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Everything else you could buy for SF's median rent of $3,715

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While the US national average for a one-bedroom is $1,120/month, San Francisco's is far steeper—here's what else you could be spending all that money on

It’s almost October, and the rents are still high. How high? Well, apartment site Abodo reckons that a single bedroom in San Francisco now runs $3,715. (A six percent decline from the Abodo median of a month prior, which itself was a six percent spike.)

Earlier in the month, other rental sites provided median figures ranging from $3,420 (Zumper) to as much as $3,866 (RentJungle). An average of the averages comes out to around $3,600/month.

Meanwhile, ApartmentList estimates a US national average of $1,120/month for a one-bedroom apartment. But numbers are so abstract; in material terms, how much are we surrendering up every month to live in San Francisco instead of Anytown, USA?


Well, the difference is as much as:

  • A monthly bottle of Le Pin, the 18th most expensive wine in the entire world.
  • A monthly 20-course "gastro-sensory meal" at Sublimotion in Ibiza, Spain (supposedly the most expensive restaurant in the world), plus most of the price of the airfare. Speaking of which...
  • Earlier this year, CNN Money editor in chief Richard Quest flew around the world—10 cities in eight countries—for less than $2,400. Yes, for the difference in price between renting in San Francisco and most other US cities, you could do your own world tour every month. (Although how you’d ever get any work done is a different question altogether...)

  • You could also buy two (and a half) iPhone 7 Pluses (the 256 GB models, for $969 each) each month. In less than four months, you’d have caught up to the number of new iPhones owned by Chinese real estate scion Wang Sicong’s dog.
  • For the price of renting in San Francisco, you could afford a daily cup of kopi luwak, the most expensive coffee in the world (up to $80 per cup). Although you may not want to when you find out how it’s made. (You’ve been warned.)
  • Or, you could lease eight new 2017 Jaguar XE Premiums every month. (Note that that’s going by the rate offered by San Francisco Jaguar dealerships, which you’d no longer have access to.)

  • For the same money, you could buy a purebred akita, rottweiller, French or English bulldog, Cavalier King Charles spaniel, or pharaoh hound from a licensed dealer every month, all among the most expensive dog breeds in the world. (Don’t ask us what you need all of these dogs for. That’s your business.)
  • Or how about a pair of monthly saffron crocus bulbs at market rates? The substance produced by saffron blossoms is so prized as a spice, dying agent, and medicine that it’s known as "the red gold."
  • Or if you prefer something a little less abstract, you could just buy two ounces of gold, 49 ounces of silver, or two ounces of platinum with change left over. Of course, at that point, you could also just keep the cash. But we’re to understand gold appreciates a bit more.

The only city in America with precisely the $1,120/month? Richmond, Virginia. So, are we all that much wealthier (equivalently) than Richmond residents just by virtue of waking up by the bay? Or are they getting the better end of the deal saving on their paychecks?

The answer is presumably in the eye of the beholder. But you’re probably not sitting in Richmond while you read Curbed San Francisco, are you?