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Ride Sharing Codes and Gift Cards are Some of San Francisco's Most Popular Move-in Specials
Discounts for Lyft and Uber rides make up 27 percent of move-in specials in the San Francisco Area

SAN FRANCISCO, May 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Renters searching for a new apartment will find nearly 24 percent more move-in specials now compared to last year, including rent discounts, ride sharing codes, gift cards and waived deposits, according to a HotPads® analysis.i

HotPads analyzed apartment listing descriptions in the San Francisco metro area to find places where apartment buildings are offering move-in specials for renters looking to sign a new lease. Nearly 54 percent of listings with move-in specials in San Francisco offer rent discounts, while 27 percent offer ride sharing codes.

Other common offers include free rent for a period of time, waived deposits or fees, cash bonuses, free parking and gift cards. Renters can expect to find move-in deals mentioned in about 1 in 100 San Francisco area rental listings.

The median rent in San Francisco is $3,395, up 3.3 percent from a year ago. While San Francisco still has one of the priciest rental markets in the country, rent growth has slowed in recent months and has not been higher than 4 percent in over a year. Declines in rent growth and a rise in the number of move-in specials can come from similar changes in the market, including influxes of new supply or decreases in demand.

"San Francisco is known as a fast-paced market, where renters often face steep competition when searching for a rental," said Joshua Clark, economist at HotPads. "However, in suburban areas south and east of the city, competition is a little lighter, so property managers sometimes offer move-in incentives to drive demand. Renters looking to get a deal when they sign their lease may have more luck searching in areas outside of the city proper, or in parts of the city with more new construction coming online."

San Francisco renters will find the most move-in specials in Alameda, Foster City and Pleasanton. In Alameda, nearly 13 percent of all rental listings mention perks for those signing a lease. In Foster City, more than 6 percent of all rental listings offer perks. Rent discounts are the most common deal offered in Alameda, followed by ride sharing codes and free streaming services. In Foster City, rent discounts and gift cards are the most popular move-in special.

San Francisco's most affordable apartments offer the most move-in specials -- 39 percent of all move-in specials offered are among the most affordable apartments.ii There are 38.5 percent more concessions offered among the most affordable apartments now compared to last year, accounting for nearly 1 in every 50 listings.

Within the city of San Francisco, apartments in the Tenderloin neighborhood offer the most move-in specials, with almost 18 percent of listings mentioning bonuses for renters who sign a new lease. Waived deposits are the most common concession in the Tenderloin.

HotPads is a Zillow Group-owned apartment and home search platform for renters in urban areas across the United States. For more information on San Francisco's rental market, visit

San Francisco's Rental Concessions by City


Median Rent

Percent of Listings
Offering Concessions,
Q1 2018

Most Popular Concession

San Francisco Metro



Rent discounts

Alameda, CA



Rent discounts

Foster City, CA



Rent discounts

Pleasanton, CA



Rent discounts

Dublin, CA



Rent discounts

Redwood City, CA



Rent discounts

San Francisco, CA (city)



Ride sharing codes

Walnut Creek, CA



Rent discounts

San Mateo, CA



Rent discounts

Oakland, CA



Rent discounts

Berkeley, CA



Gift cards

Rental Concessions in the San Francisco Metro


Percent of Listings Offering
Concessions, Q1 2018

YoY Change

All rentals













HotPads is an efficient rental search platform for urban areas across the United States, with features designed for competitive markets such as map-based search, real-time notifications and detailed information on landlords and property managers that help renters spend less time searching and more time feeling excited about their next home.

Launched in 2005, HotPads is based in San Francisco and is owned and operated by Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z and ZG).

HotPads is a registered trademark of Zillow, Inc.

i HotPads analyzed apartment listing descriptions in the San Francisco metro area to find the number of listings mentioning concessions in the first quarter of 2018. For the purpose of this analysis, concessions were defined as perks in the rental listing description offered to renters signing a new lease. The full list of concessions analyzed includes: free rent (i.e. mentions of free weeks/months of rent, or listings mentioning "no rent for" a length of time), waived deposits, cash bonuses, gift cards, no rent increases for a length of time, ride sharing promo codes, and free streaming service subscriptions (including Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime).

ii HotPads defines San Francisco's most affordable apartments as those in the least expensive third of the rental market.

iii Each tier contains one-third of the rentals in the San Francisco metro area. Rentals are divided into the bottom, middle and top tiers based on their asking rent.

SOURCE Hotpads, Inc.

For further information: Lauren Thompson, HotPads,