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The most expensive ZIP codes in San Francisco for renters

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Annual rankings show the effects of east side development

Five large steel globe-like structures in a circle, with mirrored inlays facing each other. It’s still under construction.
Outside Chase Center in Mission Bay.
Photo by Patricia Chang

Last week, rental site Rent Cafe released its annual rankings of the most expensive ZIP codes for renters in the United States, a yearly tabulation that’s painful to witness but also chock full of important data.

Out of 50 spots, San Francisco appears four times on the list. Cited areas comprise nearly 15 percent of the city’s 27 ZIP codes. And almost all of the priciest rent activity is clustered on SF’s east side, where the majority of new housing development has taken root.

Outside of the city, other Bay Area towns like Sunnyvale, Santa Monica, Redwood City, Mountain View, Menlo Park, Cupertino, and Foster City appear on the list as well.

Here’s how SF’s most price points stacked up this year:

  • 94105: No surprise that this is the top showing for SF. This ZIP code covers the East Cut, Rincon Hill, and parts of South Beach. Rent Cafe calculates a median market rent of $4,858 per month here across all sorts of units, up 4.1 percent year over year. Overall, this ZIP is the sixth priciest nationwide—same as last year.
  • 94158: This ZIP is pretty much coterminous with Mission Bay and falls into second place for SF and 11th overall for the entire country, with a median market rent price of $4,614. That’s 5.3 percent more than in 2018 when it ranked 13th place nationally. It might be too early to blame the Warriors for the rising rents, but there’s always next year.
  • 94105: The 30th place showing for this ZIP encompasses a part of South Beach but also touches South Park, Dogpatch, Embarcadero, and all of Potrero Hill—essentially forming a ring around Mission Bay on the waterfront. That’s a difference of a few yards and a few hundred dollars per month, as these neighborhoods together average $4,091 per month in market rent, up 3.4 percent from 2018. The 30th place ranking remains unchanged from 2018.
  • 94103: This covers almost all of SoMa, including western SoMa, the only SF neighborhood on the Rent Cafe breakdown to come in at less than four grand per month—in this case $3,887. It’s also the biggest mover of the year, plummeting ten spots down to 38th place nationally compared to 2018. Rent Cafe spokesperson Adrian Rosenberg tells Curbed SF this is simply because price appreciation in other neighborhoods ran wild last year, while rising a fairly meager 0.7 percent here.

Outside of SF, the most expensive Bay Area ZIP code was Redwood City’s 94063, which repeated its 25th place performance from last year, now averaging $4,129.

Menlo Park’s 94025 region saw the Bay Area’s biggest rent hikes compared to last year, up 10.8 percent to $4,102 and a 29th place showing. Nationally, only two other ZIPs saw higher increase than Menlo Park’s ZIP code, both of which can be found in Manhattan.