housing map
San Francisco Department of Public Health

Looking for an apartment to rent in San Francisco?

Brace yourself.

Last year, the City by the Bay earned the dubious distinction of having America’s most expensive rental market, beating out longtime heavyweight New York. Due in part to the surge in the region’s tech-fueled jobs market (some “friend” indeed, Zuckerberg!) and the city’s longstanding shortage of affordable housing units, the spike has led to jaw-dropping rents, with the median monthly rate of a mere studio at more than $2,200 a month, according to apartmentlist.com.

So for those of us not bringing in the 7-figure paychecks, how rough have things actually gotten out there? The interactive map below, produced by the San Francisco Department of Public Health and designed by Stephanie May, shows a housing affordability gap that may just send you packing.

According to the data, it takes earnings from more than five minimum wage jobs to afford the rent in a two-bedroom apartment in neighborhoods like the Mission and Potrero Hill, and more than seven minimum wage jobs to afford a similar unit in SoMa and the Financial District.

Using Craigslist rental listing figures from the second-half of 2012, and median income data from the American Community Survey, the map shows just how big the chasm is between median income and fair market rents in different parts of the city, and the number of minimum wage jobs a renter would have to work to be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment at those rent levels. (Fair market rent is the price to which 40 percent of listings are less than or equal in a given neighborhood.)

Note that the wage calculations are based on San Francisco’s 2012 minimum wage, which has since gone up to $10.55.

So why is this being considered a health issue? As the department explains:

“Residents who live in poor housing quality are at greater risk for problems associated with home deterioration such as compromised climate control, growth of mold and mildew, pest or rodent infestation, lead and other environmental hazards. Substandard housing is associated with respiratory tract irritation, allergic reactions, asthma and eye, nose, and throat irritation, and causes significant short-term and long-term health effects. These can include respiratory illness and disease, asthma attacks, cancer, and premature death.”

Map: San Francisco’s Affordable Rent Gap Is Enough to Make You Sick … Literally 20 May,2015Matthew Green

  • Committee of Vigilance

    This ignores the 35,000 poepole living in SF who don’t pay their own way. That is 35,000 tax parasites living for free or paying nominal rents in housing projects, Section 8, and homeless housing. These thankless inhabitants bring crime, filth, and public nusiance and contribute nothing whatsoever to the City,

    • zette

      Your so brave, beating up on the poor and down trodden. How about the slumlords who gouge people for substandard housing? I don’t think a $2200 studio in the tenderloin is fair either. Stop complaining and offer solutions.

      • pailhead

        Who let this go to $2200 for the TL? If i understand correctly, rent control was introduced 30 years ago because of a far less hectic and extreme speculative bubble.

    • Cliff Banuelos

      A vast majority of those “tax parasites” work low paying jobs and that is the only housing they can afford. Please provide some data that backs up your contention that these “tax parasites” are committing the crimes at the level you suggest and while you’re doing that, please provide examples that these people “contribute nothing whatsoever to the City.” This should be an easy task for someone like you who is obviously thankful for the opportunities life has given you and therefore taken advantage of them and molded yourself into a well-rounded human being. Your contributions to the City must be legendary, too.

    • PennyLuckySF

      Tax parasites? You mean like tech giants buying companies overseas to avoid paying taxes? Please. Wake up and smell Herbert Hoover.

    • Daayiee Abdullah

      CoV, wow you believe people are just crime, filth and public nusiances…and they contribute nothing to the City…can you pinpoint when you’re talking about? 10, 20, 30 40 years and now broken are not due any assistance when they paid high taxes when they did work? Interesting, and when Karma comes a knocking…

    • Tooth Paste

      who is going to serve you your latte? if you are so smart, fix education, the failing political system, fix global pollution, racism, hunger, illness, disability, mental disorders, etc. instead of being part and parcel of largest domestic spying network. or is that not your problem? your problem is pushing pixels on chinese manufactured lcd because developing the next ‘candy crush’ is more important than the livelihood of your fellow man. what is the point of technology other than to provide real benefits to your brethren? (oh right, to make it easier to steal from them or kill them). You probably play a lot of video games. you know, some games have an easy and a hard mode? don’t celebrate your victory because you were born in easy mode, and definitely don’t use your victory as an excuse to make it even harder for others. pos

  • Plugin Liberty

    That’s the cost of rent control. As a landlord, you have to start the rents high because you can’t raise them later. On the other side, the problem isn’t the minimum wage, but that people aren’t willing or able to educate themselves, get more skills, and get past it. Only teenagers should make minimum wage.

    • Kate

      This comment belies a complete lack of understanding about the current unemployment issue. There simply aren’t enough of these “skilled jobs” for everyone, even if we all got PhDs. And the idea that everyone can afford to “educate themselves” while also supporting themselves belies your obvious privilege and lack of awareness that not everyone has the same opportunities.

