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Rent Battle: What You Can Get in San Francisco vs. New York

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For the past year or so, we've been obsessively comparing San Francisco's rents to New York's. It was shocking when we first heard that San Francisco may be more expensive than our traditionally exorbitant East Coast counterpart, but now we've resignedly accepted it as the norm. Here now, we take a closer look at what various rental prices will get you on both coasts. What did we learn? It's nearly impossible to find something for $1,500 in either city, but as the prices approach the $3,000 mark, suddenly the options in New York start looking practically droolworthy to San Franciscans.

The Rent: $1,500

↑ It is very nearly impossible these days to live alone in San Francisco for $1,500, or even to share a newly rented two-bedroom for that amount. But we did find one Outer Richmond in-law studio that will do the trick. Of course it doesn't have a full kitchen, but at least the fridge is full size, and there is a half-decent closet.

↑ $1,500 doesn't go very far in New York, either. There's a halfway-decent one-bedroom in the still-fringey neighborhood of Bed-Stuy, but it's in quite the subway wasteland, with the nearest stop blocks and blocks away. A bus does stop outside, at least. It's pretty tiny, but the amount of space definitely beats San Francisco's in-law option, and there is a stove, which is not an option for this price in SF. The Rent: $2,000

↑ Somewhat surprisingly, a one-bedroom in the Inner Sunset is attainable for $2,000. The layout of the apartment is somewhat confusing, with pictures that don't clearly show which room is for living and which is for sleeping. The advertised backyard is a bit of a rubble heap, but hey, it's a backyard for $2,000.

↑ In New York, you can get into Manhattan for $2,000. Of course, it's just a studio, but it's in an East Village brownstone and there are big windows letting in plenty of light. It's so narrow that there barely seems to be room to walk, but this is Manhattan! The Rent: $2,500

↑ $2,500 is the sweet spot for a nice studio in San Francisco, but you can also get a very nice one-bedroom in West Portal for that price. The views are leafy, the kitchen is modern, and there's even a little outdoor deck. The neighborhood is more suburban than city, but the Muni train stops half a block away. The bedroom is massive, and the landlord is open to it being divided into two rooms if needed. Utilities are also included. Is this a Craigslist scam?


↑ New York and San Francisco seem to be on pretty even footing at the $2,500 rate, although there are more one-beds available around the various boroughs of New York than there are in San Francisco at this price. This South Williamsburg one-bedroom is pretty representative of what's on the market at the price point. It's basic but livable, with an updated kitchen and bathroom. The Rent: $3,000

↑ Believe it or not, it's no longer possible to get a great one-bedroom in every San Francisco neighborhood for $3,000, but this one-bed along the Panhandle is legitimately lovely. There is a backyard filled with flower gardens and period details adding charm within the apartment. The kitchen is fine, if nothing special.


↑ It's very, very difficult to find a two-bedroom in San Francisco for $3,000, but in New York there are options. This true two-bedroom in Murray Hill is fresh and bright, with an eat-in kitchen and shiny parquetry floors. Murray Hill may not be the trendiest part of town, but it is central. The Rent: $3,500

↑ In the Inner Richmond, a two-bedroom is available with laundry, big closets, and tons of windows. The apartment is around the corner from the Presidio and all of the restaurants of the Inner Richmond. And, shockingly, parking comes included.

↑ If the Inner Richmond two-bedroom seems like a good deal, this three-bedroom on the Upper East Side is on a completely different level. There are exposed brick walls, shiny new appliances, and windows everywhere. Those windows do look out onto the very adjacent brick wall of another building, but paying less than $1,200 per room is something that San Franciscans can only dream of. · Yikes, Are San Francisco's Rents Closing In on New York's? [Curbed SF]
· SF's Median Rent for One-Bedrooms Hit $3,500 in May [Curbed SF]