VIDEO: Cheap Bay Area apartments harder to find as demand for renting increases

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Not only are the roads getting crowded but so is the demand for housing.

Cheap apartments are getting harder to find, as more and more people are looking to rent instead of buy.

We’re becoming a nation of renters. The national rental search company RentCafe says in the decade after 2006, the number of renters increased by more than 23 million.

That’s while fewer than 700,000 Americans became new homeowners.

Almost a quarter of America’s cities changed from homeowner-majority to renter-majority. And some of the most dramatic changes were here in the Bay Area.

Fremont, the Bay Area’s fourth-biggest city, saw its renter population jump by nearly one-third since 2006. Only five other cities nationwide had bigger increases.

In the Bay Area, Oakland has the biggest proportion of renters, nearly 60 percent.

San Francisco is right behind with 56 percent.

San Jose saw the biggest net gain in the renting population; more than 96,800 people since 2006.

But unlike San Francisco and Oakland, it remains an owner-majority market.

Real estate experts say the trend is fueled by a preference for young workers to rent instead of own–as well as the new tax law reducing incentives for home buyers.

The tech boom is having a major impact on rental prices in Silicon Valley.

The real estate site Zumper.com says a one-bedroom apartment in Mountain View is now going for an average of $3,520.

That’s $125 more than in San Francisco.

Menlo Park, Cupertino, and Palo Alto round out the top 5.

As for the biggest increase, we’re back in Fremont, where the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment jumped nearly 20 percent this month to more than $2,600.

Real estate experts say the trend towards renting will probably accelerate because of new tax laws that reduce the incentives for home buyers.

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