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San Francisco, San Jose receive F grade from renters

Oakland squeaks out a D grade

The San Francisco skyline at sunrise, in silhouette.          By YOSHINORI KUMAGAI

Rental site ApartmentList released the results of its latest renter confidence survey this week, and the marks for San Francisco are grave albeit not surprising.

The site’s users who reside in San Francisco love the city overall, but are so disgruntled over the cost of living that they gave San Francisco an F grade in the affordability category. Ouch.

By and large San Francisco earned positive marks for quality of life, as survey respondents gave the city a B+ grade overall. In the previous ApartmentList survey—released in late 2016—that same grade was an A-.

Back in 2016, ApartmentList users flunked the city’s rent prices too and they offer the same verdict now, potentially undermining the old adage about having nowhere to go but up.

In the same ApartmentList survey, San Jose respondents also gave an F grade to South Bay rents. Oakland barely squeaked out passing marks by receiving a D for affordability.

For December of 2017—the final month the site ran this particular survey—ApartmentList reports that median prices among its listings were flat year-over-year in San Francisco and Oakland, and up 2.7 percent in San Jose.

The figures do come with a few caveats, however: First that the results only represent people who actually took ApartmentList’s survey on its site between October 2016 and December 2017.

         By Oleg Podzorov

While that adds up to more than 45,000 responses nationwide, site spokesperson Sydney Bennet told Curbed SF that only 148 of those were San Francisco renters, 105 San Jose residents, and only 60 were from Oakland.

Bennet also noted that a number of former residents tried to score the Bay Area cities, but the site tossed their answers out.

Which, of course, brings up the second important qualifier—namely that a survey of residents can only capture the opinions of people who are able to afford living in San Francisco right now. Anyone squeezed particularly hard by the housing crisis since 2016 and forced to relocate won’t be part of the survey again, which means that responses reflect only the wealthiest and/or luckiest people who remain.