San Francisco Resident Motivations 2022 (Infographic)

Last modified on May 12th, 2022


Without a doubt, San Francisco’s housing market was one of the most impacted by COVID-19. According to ALN Apartment Data, San Francisco and Oakland occupancy rates were at 92% at the end of 2019, but by Q1 2021 occupancy rates had dropped to just 88.5%. This decrease was largely driven by remote workers and other residents leaving the city in search of more affordable housing.

Although Bay Area occupancy rates are back up in 2022 and almost the same as they were pre-pandemic, its residents’ expectations of property management are not. In fact, our 2022 San Francisco Resident Motivations report revealed that renters’ preferences have shifted and changed just as much as the city’s rental market.

In-depth findings are available in the full report, but we also created a helpful infographic of key insights for San Francisco area property managers and owners. Continue reading for additional context behind the infographic’s stats.

Key insight #1: San Franciscans love S.F. but not its rental market

When we surveyed Bay Area renters, we wanted to know what they loved most about living in the San Francisco metro community. Their responses showed just how much the city has to offer its residents:

  • “Living in an urban area that has great restaurants, theater, museums, and parks.”
  • “Having [the] ocean, beach, and the beautiful city all around you.”
  • “The diversity of the communities and friendly people.”
  • “Being close to everything.”

However, we also asked, “If there was one thing you’d change about renting in the San Francisco metro community, what would it be?” Responses included:

  • “Middle-class income cannot qualify to rent/buy at regular market rates, but makes too much to rent/buy below-market rate options.”
  • “The amount of money you have to pay for the small space you live in.”
  • “The lack of amenities for the price of your rental/home.”

Because San Francisco’s notoriously high rental prices are widely and frequently reported on, the residents’ dissatisfaction with them was somewhat expected. What was surprising, however, is that the overwhelming majority of our survey’s respondents (67%) said it was the one thing they would change about renting in San Francisco.

Key insight #2: San Franciscans are unlikely to recommend their property manager or landlord

As part of our 2022 San Francisco Resident Motivations report, we asked current renters, “How likely is it that you would recommend your property management company or landlord to a friend or colleague?” Their responses were measured on a scale between 0 to 10, where 0 is “not at all likely” and 10 is “extremely likely.”

According to survey responses, only 27% of San Francisco area renters would be likely to recommend their property management company to a friend or colleague. For perspective, out of the five metro areas we surveyed — San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, and Miami — the only metro area that scored lower for property management satisfaction with residents than San Francisco was Los Angeles.

Thankfully, San Francisco residents also revealed exactly what property management companies can do to improve their satisfaction rates, as we’ll explore next. 

Key insight #3: San Francisco renters want property managers to improve communication

When it comes to the best ways to keep renters satisfied and attract more prospects, property managers and owners should start by prioritizing better communication with their residents. That’s because, according to 48% of San Francisco renters we surveyed, the following has become more important since the pandemic began:

  • Faster response times
  • Prompt resolution of maintenance issues
  • Proactive communication

While communication is key, it’s not the only area to focus on. When it comes to tools, technology, and leasing terms, San Francisco renters want more now than they did pre-pandemic.

Compared to before the pandemic, how important are each of the following factors to you now? MORE
Digital tools to help manage rentals 36%
Access to smart home technology 34%
Flexible leasing terms 48%


While several of these areas can be improved immediately, some may take more time or additional support. Demonstrating to residents that you’re actively working to improve their satisfaction may be enough to keep them happy in the short-term.

For even more ideas on how to improve your resident experience, download the full 2022 San Francisco Resident Motivations report today. And for ideas on how you can quickly and easily get digital tools up and running for your renters, let’s chat.


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