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What $2,400 rents you in San Francisco right now

Five new rentals, from the Outer Mission to Nob Hill—which “affordable” home would you choose?

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 is another person’s townhouse? Today’s price: $2,400.

↑ A landlord or property manager may try any number of things to catch the eye of potential renters, but this may be the first time anyone has included the offer of pizza. In the case of this studio in Nob Hill it’s not actually the pie itself but rather the fact that the apartment sits above Uncle Vito’s on Bush Street that nets special mention, along with the proximity of the Powell Street cable car lines, both deemed part of a “quintessential San Francisco” building, right down to the postcard-like exterior photo. Even more quintessentially San Francisco these days is the fact that the $2,395/month rent nets a one-bath studio advertised as merely 341 square feet. Cats are allowed, but will require an unspecified extra pet fee each month.

↑ This one-bath studio in the Marina packs a similar offer in terms of studios in early 20th century SF buildings, which almost qualify as rags to riches stories in their own right, once being built as relatively humble apartment stock but rising to kingly prices in modern San Francisco. In the case of this studio, that sum is $2,300/month, a discount from its Nob Hill competition; the ad doesn't provides any square footage measurements to compare whether it’s offering more for less, although it’s hard to get much smaller than the previous 340 feet one way or the other. The ad promises that this spot is “adorable” and “remodeled,” but also warns pet owners away.

↑ Rather than adorable, the ad for this Potrero Hill apartment suggests that it’s “charming” and also that it has a “cottage-like” quality about it, which in this case seems to mean simply that it’s clad in slightly rustic brown shingles at the front. Cottage industry ambitions aside, this unit does exceed its previous two rivals by parceling out to a full one bed, one bath space for $2,300/month, with the listing promising French doors and a plum spot near Whole Foods while cautioning that the bedroom is small but still roomy enough to fit a queen-sized mattress. Still not room enough in the lease for pets, though.

↑ This Outer Mission offering looks like an unbelievable bargain in the making. The last time this house and its distinctive atrium-like roof deck came up on Comparisons, the rent was more than $6,000/month, while this new listing vies for a fraction of that at just $2,395/month. But it’s a case of a potentially Downton Abbey-like upstairs/downstairs contrast, as this ad is actually for the much smaller second apartment on the ground floor of that same duplex, a “quiet, good-sized” but much more modest looking two-bed, one-bath pad that skips over the pet policy.

↑ Finally, for those who yearn to live in western neighborhoods, $2,395/month adds up to a one-bed, one-bath apartment in the Inner Richmond, between Geary and Anza, right next to George Washington High School. The big difference out west in this case is that the lease unambiguously permits both cats and dogs for would-be renters.


Which Rental Would You Choose?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Nob Hill studio
    (61 votes)
  • 24%
    Marina studio
    (83 votes)
  • 20%
    Potrero Hill apartment
    (69 votes)
  • 11%
    Outer Mission duplex
    (37 votes)
  • 25%
    Richmond apartment
    (84 votes)
334 votes total Vote Now