      • Plugin Liberty

        All it takes is a computer and an internet connection to educate yourself, and you can find plenty of free internet connections. Opportunity is there for those who look for it. Of course, excessive regulation also makes it more difficult for the poor to start their own small businesses.

        • Kate

          I work in a technical field myself. Most employers I have encountered require a bachelors degree regardless of how much you taught yourself on the internet. Opportunity is there for the lucky. Plenty of people work hard their whole lives and never get that opportunity. There is a huge element of chance in addition to the challenges faced by those who start out in poverty due to family circumstances vs. those who start out with more.

          • NaughtayMonkay

            Do you believe people actually are entitled to live in the place of their choosing no matter what the cost of the area? It is not all about luck, even if some are lucky. I have a bachelor’s degree and so do my friends. Some are able to find jobs some don’t. Some are simply willing to live in East Bay and commute by car or Bart.
            Of course many of my friend pool money and share big apartments. That’s how it always has been done in any area where there are more people looking for living space than the living space available.

          • Alison M

            San Franciscans moving to the East Bay are driving us out of affordable neighborhoods in Oakland.

          • NaughtayMonkay

            That is actually a great argument from your perspective. But I do not believe either “native San Franciscans” or “native Oaklanders” or residents of any city have more claim or right to the city they were born in than any person who moves there because everyone is paying for it based on demand anyways.

          • D. Hel

            This is true. All the sudden a studio in downtown Oakland, five blocks from what I fondly refer to as “that place where people trade food stamps for crack,” costs 1500-2000/mo. Just a few years ago 850/mo would get you a spacious studio on Piedmont. I’ve only lived here for 3 years. Is the public health department inventing Guardasil for overpriced rent? Otherwise, close your knees Oaklanders, we’re about to get f***ed without protection.

          • Nene

            It’s called gentrification. Gentrification is a dynamic that emerges in poor urban areas when residential shifts, urban planning, and other phenomena affect the composition of a neighborhood to the point that the people who currently live there can no longer afford to do so. Urban gentrification entails population migration as poor residents of a neighborhood are displaced. In a community undergoing gentrification, the average income increases and average family size decreases. This generally results in the displacement of the poorer, pre-gentrification residents, who are unable to pay increased rents, and property taxes, or afford real estate.

            Gentrification equals removal of the poor in favor of the wealthy.

          • Harry Mann

            It isn’t called gentrification when the people who are moving in are not gentry. A guy who cannot afford to rent in the City moving his broke ass to Oakland does not gentrification make.

          • PennyLuckySF

            We are not just talking about young people who have the future at their feet and could go anywhere, you self-involved child. We are talking about displacing sick people, senior citizens who have devoted their life to this community, making it the place where superficial idiots come thinking they can just buy culture and history. These people have whole lives — generations of roots — here. What makes you think you deserve what the rest of us have built — is access to wealth what makes one deserving? Where will the school teachers, professors, artists, librarians, firefighters, and nurses come from? Will they just eventually be bused in from the other side of the tracks to serve the needs of a selfish elite? Grow up. And if you are already, technically, a seasoned adult — it’s really time to broaden your horizons and test you own assumptions.

          • NaughtayMonkay

            I am not a self-involved child. I am actually one of those “sick people”, I am disabled and live on SSI at this point due to disease starting with letter “C” but I don’t think I am entitled to get special treatment as far as where to live because nobody owes me anything.
            People have a human right to migrate and move anywhere they desire. We are born on the same continent, same planet. If you contributed to the community and believe you should have preferential treatment then take it up with your city council who are the ones making decisions about housing, and businesses who can or cannot establish their locations in your or my city.
            I do not deserve any rights, nor do you based on alleged “building of community”. Do you currently get free rent or free housing financed by your city based on having lived “whole lives” or “generations of roots” you or your ancestors spent there.
            It is not as if any person or family who moves into any town moves there to get free housing. Everyone has to pay competitive prices.

            Besides whom are you referring to when you say “selfish elite” they sure do exist. But I really hope you are not referring to people who are forced to move due to their economic conditions as “selfish elite”. Economic reasons are exactly why anyone would move from San Francisco to East Bay. The housing is owned by individual landlords and they do not owe you anything, they owe it to themselves to make most profit. You do not have a right to their housing, or preferential treatment, which is exactly what you suggest, despite having accused me of it.

            If the buildings and housing were community owned or cooperative owned, and you were one of the people in this organization then you could legally and ethically claim to have a right to preferential treatment, but as for property owners in your city, they do not owe anyone anything. They are already paying property taxes and maintenance costs.

          • PennyLuckySF

            I’m very sorry you’re sick. If by “C” you mean cancer, I am a cancer survivor myself and know something about what it takes from a person. I wish you the very best.

