While a few weeks for 2017, the year 2018 is already raring for its first headline, as HotPads (the San Francisco-based rental site owned by the real estate site Zillow) published a list of what it projects will be the most in-demand San Francisco neighborhoods next year.
How precisely does the site go about polishing its crystal ball? Spokesperson Lauren Thompson says, “HotPads looked at page views and price cuts for listings in SF neighborhoods, as well as neighborhood-level rent forecasts and home value forecasts.”
Relying on page views and forecasts mean HotPads is not necessarily measuring renter interest in San Francisco—it’s measuring renter interest only on HotPads, which may or may not reflect the general public.
It pays to be skeptical of this sort of prognostication from a limited and artificial sample. That said, the site’s predictions are head-turning enough to be worth consideration, if only for the sake of seeing whether or not the following neighborhoods pan out.
According to the next-year-over-year predictions, this is where the demand will go in the months to come:
- Ingleside: Yes, HotPads is giving the nod to the city’s oft-overlooked and under-appreciated inland southwestern flank. “Ingleside rental listings had the most page views of all the San Francisco neighborhoods [...] and median rent that’s about $500 less than the rest of the city,” the blog notes. HotPads records the median Ingleside rent across all types of homes is $3,796/month.
Right now the site features only ten neighborhood listings, which means that there’s not a very large sample with which to work. For comparison, over on Craigslist, the Ingleside median is $2,675/month across 111 ads. [Note: Thompson says HotPads used Zillow’s rent index to square median rents, “Which includes estimated rent values for units both on and off the market,” although the data is from September.]
- Silver Terrace: Sandwiched between Bernal Heights and Bayview, Silver Terrace came in fourth for page views on the site. Again, the fact that HotPads identifies it as a relatively affordable neighborhood (median rent is $3,840) is made more challenging by the fact that only a few Silver Terrace homes are listed on the site—just two right now. Most renters know it’s a cheaper option than neighborhoods to the north anyway.
- Little Hollywood: Now this is what you’d call a bold prediction. Little Hollywood, a tinier-than-tiny SF neighborhood just a few blocks north of the Brisbane Baylands, will be the third hottest neighborhood in SF come next year, according to HotPads.
Apparently it comes in ninth place for page views on the site, which would be pretty impressive given that there are fewer than 2,000 people in the entire neighborhood. Right now the site features only one listing in Little Hollywood. Still, it has a good reputation; in 2014, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Carl Nolte praised its small town vibe, craftsman homes, and working class demographics.
- Central Sunset: This pick seems notable mostly for its specificity. Where precisely is the Central Sunset? Depends on who you ask; however, according to the site, it’s between 19th and 37th Avenue, north of Ortega. What’s special about this particular slice of the pie? Well, it’s the tenth most searched area on the site, whereas the rest of the Sunset doesn’t even make the list, so maybe it’ll turn out to be a happy medium after all.
- Sunnyside: Rounding out the top five and also in fifth place for searches is Sunnyside. Not too surprising given that this small neighborhood is situated as a sort of transitional neighborhood bridging east and west. And although its highly residential nature means there’s not much there there, that’s also what keeps the price down. On HotPads it’s $4,095/month.
Back during the previous 21st century real estate boom, the San Francisco Chronicle predicted that as an “under-the-radar blue collar neighborhood,” Sunnyside was primed to gentrify; that was in 2005. Maybe second time’s a charm?