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The Google headquarters. There is a glass building with the word Google on it. In front of the building is a statue of a green android. Asif Islam/Shutterstock.com

The Bay Area’s highest rents, mapped

Home to some of the country’s most expensive neighborhoods for renters

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San Francisco’s highest-in-the-nation market rents have become proverbial in recent years, something that locals and outside observers alike take for granted. But that’s not the entire story.

This week, the rental site Rent Cafe published a list of the 50 most expensive US ZIP codes for renters, breaking down market asking rents. The rankings are based on “actual rent charged in apartment buildings with 50 or more rental units,” as furnished by the data service Yardi Matrix.

The neighborhood-to-neighborhood ZIP code approach to median rents means that San Francisco is no longer in the top slot; in fact, SF’s highest ranking on the list is sixth place. By and large, Manhattan remains the single most expensive rental region, and once divorced from the rest of New York City it floats to the top.

Even so, San Francisco and Silicon Valley provide more than their fair share of rental squeezes. Here’s how the Bay Area stacked up compared to rest of the country.

Map points are listed geographically, beginning in Berkeley, then down to Cupertino.

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1. Berkeley, 94704

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Overall: 45th in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,616

This Berkeley burgh covering most of downtown and the south side is the East Bay’s only appearance on the list. For the most part, that’s a good thing insofar as Bay Area housing affordability goes.

A large building with a dome and a tower on the edge of a cliff. In the distance are mountains. By Bond Rocket Images/Shutterstock.com

2. San Francisco, 94105

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Overall: Sixth in the U.S.

Median market rent: $4,666

No surprises here, as this area spans parts of South Beach, Rincon Hill, and the area recently rechristened the East Cut. This area includes such tony new towers as 181 Fremont, One Rincon Hill, and the Jasper.

A cityscape with buildings of various sizes and shapes. The cityscape is adjacent to a body of water. Photo by Nathan Ezra

3. San Francisco, 94158

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Overall: 14th in the U.S.

Median market rent: $4,336

Mission Bay comes into its own, beating out traditionally ritzy and posh SF neighborhoods as now one of the most expensive locales in the entire country.

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4. San Francisco, 94103

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Overall: 29th in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,974

SoMa moves in for an accolade most SoMa residents probably never wanted as the region’s fourth priciest rental locale. This ZIP covers almost the entire neighborhood and a few crumbs of the Mission, including the mission itself.

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5. San Francisco, 94107

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Overall: 31st in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,928

Given that it covers most of Potrero Hill, Dogpatch, and South Beach, it’s surprising that this east side cross section doesn’t rank higher than sixth regionally.

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6. Foster City, 94404

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Overall: 39th in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,685

It’s worth noting that smaller sample sizes can always skew data a bit. In this case Foster City had an overall population of just over 30,000 in the 2010 census.

An aerial view of a city surrounded by water. The city is Foster City in California. Photo by Serouj

7. Redwood City, 94063

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Overall: 26th in the U.S.

Median market rent: $4,025

And Redwood City surprises with the Bay Area’s third most expensive renter region overall. This ZIP covers the city’s northernmost wedge, above El Camino Real and south of Bair Island.

8. Menlo Park, 94025

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Overall: 30th in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,960

Note that this broad and oddly shaped patch of Menlo Park includes Facebook’s corporate headquarters. There’s not necessarily a causal relationship between that and the area’s fifth highest Bay Area rents, but it sure does cut close to the bone.

9. Mountain View, 94043

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Overall: 33rd in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,854

And yes, this is the part of Mountain View that includes the Googleplex. This Silicon Valley town now has the seventh highest rents in the Bay Area overall, at least as far as Rent Cafe has it. Housing is so contentious—not to mention scarce—that Google once threatened to block residential growth if the city didn’t allow the tech mammoth’s campus to grow.

The Google headquarters. There is a glass building with the word Google on it. In front of the building is a statue of a green android. Photo by Asif Islam

10. Sunnyvale, 94085

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Overall: 47th in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,609

This covers just a small stretch of the northern part of the city, which perhaps makes this a sunnyside up area for landlords if no one else.

