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Survey says: Renters love San Francisco, hate Oakland

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Prepare your outrage now

The rental site Apartment List released their second annual survey of renter confidence last week, and San Francisco’s report card falls into the "mixed but not surprising" category.

Survey responders gave the city as a whole an A-, even while leveling failing grades at affordability and, interestingly, the quality of local schools. Public transit yielded an A- in itself, which is possibly surprising given its constant woes.

Then again, it could be we take for granted how extensive the Muni network is and how many transit arteries the city has open to other counties. Voters gave a B grade to commute time, a related but separate category.

Job opportunities in the city yielded an A+ grade, while recreation and the weather (love ya, Karl) both ranked A-. So, nobody can afford it here, but we love it anyway. A tale as old as 1849.

Compare this to Oakland, which ApartmentListers gave a rather shocking F grade overall, complaining about affordability and crime while giving the town only mediocre grades in jobs and recreation. Only public transit and the weather netted a grade above a C.

Berkeley earned an A- score overall, while San Jose only a C-. Given the spread, some locals (particularly Oaklanders) might be seeing red over ApartmentList’s scores, but it’s those polled who handed down the grades, not the site itself.

The site polled 30,000 people total, divided over 118 cities. That’s an average of 254 people in each locale, but presumably not evenly distributed. (Update: ApartmentList data honch Andew Woo says that they surveyed 165 people in San Francisco and about 80 in Oakland.)

So are people really THAT unhappy in Oakland (and that grudgingly cheerful in San Francisco)? Well, we suspect there are more Oaklanders up on their city than this single survey would suggest, although numbers about it are hard to find.

Last November, a Chamber of Commerce survey of 600 Oaklanders found that two-thirds of respondents were optimistic about Oakland, particularly the local economy. Sixty-one percent said that the city was heading in the right direction, up from a bizarrely low 17 percent in the same survey in 2013.

Then again, CoC conducted that poll before this year’s disarray in the police department, which might have soured the good vibes. And of course, it’s expected different surveys with different questions will yield different results.

Back in San Francisco, EMC Research concluded its own annual San Francisco Survey over the weekend, but results aren’t ready yet. The city auditor gave San Francisco straight B’s across the board in 2015, although that analysis does not include the critical affordability question.


Watch: A musician makes her Oakland home sing

Pictured: The start of San Francisco’s housing crisis.