            I’m never sure where the “free rent” thing comes from. People who take your position always seem to want to throw that around, pretty much the way you’ve presented it: “Do you think you, people, etc. deserve free rent?” Um, no. I don’t believe anyone has suggested that.

            Actually, I am a 30+ year San Franciscan who actually owns my home, as well as one 4-unit rental property in a highly desirable area. Do I squeeze as much money as I could from my property? No I do not. Could I eject my tenants by invoking the Ellis Act, turn our downstairs into an AirBnB and clean up, earning way more money than we actually need? Certainly. But, I live as well as I need to live, and I have priorities that are rapidly becoming rare amongst those still here/moving in. And, guess what, I’m a landlord AND I support rent control. Believe me, I’m not the only one. I support rent control because there won’t be many people left in my city who are capable of creating and supporting the kind of community, the kind of world I wan’t to live in. Think about it most of the new crew coming in look up to Steve Jobs as some kind of a God. Guess what? That man never made a charitable donation in his life — he never, ever gave one dollar of his billions to help a single suffering soul. He also ignored his own daughter. This was not a good man. He could have been, but he was not.

            One of our units will soon be vacant, and I will not be asking market rate. And I most certainly will not auction it off to the highest bidder, the guy with the biggest Google/Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Apple portfolio and salary.
            In fact, I am hoping to rent to someone who adds value to this community beyond spending power. Because, believe me, if all the people who made this glorious city what it is through talent and purpose and just giving a crap about something other than money and their own selfish selves are forced out, then San Francisco really is doomed. And don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Nobody who owns even as much property as we do is any kind of victim of people who have far less.

          • Thomas_Outt

            Can we clone you? Seriously speaking, I wish there were more with your combination of generous spirit & down-to-earth common sense & decency! No, he was no demigod. The computers are fine, but they are just tools, not a way of enlightenment.

          • PennyLuckySF

            We’re around. We just don’t get the press.

          • NaughtayMonkay

            Thanks for the positive wishes and understanding about “C”. I also sincerely wish you health for many years.

            Now to your objection. That is arguably nice what you are doing if you actually rent out your place below the market price. However that is your individual choice, which you of course have a right to follow.
            That said, neither you or I have any moral or ethical right to tell other landlords and property owners for how much to rent out their property, or what to do with it in general. It is every individual’s prerogative and a right. Like you said, you acquired a house. You must have worked for it a number of years before you were able to buy it or pay it off to call your own.
            When you invest your time into work to make money you spend a finite resource which is hours of life , however many the God above allows us to have. Some people give more value to their hours spent working, some give it less value for one or another reason.
            Point is that the money people earn and their property belong to them and them only because they literally gave a portion of their finite life to earn it.

            As we do not earn lives of other people, by same logic neither we nor others should be able to tell them what to do with their property, which is properly known as “livelyhood”.

            I do not want San Francisco city government or California government to be able to tell the landlords how much they can or cannot charge for what is essentially a piece of their life.

            Similarly neither of us have a right to judge millionaires or the so called “rich” , however “rich” are defined. That is of course bad how many people espouse the late Steve Jobs as God, but then once again, we are not in position to tell them what to do. I do not espouse him and I do not have a right to suggest he had any obligation to donate to charity.
            (actually I looked online and there are some sites that suggest he donated anonymously according to his wife who now is involved in many charities)
            He didn’t want to donate? His business. Somebody wants to buy Apple iphone, or bash it, their business because its their money.

            Community values or not, still, it is your choice to rent out to someone who you think will improve the community. Would you evict someone if they turn out to be a scumbag who throws parties and destroys the property you rented them, or generally become a nuisance? I don’t know, but I think you’d want to, if you wanted to maintain a certain harmony in the building. I have a neighbor who is disabled and is on section 8. Well he gets drunk all the time on the first or third of the month, he is technically blind, and he smokes 2 packs a day. I and other neighbors hate the cigarette smoke. But we cannot do much. The landlord openly told us he is afraid to harass this guy because he is afraid to be accuse of racism and problems that the people from the San Francisco Housing Authority might give him. That is unfortunate he cannot just evict this guy.

            Finally I do not understand your comment about CoolAid and “Nobody who owns even as much property as we do is any kind of victim of people who have far less”
            I did not suggest that landlords are victims. They do not have to prove they are victims to retain the rights to their property. That is what I am saying.

          • Harry Mann

            Well, you can look at it another way: She could find the highest paying tenant and then take whatever portion she likes of the money and contribute it monthly or on an annual basis to the charity of her choice. Or, she can rent to a down and out artist, watch the person succeed beyond their wildest dreams, rake in the cash, remain her tenant at a low rent. Oops!

