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Color-Coding San Francisco's Totally Bonkers Rental Market

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We all already know that the laws of supply and demand have pushed San Francisco rents through the roof over the past few years. Tens of thousands of people are moving to the city, but the supply of housing is relatively fixed thanks to zoning laws. Now Priceonomics, a local data company, has broken down those price increases and provided one of the more accurate surveys of the current rental scene that we've seen. According to their analysis, the city's most expensive neighborhoods, ranked by the price of one-bedrooms, are now downtown, Mid-Market, and some southern parts of the city. Hayes Valley, the Financial District, the Castro, SoMa, Bernal Heights, and Potrero Hill top the list, driven by proximity to highways and shuttles and the construction of luxe new apartment buildings in those areas.


Almost wherever you go in San Francisco looking for an apartment, prices will be high. Priceonomics puts the median price of a San Francisco apartment renting today at $3,600, up from $3,023 last year. Studios are fetching $2,300, one-bedrooms come in at $3,120, the median two-bedroom costs $4,000, and three-bedrooms are going for $4,795. They've also put together a handy price cheat sheet with median prices for apartments of every size in neighborhoods across the city.

The city's current most expensive neighborhoods are also among those that have seen the biggest price increases over the past three years. The price of a one-bedroom in Bernal Heights has more than doubled since 2011. Civic Center, the Mission, and Hayes Valley have also seen hefty increases. Meanwhile, traditionally expensive neighborhoods like Pacific Heights and Russian Hill are still expensive but have seen much more modest jumps—in fact, the median price of a one-bedroom in Pacific Heights hasn't risen at all over three years.

In the past year, even neighborhoods once considered very distant from the city's center have begun to rise. The Excelsior saw a 30 percent jump in one year and the Portola District rose 20 percent, although Hayes Valley and Bernal Heights still saw the biggest increases. Some of the far southern neighborhoods like the Bayview, the Excelsior, and Portola still offer some of the city's best deals, along with the Outer Sunset and Outer Richmond. However, with the most desirable neighborhoods in the city shifting southward, even those areas will likely see further rises. So, if you have a rent-controlled apartment, hold on for dear life.

· The San Francisco Rent Explosion: Part II [Priceonomics]
· The Ten Most Expensive One Bedrooms for Sale in S.F. [Curbed SF]
· Past Coverage of Condo Construction [Curbed SF]