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Guess Which Two Neighborhoods Are Escaping San Francisco’s Bonkers Rent Growth?

A new report claims asking rents in San Francisco have jumped 50 percent since 2011. See which 'hoods got off easy.


Priceonomics, the data-gathering outfit that regularly terrifies people over San Francisco rent prices, just released a new report that outlines rent increases by neighborhood. And, yep, it’s terrifying. According to the company, which grabs its data from rental listing websites each June, the median market-rate apartment listed for rent in San Francisco now costs a whopping $3,880 per month. That’s up 50 percent since 2011, when the median advertised price stood at $2,595.

It’s important to note, though, that the $3,880 figure—which factors in apartments of all sizes—does not measure what the city’s existing renters are paying. It only tells us about advertised prices for the slice of units that were on the rental market each June, so it’s a snapshot of prices prospective renters were seeing. Still, even a hypothetical 50 percent rise in four years leaves us much more than hypothetically freaked.

According to Priceonomics, the median studio on the market in June cost $2,722, and the median one-bedroom would have set you back $3,452. The median two-bedroom would have rented for $4,400 month, and the median three-bedroom was asking $5,125.

From the report:

For some context, if you make $100,000 per year, a three bedroom in San Francisco would eat up 100% of your post-tax salary. So, if you want to live in San Francisco, you can forget about having kids (AKA “roommates who stiff you on the rent each month”), or even about having a profession that’s only modestly lucrative.

At the top end of the panic scale, median asking rents in Civic Center are up a whopping 104 percent since 2011, jumping from $1,850 to $3,783—the biggest increase percentage-wise in the city. The runner-up is Bernal Heights, which leaped by 90 percent, from $1,683 to $3,200 in four years. The Mission ties for second place, with a 90 percent rise that took it from $1,900 to $3,610 over the same time span. (See Priceonomics' full graphic here.)

The tiniest bright spot in the numbers? Asking rents in the city’s cheapest neighborhood, the Bayview, remained flat, standing at a median of $1,400 in 2011 and $1,400 in 2015. (West Portal, meanwhile, actually enjoyed a 2 percent decline, but the Bayview’s size and overall cheapness makes its 0 percent gain the more significant piece of news here.)

As scary as most of the numbers are, it wouldn’t be accurate to conclude from this report that San Francisco apartments have gotten 50 percent more expensive in the last four years. That’s because the apartments that were for rent in June 2011 aren’t the same as the ones offered in June 2015. Who knows if the one-bedrooms renting in 2011 were comparable to the ones advertised this year? Some of the price fluctuation could be attributable to the differences among the actual apartments underlying the data, and who knows by how much.

Absolute price changes are woefully hard to measure. Short of calling everyone in the city and asking what they’re paying year after year, data companies can’t get an accurate sense of rent-price increases. So they come up with all manner of workarounds, some of them pretty elaborate, as this Curbed SF explainer details.

Priceonomics’ report still works as a market snapshot, though, melodramatic flaming map and all. Even if the report doesn’t enumerate exactly how much taller the flames are now than they were then, the fire is really the thing that has our attention.

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