          • FlyingFlo

            Can I be your future tenant? 🙂
            I am an “artist” soon to be homeless and I ride the Muni shuttle.
            I have only met one landlord who thinks like you so far and there were 60 applicants for his unit. I’m glad there are still people like you around. We need more!

          • pailhead

            how come i keep reading about these philanthropic landlords all the time, but i can’t find a single ad along those lines? I was able to find a guy who gave me his apartment as a sublet without making anything off me, he called it karma. ALL ads on craigs list are market rate.

            It seems to me that ellis act and airbnb are a bit of a hassle in your case.

          • pailhead

            umm i didnt read the whole post

          • LMGTFY
          • Harry Mann


          • Harry Mann

            I think the dear young woman is demanding that the City show it’s gratitude for what she believes to have been her contribution for making the City such a happy, fun loving and culture filled town. Don’t you feel the love? Now if only that stickler of a landlord saw things her way, I mean, what is he contributing? Housing? Nah, we all know that landlords are the leeches suck the beer out of everyone’s pitcher when the wallet or purse runs dry…

          • Jazz Tigan

            Yes, they will start busing in the professors, etc. SF is the only city in the nation that has a city sponsored residence for it’s fire chief (owing to its history with fires and earthquakes). It used to have a policy that required all firefighters to be residents of the city – owing to the fact that it is an isthmus with limited access in the event of major catastrophe. If an earthquake were to close bridge access, would emergency service personnel come from the east bay by ferry? Well, the residency requirement has been eliminated because it is simply too expensive to live in SF (not because the policy itself was deemed to not be sensible). Just a little FYI.

          • Harry Mann

            The City Fire Department found out that our local firefighters were FLYING in from their residences in other parts of the country! They put in their work period and flew back home; back and forth…

          • peyton smith

            i totally agree at least someone is human here

          • highvoltagedebmoo

            I don’t have a degree, but have applied for positions / contracts that have listed them as a requirement and have been upfront about not having a degree. In all cases I still got the job based on my experience and good track record. Don’t let a ‘requirement’ like that put you off. You’ll be surprised how many employers will be willing to work around that if you’re competent and have a good attitude.

        • Ross P

          Bachelor’s degrees are the cost of entry for most fields nowadays. Easy way to filter out resumes.

          If you’re working full time to support a family, especially if you don’t have much help, you realistically just do not have the time (and especially the money) to take classes.

          Most employers will not even look at someone who ‘taught themselves online’.

          And hopefully the degree you picked is a good one, and you happen to live in an area with a good job market, because otherwise the student loan debt you just acquired along with that degree is gonna bury you.

          • NaughtayMonkay

            These days a bachelor’s degree does not mean anything, even if it is from somewhere like Cal. Having a stable job matters, which can be there regardless of any degree.

        • Dr L.O.L. Lulzington

          A computer, an internet connection…and you forgot about $50K. Which isn’t as easy to come up with when you’re living in a $2000/mo s***hole.

      • Plugin Liberty

        Going back to my original comment “willing or *able* to educate themselves” … if they are not able to, then that is what should be addressed.

      • NaughtayMonkay

        So what are you suggesting? That someone should artificially lower prices of rent and create an environment where all rent is equal in value per square foot? Create jobs where there isn’t a need for more? Saying “lack of understanding” or “lack of awareness” is not saying much. I actually agree it is a horrible situation, but this simply happens because of higher number of jobs and competition for living space. Besides, what the person you replied to said is also true, rent control.

      • Nene

        Preach, tell the truth and shame the devil. You hit the nail on the head.

    • Ex San Franciscan

      This is a false and ignorant statement. I as well as several other college graduates have had difficulty finding adequate jobs in our fields and have had to work service jobs while continuing to build our portfolios. The job market, like the housing market is inadequate with way too many applicants and not enough jobs. Good for you that you have real estate, your set for life. Don’t bag on other people who work hard for very little in return. Not everyone gets to sit on their behinds and collect rent for a living.

      • Plugin Liberty

        I’m not a landlord, I work in tech. People in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, have plenty of 6 figure opportunities available to them.

        • Typical.

          Well, bully for your and your other privileged friends.

          I often get people with *graduate degrees* cold calling us to find if we’re hiring. We’re talking about highly educated people begging for $10 an hour job selling books…and I have to turn them away because we’re not hiring.

          I’m a fourth generation native. I used to think there was no better place on earth to live than the Bay Area.

          Circlejerking tech assholes like you have made me start thinking that just about anywhere would be better.

          • bigDrew2003

            I am in the tech field and in no way shape or form was I privileged. I was born and raised in Compton, CA. When I got to college, which I paid for on my own, I looked at what major would have the best effect on my life. I decided I would follow my passions later in life after I was established and secure.

