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What $1,600 rents you in San Francisco right now

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Five new rentals, from Ingleside to the Tenderloin

Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a regular column exploring what you can rent for a set dollar amount in different neighborhoods. Is one person's studio another person's townhouse? Let's find out. Today's price: $1,600.

↑ Few things are in the eye of the beholder quite so dramatically as renting a place for a semi-affordable price in San Francisco. This ad for a one-bath studio apartment in the Tenderloin dubs the space on O’Farrell Street a “large studio,” for example. How large? Just 330 square feet. A year ago that’s what we’d call a micro-studio, but for $1,600/month—half the market rent on most platforms—maybe that does qualify as roomy, depressing though it may be. The place allows cats but no dogs.


↑ On the other hand, the owner of this one-bath micro-studio in SoMa, renting for $1,595/month, doesn’t mince words or make mountains into molehills. “Live small, live nice,” says the ad, promising that this Ninth Street bolthole down the block from Twitter is—in capital letters—“SMALL.” How small? “Main room [is] about 8x10,” notes the ad. Be it ever so humble, there may still be renters who want to call it home if the alternative is leaving San Francisco or hitting the streets. No word about pets. The rent at least covers the utilities; although odds are it doesn’t take much to heat the place up in the winter.

↑ Here’s a one-bath studio in Nob Hill that doesn’t sound like much. Literally, one of the major selling points of this California Street space is that sound does not carry despite the close confines. “Acoustically engineered with the goal of achieving residential condominium levels of quiet,” the ad promises. “A two-year restoration of the building included double-layers of sheet rock asymmetrically installed with RC Channel to create air spaces between the residential units, [results] in an acoustic buffer to reduce lateral sound transfer.” Well, sounds fancy—assuming it works. The long, pod-like apartments are what you might call “one look” homes; one look and you’ve seen it all, every $1,600/month’s worth of it. No mention of pets.

↑ It doesn’t take much to take in all of this one-bath in-law in the Sunset at transit junction of 19th and Taraval. The stone wall is a nice touch. Ads like this present the existential question—at what point is an alleged studio really just a single room? But for most renters, the more pressing question will be how much it costs ($1,600/month) and if pets are allowed (again, no word).

↑ Finally, there’s this almost deceptively nice Ingleside single-bed, single-bath apartment in a pretty looking house near CCSF for $1,600/month. This one has popped up on Comparisons before, and if there’s any obvious drawback other than the out the way neighborhood, it’s the suspicion that it might be a room-share trying to pass as an apartment listing—a common Craigslist cover-up when browsing adds for less than $2,000/month these days. But since all home seekers are allowed a margin of hope, we take the place at its word for now, even if that word is “no” for house pets.


Which Rental Would You Choose?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Tenderloin Studio
    (66 votes)
  • 12%
    SoMa Micro-Studio
    (52 votes)
  • 37%
    Nob Hill Studio
    (156 votes)
  • 13%
    Sunset In-Law
    (56 votes)
  • 20%
    Ingleside Apartment
    (83 votes)
413 votes total Vote Now