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What $4,500 rents you in San Francisco right now

Five new rentals from Nob Hill to Bayview

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: $4,500.

↑ This ad for a two-bed, one-bath “loft-style apartment” (however subjective a term that may be) in South Beach promises “ten foot ceilings and exposed brick,” but only in “some units” without specifying whether this particular unit counts among them. (Buyer—or in this case renter—beware.) Here, $4,380/month nets tenants 674 square feet, but the Arc Light building banks on the appeal of its ballpark adjacent location and list of amenities that includes roof deck (with dog run), gym, and electric car charging station—presumably if you can afford this kind of rent you’re more likely to be in the Tesla market. The homes themselves also boast “high gloss, color-dyed” concrete floors, and the resulting sheen does indeed come through in the pics.

↑ In Nob Hill there’s another apartment that’s making a bid for charm by association, advertised as a “sweet, formal feeling two-level, cottage-like apartment.” Whether or not traditional cottage appeal usually means two beds and two baths for $4,500/month may be in the eye of the beholder, but in this case it includes “clean, white kitchen, “new beautiful dark large plank hardwood floors and large windows, “brass chandelier with lamp shades,” and a “fireplace surrounded by Emperor Norton marble” beneath the trapezoidal ceiling in the living room. There’s a backyard garden too, but no dedicated parking. And although the emperor who lends his name to the marble was supposedly big on dogs, the write-up for this place doesn’t specify if the apartment shares his historical affections.

If this “newly renovated” Bayview house on Jamestown Avenue looks familiar, it’s because it appeared in a previous Comparisons at the beginning of June. But this two-bed, two-bath looker is back in the rotation again by way of celebrating its welcome (if surprising) price cut, as $300 tumbled off of the asking rent in less than three weeks, bringing it down to $4,500/month. The place has kept its excitable ad copy promising “Location! View! Privacy! Great Community!” and also its gorgeous ceiling beams. This one came in second to last in the previous round of voting, but maybe the concession to renter’s pocketbooks will up its ante this time.

Potrero Hill offers another “fully remodeled” apartment, this one boasting its alleged energy efficiency on top of “turn of the century” roots. The city assessor dates the homes to 1900, although that might just mean that its records were lost circa 1906. Whatever the date, the sales pitch now is “11-foot ceilings,” “granite counters,” and “maple cabinets,” Also of note, the “owner will consider a small dog only.” The price is less on the small side, however, asking $4,500/month for two beds and two baths. (The advertised two square feet of space is presumably a typo, but the way San Francisco rentals are going these days, you never can tell.)

↑ The last bid is for a “furnished modern conversion condo” in the Financial District down the street from Chinatown in a circa-1908 building on Grant Avenue. Once upon a time this same building hosted the city’s first telephone exchange, but after a 2004 conversion the numbers it’s ringing up are $4,500/month for a one-bed, one-and-a-half-bath, 687-square-foot apartment. Note that similar units in the same building have listed for roughly $1 million in the recent past. In any case, the place allows both cats and dogs, which in the current market is worth a premium.


Which rental would you choose?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    South Beach loft
    (104 votes)
  • 17%
    Nob Hill apartment
    (68 votes)
  • 21%
    Bayview house
    (86 votes)
  • 7%
    Potrero Hill apartment
    (29 votes)
  • 28%
    FiDi condo
    (112 votes)
399 votes total Vote Now