          • PennyLuckySF

            Do they no longer teach the difference between micro, meso and macro level issues and relative privilege to college students seeking careers in technology and finance? Or is that body of knowledge just too inconvenient?

          • bigDrew2003

            Not trying to sound snarky, but I honestly don’t know what you are talking about. Would you care to break it down for me? I would really love to understand where you are coming from.
            Please, lets keep it civil.

          • PennyLuckySF

            You don’t sound snarky, and my questions were honest and direct. If my tone doesn’t appear civil, I may not be the person to seek information from.

            I will try to explain: Your statement “I am in the tech field and in no way shape or form was I privileged” reveals a lack of comprehension of what privilege means in this society. Everyone experiences hardship; everyone suffers; everyone is more privileged than someone and less privileged than another. For example: Are you a man? If so, you are a member of a demographic that, for a host of reasons, earns $1 for every 77 cents a woman earns. Are you a man in the tech field in Silicon Valley? If so, you are a member of a demographic that earns $1 for every 49 cents a woman in your industry earns. Are you young, as in well under 50? If so, and you lose your job, your are at least 2X as likely to find another one quickly as someone who may be more qualified, but is older. Are you mostly able-bodied?

            Are you white? If so, you are *not* part of a demographic in which you have a 1 in 6 chance of going to prison (if you are male). Are you in good health (as in not suffering from a chronic illness)? Is English your native language? Can you hear? Were you born in the US?

            The aforementioned are only some of the of ways (although they are big ones) that one may be placed at an advantage, i.e. have privilege. We simply know this to be true on the macro level.

            The idea that we all start out in the same position in the United States, that we have the same opportunities, that we live in a meritocracy where we need only work hard to succeed and be economically secure, is well-disproved myth, which no serious thinker can possibly believe.

            It is quite well known that America is less equal today than it has been since before the Great Depression, with the top 1 percent holding onto more than 35 percent of the nation’s total wealth, while the bottom 50 percent has just 2.5 percent. It surprises me that ‘educated’ people, whether or not they have had to focus much on economics, the social sciences, or history and philosophy, actually continue to be oblivious to this.

            Critical thinking among US college students has been on a long slow slide for a few decades now, and I do believe that is convenient for those who sit at the top.

            If this isn’t clear, I don’t know what else to add. Except that I encourage you to Google: “Robert Reich on Bill Moyers” (you can watch it online, just aired on PBS this Sunday) and “Michelle Alexander + mass incarceration”. It’s a start. Oh, and “institutional racism.” You may also want to google: Macro, meso, micro, which are social science research terms.

          • bigDrew2003

            Thanks. I understand you. I also understand first hand the disadvantages a lot of people face. As I mentioned, I grew up in one of the toughest areas in the entire country. I am also a black man. I understand facing adversity. I was also raised however to not let what seems like insurmountable odds stop me from trying to reach my dreams.

            Our current system is not equitable across the board. I am a firm believer in hard work, figuring out the game, and trying to do everything in your power to reach your dreams. Sometimes there is substantial delayed gratification.

          • InSF

            Oh for f*cks sake stop blowing smoke up this guy’s ass with your macro, meso micro BS. All he did was state that he earned his way to a high tech career. Just like you earned your way to own an SFH and 4-pled in SF. His comments were about his personal evolution and not about relative societal advantage or disadvantage. It’s a priori everyone falls somewhere on the scale. Perhaps it annoys you that a (relatively) disadvantaged person sounds so chipper about making it in SF. Perhaps you’d feel more comfortable with a black person whining and complaining about how unfair society is. Kudos to the guy for being open.

          • PennyLuckySF

            What? “Perhaps you’d feel more comfortable with a black person whining and complaining about how unfair society is.” Do you even realize what an offensive statement that is? I don’t believe you’ve been following the dialogue at all, because you’ve missed the point and have ascribed values and beliefs that aren’t mine at all. And if you think *anyone* gets to be in the position I’m in without some significant advantage, then you’re being deliberately obtuse.

          • InSF

            No, YOU missed the point. Advantage is relative. This guy comes from a tough environment (Compton, CA) and overcame obstacles to progress. Instead of respecting that you sound off on him, AS IF you’d feel more comfortable hearing him complaining about his disadvantage. Why? Because that placates your guilt ridden elitist limousine liberal persona. “Helping” some poor sole (like your plan to intentionally rent out an apartment at below rent to someone who you personally thinks “deserves it”) makes you feel better about yourself. Hearing of this guys success does not.

