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: $3,400.
“Simplicity is the ultimate in sophistication” says the ad for this one-bed, one-bath apartment in SoMa. That sort of marketing talk is very popular with big-ticket new condos further east in the city, but this building, just off Seventh Street, dates to 1992. The third floor apartment on offer measures 511 feet for $3,400 per month, along with one parking spot in the building’s garage. “There’s even a touch of luxury in the remodeled bathroom with heated floors,” the manager promises. Pets are okay here, but with the rider of “dog size restrictions.”
Compare this to the contemporary minimalist approach at one of the new townhomes in Bayview at the Waterbend Apartments. Note that this is not part of the Shipyard development—it’s on the other side of Third Street, closer to Portola Place—but obviously hopes to capitalize on the energy of that emerging new neighborhood, opening its doors in 2016 and promising “all the modern finishes and amenities you may be looking for.” This unit isn’t much bigger than the aforementioned SoMa home—572 square feet—and the exact same price at $3,400 per month. But it’s a junior-one-bedroom, one-bathroom setup instead of the full one-bed offering, a far cry from the time when the southeastern neighborhoods offered a bargain for renters in the clutch. Pets are fine; cats add $25 to the rent, and dogs will cost $50 more.
This “stand-alone rear cottage” in the Inner Richmond with two bedrooms, one bathroom, hardwood floors, two decorative fireplaces, and a striking black backsplash in the kitchen is a dramatic—and surprising—comeback. Just a couple of weeks ago this exact same home popped up in a different ad for a different Comparisons, but now it’s returned with a whopping $500 rent hike. Rents will often raise or drop dramatically on Craigslist, but this kind of short turnaround on big-time price hike is almost unprecedented. It wasn’t the most popular pick last time, and the new rent isn’t likely to improve its fortunes. Still no word about pets, though.
In Upper Market on Pearl Street the deal is a “beautiful Romeo flat on a quaint brick road in the heart of the city” for $3,400 per month. A 2013 SFGate article about this same building notes it as a style peculiar to San Francisco, defined as “four or six units lining a central staircase with balconies where the stairs meet the street, hence the Shakespearean nod.” Common after the 1906 earthquake, zoning changes have since done away with the design, but some latter-day examples of the style linger. Here, this 1907 building offers a unit with two bedrooms and one bathroom. Alas, no pets allowed.
Finally, in the Outer Richmond, just south of the Lincoln Park Golf Course, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom comes with a remodeled kitchen and a sunny view, renting for $3,400 per month. Both bathrooms are en suite, and the third-floor locale in the low-rise western neighborhood makes for a nice view to the west. Also, no pets are allowed here, either.
Which rental would you choose?
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West SoMa Apartment
Inner Richmond Cottage
Mid-Market Romeo Flat
Outer Richmond Apartment