Bay Area // San FranciscoFeb. 1, 2023Updated: Feb. 1, 2023 12:04 pm A “for rent” sign posted in front of an apartment building in San Francisco in 2021. The city and entire Bay Area are seeing rents drop.Justin Sullivan, HODELETE60 / TNS San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area saw apartment rents fall in January at a higher rate than the national average, another sign of a slowing Bay Area economy that could be hurt further by mass tech layoffs, according to data from Apartment List. San Francisco median rents fell 1.1% to $2,174 per month compared to December, one of the biggest drops in the country. Metro area rents are down 5% compared to March 2020 when the pandemic started, making San Francisco and San Jose the only two metro areas with more than 1 million people that have rents that are below pre-pandemic levels. San Jose’s median price fell 0.4% to $2,370 per month compared to December. Prices are 2% lower than March 2020. Oakland saw a 0.9% monthly decline to a $1,613 monthly median rent. National rents fell for the fifth straight month, with prices down 0.3% compared to December. Prices are still up 3.3% compared to January 2022, but growth has slowed in the past two years. Two thirds of the 100 largest US cities saw rents down month over month. A wave of layoffs in tech is expected to reduce demand for apartments in the Bay Area. “Softness in the tech industry is likely to prevent a strong rebound in Bay Area rents,” Apartment List said. Nationally, rents are expected to climb again during the busier spring and summer months. Bay Area home values have also declined in the past six months as mortgage rates have shot up, according to Zillow. Roland Li is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @rolandlisf Roland Li covers commercial real estate for the business desk, focusing on the Bay Area office and retail sectors. He was previously a reporter at San Francisco Business Times, where he won one award from the California News Publishers Association and three from the National Association of Real Estate Editors. He is the author of “Good Luck Have Fun: The Rise of eSports,” a 2016 book on the history of the competitive video game industry. Before moving to the Bay Area in 2015, he studied and worked in New York. He has freelanced for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and other local publications. His hobbies of his include swimming and urban photography.