          • PennyLuckySF

            I don’t know who you are but you are clearly speaking to someone who is *not* me. “Guilt ridden elitist limousine liberal persona” — I think I know the type you’re attempting to ridicule, but it really has nothing to do with me. I don’t gouge people because I’m not an a**hole, not yet, and hope to never become one. I’m not wealthy either. The man you’re referring to (“bigDrew”) asked me to explain what I was speaking of in a clearer, more detailed fashion, to break it down. So I did that. Of course I have a great deal of respect for “bigDrew,” whoever he is, based on the story he tells about himself. You’ve invented some devil to lash out at, and you have invented a conflict, an argument, disapproval, whatever between two people that does not exist. I get that you need to do that for some reason, so, please, carry on.

          • PennyLuckySF

            “guilt ridden elitist limousine liberal persona.” What? You are raging at phantoms. If you need to carry on, please do carry on.

          • Harry Mann

            That’s part of the joke here in this liberal and progressive city. When and where a black person succeeds and does quite well for themselves, they are no longer bashed for being a “sell out”, which was the old rhetoric to attack their success; now a days plenty of people will simply state in some manner or another, “Yeah, but you’re black…” Which is meant and intended to diminish the PERSON in light of their success and achievement. It’s supposed to elevate the status of the individual making the comment over the black individual. It’s intended to take something away from them. It’s all in the manner in which it is spoken. It’s sort of like the big one that has been making the rounds for years, “I’m RACIST because I love white people!” How many of these idiots are aware of the fact that Nazi Germans were saying pretty much the exact same thing; it was even commented on by a Jewish / Catholic Nun prior to her being taken from Holland and murdered in Croatia or some other Nazi hell hole.

          • Harry Mann

            That’s another thing, minorities in the university system are subject to hearing racist assumptions, prejudiced statements, coming out of the mouths of professors. And if the matter is addressed, the professors simply become more entrenched in their attitudes, more strident in airing their views and more amplified about it. Minorities can come to feel like imaginary beings in the presence of and facing the scale of what they are up against.

          • Jazz Tigan

            How’s that going for you? (The passion following I mean). Are you on schedule for getting back to the things that really matter to you? Or have you gotten too “he went to Paris” comfortable? I am genuinely and seriously curious. And do you feel everyone should be forced to make that choice? Because if so, we should just eliminate whole academic disciplines or at least never expect anyone under the age of 40 to enter them.

          • bigDrew2003

            Personally, things are lining up well. And don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my current career, my passion just lies elsewhere. I had a few years delay as I enjoyed being young, out of college and finally making money. But, now I am back on my schedule. I currently have a 10 year plan that should have me pursuing my passion of teaching at the end of that. Two years before I hit 40. We will see what life throws at me and how that changes though.

            I don’t think people should be forced to do anything. I do however think it is doing oneself a disservice to not think about the future and plan out as much as they can before they begin a very costly course of studies.

          • bigDrew2003

            With that said, real estate in San Francisco is absolutely ridiculous. We are about to experience the same thing in Seattle.

          • Daayiee Abdullah

            Live in San Francissy in the mid-to-late 70s. The gays replaced the blacks, hispanics and other poorer groups. Then the young professionals moved out the gays particularly during the HIV epidemic, and now richer white couples (straight or gay) are moving others out…the cycle repeats itself. Back to my point, rents were very high in the 1970s and it took two incomes to live decently, or one had to rent out a room or two, which several people I knew had to do to keep their places. The idea that people don’t get higher education is a false lead…the truth is those who go to school together will work with each other because of familiarity. I’ve seen sons and daughters of bankers and partners in large firms hire their own with bearly C-averages in college, but they have the connections due to blood or friendships with those who hire. Now we have rich Asians and others groups who can afford the rent. Birds of a feather flock together. One woman who was brilliant knew her prospects were not as good as her sister’s who was attending Yale, because her sister could afford to go on the winter vacations/trips with her college friends who came from wealthy families (as her parents could give her a blank credit card and could afford to pay it off), something she did not have when she was an undergraduate. Her sister would have better opportunities in whatever field she was studying, yet her older sister was off the charts in her grades (UofMI law school 4.3 GPA). Opportunities are limited to those who are not part of their team.

          • NaughtayMonkay

            and during WW2, the blacks migrated to San Francisco and populated an area where the Japanese (interned at the time) were, as well as Jewish people who lived around Fillmore area. Demographics change all the time and there is nothing wrong with that.

          • Daayiee Abdullah

            No there isn’t, NaughtayMonkay. So as the rich move you and others out, it’s cyclic or when another quake comes.

          • Plugin Liberty

            Graduate degrees in what field ?
            People need to be realistic and look at the job prospects before investing so much time, money and effort into a college degree in a non-practical field. With enough motivation, you don’t even need a degree for a lot of tech work.

