may feel one thing, but the data is clear. Those who inherited or acquired property a generation ago will be passing on a lot more wealth to the next generation than they got. The class division is manifest.

    Comment by BMac — February 3, 2016 @ 11:42 am

  5. It’s a bit hard to tell, that graph isn’t especially granular, but which decade has 5% inflation adjusted rent increases? I don’t see that at all.

    Comment by dave — February 3, 2016 @ 12:08 pm

  6. The other factor is what is happening elsewhere. Our cottage has been re-rented within days of the prior tenant’s leaving the last two times it turned over. Before that (about ten years ago) it was on the rental market for over a month between renters. The last inquiries we have received about its availability have all been related to escapees from San Francisco. Either due to too high rents there or the desire to start a family and feeling that SF was not a child-friendly, good schools place and Alameda was. Pressure on the market leads to higher rents. We raise our rents only between tenancies and over twenty years I think our rents have gone up about 20%. We try to stay on the lower end of market. Between renters we paint and clean and re-furbish as needed.

    Comment by Kate Quick — February 3, 2016 @ 12:56 pm

  7. 7. Can I get on your waiting list? There is a reason they are beating down your door. You are a dream landlord.

    Comment by BMac — February 3, 2016 @ 1:03 pm

  8. In which decade did rents increase at an inflation adjusted 5%?

    Comment by dave — February 3, 2016 @ 2:46 pm

  9. I guess what it comes down to is that people tend to look at things from where they are standing. If you’re working hard but barely getting by and can’t afford to rent or buy the kind of place you’d like in the area you prefer, those standing in your way seem like greedy evil doers. The landlords and homesellers get the brunt of your distain, but know also that it’s those with whom you are in competition to secure housing who are actually the ones who are driving the prices up. A landlord in Alameda can’t charge any more than someone is willing to pay. If you want to be pissed at somebody, be pissed at all the other prospective buyers and renters who have more money than you.

    If you do have a rental property, maybe it fell in your lap or maybe you had to work hard to obtain it and hold onto it. It really doesn’t matter though because people rent their property to maintain or improve their own financial position, not somebody else’s.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — February 4, 2016 @ 11:27 am

  10. 10. I sort of get where you are coming from but aren’t you basically blaming the victims ?

    Comment by MI — February 4, 2016 @ 11:32 am

  11. 10. Speaking for myself, I don’t hate the player. I hate the game.

    Comment by BMac — February 4, 2016 @ 11:38 am

  12. Perhaps rents have peaked already and are preparing to dip?

    Comment by dave — February 20, 2016 @ 8:02 am

  13. 13. remember the term “irrational exuberance” ? I have no idea how well this article may reflect reality, but a big problem with the pendulum is that the swing of it’s arc is pushed to extremes by “irrational exuberance”. Steady regular swinging back and forth would seem to be a positive reflection of natural cycles, healthy even. Instead, people are so reactive that the markets reach extremes. Instead of simple corrections we end up heaving from port to starboard and back again, and so we throw up all over ourselves.

    Comment by MI — February 20, 2016 @ 12:07 pm

  14. A “correction” can seem cataclysmic in the moment, especially when you’re on the wrong side of it, but over time these things usually just become little zigs on the long term trend line. Case in point is 1998: credit markets had a brutal drop that was in many ways a dress rehearsal for 2008, but now that harsh downturn is just a footnote.

    Leverage, ie borrowed money does tend to fuel speculation and increase volatility both up and down, but I can’t envision taking borrowed money out of housing.

    Comment by dave — February 21, 2016 @ 8:38 am

  15. 15. my ability to speak the language of economics is very limited, maybe near moron at times but ” I can’t envision taking borrowed money out of housing.” You can’t, but wasn’t that just what caused the crisis in 2008? Without real regulation aren’t we creeping back toward that, minus the grosses and most obvious violations of common sense? To me the entire investment sector will always be more like s shell game than anything resemebling sound money management. The only reason to invest is so you don’t have to watch from the side lines as everybody else’s retirement money quadruples, but then the music stops and investors like CalSTRS are left without a chair. It’s all based on the emotions of an unstable, greedy and stupid population of sheep.

    Comment by MI — February 21, 2016 @ 9:55 am

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