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 another person’s townhouse? Today’s price: $2,200.
A lot of SF apartment ads boast about views—so many, in fact, that it stops seeming impressive. After all, it’s a city of hills and views are usually part of the package. But in the case of this studio apartment in Pac Heights, the living room’s bay windows are almost completely taken up squarely by the prettiest part of the most gorgeous building on the block—the circa-1904 Congregation Sherith Israel synagogue. Oddly, the ad does not play this up; in fact, it says very little about this home at all beyond: “Studio apartment at the corner of California and Webster with lots of light, great walk in closet and classic SF details.” It’s $2,200 per month. No mention of pets.
Similarly, Diamond Heights really does have some of SF’s best views, but the listing for this studio on Red Rock doesn't mention it. This “lovely large studio”—a little over 470 square feet, for those wondering what large means in this neighborhood—sports a “remodeled bath with beautiful granite counters” and “beautiful grounds with a koi pond and water features.” The faux stone flooring in the kitchen is an odd choice, but at least it’s memorable. “A small pet with references may be accepted,” notes the ad. (Hopefully, your cat’s old frat buddies are around to talk him up.) The rent is $2,200 per month; optional parking will push the bill higher by $175.
In what feels like another game of the incredible shrinking apartment, the offerings turn more economical when it comes to floorspace. This in-law in the Sunset on 30th Avenue, for example, is only 360 square feet. But rather than a studio, it’s a full two-bed, one-bath apartment—the largest of the bedrooms is 11 by 11—that comes with the promise that “entire unit is like new.” The kitchenette has no stove. The entire unit has no actual living room. And pets aren’t mentioned. Rent is $2,100 per month. On the bright side, at least it comes with a yard.
The Cubix building in SoMa always wins out in the space race when the topic boils down to size. Say what you want about the Tetris-like facade of this Fourth Street affair, this unit fits a “modern studio condo with full bath” into only 264 square feet. The ad also promises “concrete radiant heat floors” “high ceilings,” and “large windows and full size balcony”—and that’s all for $2,150 per month. Just two years ago, a similar micro-home in this building asked $1,800 per month. How times change. One thing that remains the same is the building is still pet-friendly, although the leasing agent specifics that cats or dogs should be small, which is on-brand for the locale if nothing else.
Finally, here’s a one-bed, one-bath apartment in North Beach near Kearney and Union. With 460 square feet, it’s on the larger end of offerings here, but the landlord seems quite fond of the word “no”—i.e., no pets, no parking, no laundry, and even very specifically “no view.” But the place does say yes to a $2,100 per month, so clearly they have confidence in its sufficient attractions.
Which rental would you choose?
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Pac Heights Studio
Diamond Heights Studio
North Beach Apartment