          • Mr. Asad

            It is true that when I scratch the surface of folks, I seem to be constantly meeting ivy educated young people, people in tech related fields, people who are backed by their families as entrepreneurs or have inherited property. If they are in low earning occupations they have at least a high wage earning spouse or partner. So then then should the people who are allowed to remain in this community only be people so privileged to make around six figures and up? Is there some kind of lack of respect, compassion and value for certain hard working people because they are judged to have made certain choices that have not resulted in affluence and high income generating jobs. The attitude I am hearing is, ‘it’s nobodies fault but your own that you can’t keep up with the disproportionate rents and costs of living if you are occupied with low paying jobs and or degrees.’ I hope karma kicks you the fuck in the ass.

          • NaughtayMonkay

            I don’t know about Electric Liberty person’s views, but the people with degrees are indeed having great difficulty finding jobs anywhere. Some degrees help find jobs right away, but you’re right, generally they take beginner low paying jobs like everyone else.In addition to that we owe huge loans (most of us)
            But I have to say, even if he were a “tech asshole” he has as much right to rent a place and live in San Francisco as anyone else. The fact that he or his friends might be rich is no reason to tell him he cannot live here. He rents from an individual property owner. Owners have rights to their property, hence they can let anyone they like to live in their property. Some “native San Franciscans” have no claim to property of other San Franciscans.

          • Harry Mann

            Yeah… There are delusional people out there who believe they have the right to “inherit” the property their parents have been RENTING, and would love to relocate to San Francisco and pay what their parents have been paying for the past 30 years; they believe that they have some sort of entitlement or claim. After all, their parents have a whole file cabinet full of rent payment stubs…

      • bigDrew2003

        What was your major in school? Following your passion is one thing, but you must be realistic about what you will do with that degree.
        I know nothing about you, this next statement is in general, referring to no one in particular:
        If your major in college was American History or Medieval Studies, what job did you think would be open to you? College students should be looking at where the most demand for workers is, and tailoring themselves to that if they want the biggest chance of finding employment. Today, the biggest demand is in the STEM fields.

        • mrsparkles

          That’s great and everything, but as someone who has a STEM degree and works in tech, you can’t expect everyone to do that. STEM degrees are damn hard and your mind has to be configured a certain kind of way or it’s going to be very difficult.

          • bigDrew2003

            I don’t think saying it is difficult is a good reason to not attempt anything. I think our generation is too focused on taking the easy route nowadays.

          • NaughtayMonkay

            I and many of my friends majored in political sciences. Relatively easy to find a job in San Francisco whether related to the field or not, without pursuing any advanced degrees. Nothing is guaranteed. But for example some friends live here and drive to work all over east bay.

      • NaughtayMonkay

        Good point. Looks like some of these people think if someone has a college undergrad degree they immediately find a job that makes them rich. It is simply a lie as can be easily verified online by searching for “unemployment among college grads”. I tell these people that they do not have any more right to live in San Francisco than anyone. They are essentially suggesting that they are the “Elite” of San Francisco and they are the ones who should decide because either they lived here longer or they do not like people moving in here.

      • Jazz Tigan


        (not an elitist, but definitely a grammar snob)

    • Amy

      The issue is NOT rent control. The cities on the Peninsula & South Bay also have skyrocketing rents. In the city of Mountain View rents are rapidly becoming comparable to those in SF, yet there is no rent control. It’s a problem of supply and demand- a mass influx of high-salaried tech workers, wealthy people from Europe, China and India willing to pay loads of cash upfront, and a SEVERE lack of affordable housing for the rest of us (many are professionals in industries with stagnant wages). But we all know the problems. And it’s a Bay Area problem not just limited to San Francisco. Someone needs to come up with solutions that benefit more than the wealthy few.

      • Plugin Liberty

        Obviously it’s about supply and demand, but rent control makes it worse.

        • PennyLuckySF

          Wow. Supply and demand. That’s some pretty darn sophisticated thinking there. Where on earth do you think a whole lot of us would be without mediated change, reforms and regulations? Bringing our four-year-old daughter with us to work 12-14 hour days in a firetrap of a factory, that’s where. Where would we have been without the reforms that came about as a result of good people busting their asses to stem the worst abuses of this particular economic system after the market collapsed in 1929. We are not just matter being tossed about in the wind here, people. I seriously am beginning to wonder what the hell people are actually learning in college anymore.

      • pantherblue

        Exactly. And the very, very, VERY thick layer of bureaucrats, “activists,” and NIMBY-ists have tied up the supply chain for new housing for decades in the Bay Area. I am not a proponent of rampant ill-conceived development but it’s shocking how much underutilized land there is in SF and around BART stations. So many surface parking lots, one or two story buildings that could be turned into 4-5-6 story residences, or in other cases 6-7-8 floors high. And yes, more high-rises downtown and selected transit stops. SF doesn’t have to turn into Manhattan, but it can and should densify. Barcelona and Paris are certainly good examples to follow.

