While the Bay Area has traditionally been one of the nation’s more expensive regions, rents began their steep ascent after 1980 as the growing technology sector contributed to a booming regional economy. From 1980 to 2015, inflation-adjusted median monthly rent payments in the Bay Area rose 75 percent. The recent Great Recession hardly stalled this surge in rent prices.
Starting in 2012, rents have risen each year to record highs. The extraordinary rate of growth for median rent payments in just the past two years is on par with the increases last seen in the 1980s. No county in the region has been immune to these rising costs for rents, with increases ranging between 56 percent and 100 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars between 1970 and 2015.