A street lined with trees in Sunnyvale, California. Cool Caesar

11. Mountain View, 94040

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Overall: 42nd in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,669

And now we see how the other half lives in Mountain View. And the other half is still having it pretty good, as the southern stretch of the city lands tenth overall regionally.

12. Cupertino, 95014

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Overall: 41st in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,681

Those observing the tech trend are in for a twofer here, as this area covers not only Apple Park but also the old Cupertino Apple headquarters as well.

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1. Berkeley, 94704

Berkeley, CA 94704
A large building with a dome and a tower on the edge of a cliff. In the distance are mountains. By Bond Rocket Images/Shutterstock.com

Overall: 45th in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,616

This Berkeley burgh covering most of downtown and the south side is the East Bay’s only appearance on the list. For the most part, that’s a good thing insofar as Bay Area housing affordability goes.

2. San Francisco, 94105

San Francisco, CA 94105
A cityscape with buildings of various sizes and shapes. The cityscape is adjacent to a body of water. Photo by Nathan Ezra

Overall: Sixth in the U.S.

Median market rent: $4,666

No surprises here, as this area spans parts of South Beach, Rincon Hill, and the area recently rechristened the East Cut. This area includes such tony new towers as 181 Fremont, One Rincon Hill, and the Jasper.

3. San Francisco, 94158

San Francisco, CA 94158

Overall: 14th in the U.S.

Median market rent: $4,336

Mission Bay comes into its own, beating out traditionally ritzy and posh SF neighborhoods as now one of the most expensive locales in the entire country.

4. San Francisco, 94103

San Francisco, CA 94103

Overall: 29th in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,974

SoMa moves in for an accolade most SoMa residents probably never wanted as the region’s fourth priciest rental locale. This ZIP covers almost the entire neighborhood and a few crumbs of the Mission, including the mission itself.

5. San Francisco, 94107

San Francisco, CA 94107

Overall: 31st in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,928

Given that it covers most of Potrero Hill, Dogpatch, and South Beach, it’s surprising that this east side cross section doesn’t rank higher than sixth regionally.

6. Foster City, 94404

Foster City, CA 94404
An aerial view of a city surrounded by water. The city is Foster City in California. Photo by Serouj

Overall: 39th in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,685

It’s worth noting that smaller sample sizes can always skew data a bit. In this case Foster City had an overall population of just over 30,000 in the 2010 census.

7. Redwood City, 94063

Redwood City, CA 94063

Overall: 26th in the U.S.

Median market rent: $4,025

And Redwood City surprises with the Bay Area’s third most expensive renter region overall. This ZIP covers the city’s northernmost wedge, above El Camino Real and south of Bair Island.

8. Menlo Park, 94025

West Menlo Park, CA 94025

Overall: 30th in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,960

Note that this broad and oddly shaped patch of Menlo Park includes Facebook’s corporate headquarters. There’s not necessarily a causal relationship between that and the area’s fifth highest Bay Area rents, but it sure does cut close to the bone.

9. Mountain View, 94043

Mountain View, CA 94043
The Google headquarters. There is a glass building with the word Google on it. In front of the building is a statue of a green android. Photo by Asif Islam

Overall: 33rd in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,854

And yes, this is the part of Mountain View that includes the Googleplex. This Silicon Valley town now has the seventh highest rents in the Bay Area overall, at least as far as Rent Cafe has it. Housing is so contentious—not to mention scarce—that Google once threatened to block residential growth if the city didn’t allow the tech mammoth’s campus to grow.

10. Sunnyvale, 94085

Sunnyvale, CA 94085
A street lined with trees in Sunnyvale, California. Cool Caesar

Overall: 47th in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,609

This covers just a small stretch of the northern part of the city, which perhaps makes this a sunnyside up area for landlords if no one else.

11. Mountain View, 94040

Mountain View, CA 94040

Overall: 42nd in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,669

And now we see how the other half lives in Mountain View. And the other half is still having it pretty good, as the southern stretch of the city lands tenth overall regionally.

12. Cupertino, 95014

MONTE VISTA, CA 95014

Overall: 41st in the U.S.

Median market rent: $3,681

Those observing the tech trend are in for a twofer here, as this area covers not only Apple Park but also the old Cupertino Apple headquarters as well.