In my previous post, I had indicated that the the landlord wanted to raise rent, and this led to some back and forth negotiation that almost happened but eventually fell through as we simply couldn’t agree to the terms. The landlord wanted the nearly 12% increase sooner than we wanted and was also unhappy about our counteroffer for a shorter lease for the increase and asked for my husband and I to move out by the end of the year, giving us the proper 60 days notice.

At first, getting that 60 days notice to vacate was upsetting. It seemed like a terrible thing. My husband was stressed out already due to his deadlines at work, and it seemed moving during the holidays would be tough. Would there be anything available, do people move during the holiday season?

Once we did our home work, we realized that the winter months is a great time to move. Put in economic terms, demand for rentals is the highest during summer and lowest during the winters. The summer season is typically the peak time of the year for people to relocate. The explanation for this are factors including longer daylight hours, better weather, arrival of needed tax refunds for rent deposits and down payments, and greater free time (especially for students who are preparing for the fall semester). The winter months typically see the lowest activity, explained by a shortage of time and money due to the busy holiday seasons. Therefore, the best time to rent an apartment is during the winter months when apartment communities are offering the most competitive specials and lowest rents.

It was actually quite fortunate for us not to sign a 6-month lease with our current landlord just based on that timing principle alone, even without consideration for the large increase that we felt were unreasonable and uncompetitive for what we are getting. As a result of our research, we also felt much better about our ability to get something better, more worth the value of our money.

Another interesting observation that came about as a part of doing homework and research: we are noticing that rents in the Bay Area at this time is a bit weird… Basically, it doesn’t look like the East Bay is such a great deal compared to San Francisco city. I had moved to the East Bay because I wanted to get more room for my money and I was tired of my tiny studio with a murphy bed! The price differential between SF and East Bay seems to be narrowing from what I can see on Craigslist. I am a bit puzzled, but perhaps this is due to the fact that there are more foreclosures in the East Bay and more demand. Perhaps it is because more families are out here in the East Bay area and there are better schools outside of San Francisco? I’ll be pondering this little economic question in the next few weeks for sure.

Check out this recent rent-ratio heatmap from

According to Hotpads, the blue indicates that it’s BUY.

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San Francisco Rents

Berkeley Rents

Alameda Rents