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San Francisco’s most affordable apartments: How much do they cost?

Alas, still a lot of money

An aerial photo staring straight down the face of San Francisco skyscrapers. Photo by Abdulzhelilova Susan

Every month, San Francisco’s most popular online rental platforms release regular reports about the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the city. The results are almost always upsettingly high.

Those who can’t afford San Francisco’s median prices may be left wondering what recourse any of these sites offer. With that in mind, Curbed SF looked at how much renters may expect to pay for the bottom 25 percent of homes listed on each service.

  • The rental site Zumper says that prices jumped up 2.7 percent since the end of August and some 1.8 percent year over year in September. A single-bedroom apartment now rents for an average $3,480/month in San Francisco on that site. Zumper spokesperson Crystal Chen says, “The bottom 25 percent for one bedrooms ranged between $1,500 and $3,100 last month.”
  • Competitor ApartmentList also notes that prices are up from the month prior, although by a less drastic 0.4 percent to $3,080/month. Note that, back in June, ApartmentList radically changed the way it calculates median rents, resulting at the time in a shockingly cheap (by SF standards) estimate of $2,410/month, which has since skyrocketed. But an ApartmentList spokesperson tells Curbed SF that they can’t calculate what their cheapest listings are right now.
  • Competitor Abodo splits the difference between both of the above, estimating $3,240/month for a single bed in the city, up one percent from last month. No year over year estimate is available, since last year Abodo wasn’t calculating SF rents every month. As of today, the bottom quarter of one-bed listings on the site start at $600/month and go up to $2,995/month. Abodo spokesperson Sam Radbil tells Curbed SF that the median in the lower 25 percent in September was $2,399/month.
  • RENTCafe (whose report is not yet available online) delivers the most dire figure of all, a queasy $3,440/month in SF, up 0.4 percent from last year, but only $2 since last month. A RENTCafe spokesperson says that the bottom 25 percent of rents charged in September ranged from $1,190 to $2,900.
  • Finally, a single-bedroom SF apartment on Craigslist lists for a median price of $3,595/month. The most affordable listing (not counting a $500/month mobile home) is $750/month, with the bottom quarter topping out at $2,650/month.
Photo by Abdulzhelilova Susan