Renters in the San Francisco metropolitan area spent a massive $14.6 billion on rent in 2014, a figure that was up by $1.7 billion, or 13.5 percent, over 2013, according to new research from real estate website Zillow. That jump was the second highest in the nation, after only neighboring San Jose, where the amount spent on rent went up by 14.4 percent. The increase in the San Francisco metropolitan area—which includes the East Bay, North Bay, and San Mateo—was due both to an estimated 14,000 new renters in the region and to an increase in the amount spent on rent. The average renter household in the San Francisco area spent $163 more per month on rent in 2014 than in 2013.
Nationally, the number of renters grew by 1.9 percent in 2014, and the median rent paid was up 2.9 percent. Although San Francisco still doesn't pay as much total rent as larger metropolitan areas like New York ($48.2 billion) or Los Angeles ($32.5 billion), its rent increases were far greater than those in any other city except San Jose—an alarming distinction, no doubt, but also not so surprising, given that a single earner in San Francisco needs to earn more than seven times the current minimum wage to afford the median rental.
Denver was the Bay Area's closest competitor, and rents there rose by only $86 per month for the average renter household. In Washington, DC, and Miami, rents were up by $59 per month, and in the New York metropolitan area the average renter household paid only $20 per month more in rent during 2014 than 2013.