      • Harry Mann

        Yeah. Part of it has to do with the fact that the US dollar is now worth half as much as it initially was against the euro. It has fallen against the Canadian loony and there are plenty of foreign Chinese who think a good place to park their yuan, and their Lexus is San Francisco. People all over the world would love to have the problems people here are pissing and moaning about. We talk about the underdeveloped world, but when developers are interested in building in San Francisco they are basically told that they will have to pay impact penalties. Cough.

    • j.a.d. vargas phd

      There was a piece last week on the trend of recent college grads to find employment as nannies or assistants to the very wealthy elite. They choose this because it pays well and there are not enough jobs even with a college degree that pay sufficiently to make ends meet and pay off the student debt accrued getting the education. Many PhDs in scientific fields find they had more money as a graduate student than in their first job after graduation, so the problem is not just one of uneducated or unmotivated people, although I take exception with the idea that people doing backbreaking labor for minimum wage lack will or drive. Conservative policy has created a lottery ticket out of education. It is sold to the poor as a panacea but those that go through the gauntlet, rising out of poverty, find themselves saddled with a lifetime of debt that the education doesn’t pay for anymore.

    • Erica_JS

      Sorry, but there are PLENTY of college educated people in the Bay with professional jobs who still can’t afford the rents here, because we don’t make sky high tech salaries. The big question is will SF become nothing more than a homogeneous, gated playground for the ultra rich, or do we want to do something to ensure ordinary people can live there?

      • NaughtayMonkay

        It is not the case at all. People with college degrees are by far not rich and will be paying off university debts for decades. Also remember that it is the San Francisco city council who approves what business can establish offices here. It creates jobs and revenue for the city. Of course the market for housing is competitive because it is such a nice place. There is nothing that anyone can or should do about it unless you suggest someone should foot the bill of housing and house any sorts of people just cause they want to live in San Francisco. Besides San Francisco is full of people who live in poverty and on assistance. You simply have no ethical case for what you are saying. Basically you’re suggesting that some group of people should decide what sorts of people and how many should be allowed to live in San Francisco. Who might give anyone that right? Nobody

      • soulsurfer 99

        Exactly, the prices in rent are fueled by tech salaries, and supply and demand. There is a lot of tech money buying property as well as foreign money. I’ve read recently that the city is running out of rental properties because so much is being bought. I agree with what a lot of you are saying…I think its important to have diversity and culture and SF is known for that. Thats why a lot of us moved here. It would be sad to see it taken over by robots. Just in the last year you all might notice theGoogle and Apple buses coming into and out of the city…its like some weird cult. If you have one of these bus stops in your neighborhood it makes the property value go up as well as rent price.

        • Harry Mann

          I remember when the Reagan administration claimed to have created a lot of jobs and everyone laughed and said the jobs he created were for hamburger flippers. And then there was a wave of dot.com employees and everyone started grumbling about yuppies. Either laughing or grumbling. That’s life. Let me give you boneheads a clue: It the City were to designate certain industrial or open fields as something along the lines of a “free trade zone”, only being “rent control free zones”, you could build two or three entire new neighborhoods on the land that would be available. Plenty of housing developers would be busy because investors would be very interested. As it is, not many want to build new housing units in the City.

      • Claudia Siefer

        As a native-born San Franciscan it sickens me to see what has become of a once culturally diverse, liberal City. The monied brats who now consider this their personal playground are beyond self-absorbed.They are acutely dismissive of those who aren’t part and parcel of their tech set. Sad but true. I hate what has happened here.

      • D. Hel

        There’s also a huge gap. You can get new, updated housing in some nicer Oakland areas if your household makes under 40K, due to section 8 type contracts. If you make over 100K, and are careful, you can go party up on the hills with the redwoods. If you make between 40K and 100K…welcome to your very own leaded piped Hoover shanty. No one wants to help you.

      • Harry Mann

        I think San Francisco would truly be world class if that were to happen. There are a lot of bitter, nasty, envious, jealous, resentful and malicious people in the City these days. Part of it has to do with the wars we’ve been involved in and how that effects the way people look at others who do not look like them. And part of it has to do with economic standing which again refers to people who do not seem like us, and are therefore the other and therefore present a kind of diversity that may be disliked.

    • DefinitelyNot

      I’m going to agree with this guy. I don’t have a degree, although I’ve been to college for 5 years. I’ve self educated myself and kept pushing myself. I am in the advertising industry now and I started out in IT when I got out of college. I am shy short of a six figure salary. What’s your excuse? Go out there and network yourself. You only hold yourself back, no one else.

      • PennyLuckySF

        Do they no longer teach the difference between micro, meso and macro level issues and relative privilege to college students seeking careers in technology and finance? Or is that body of knowledge just too inconvenient? How can you be so blind to systemic issues, privilege and income inequality? What on earth have you bothered studying while pursuing your non degree?

    • Jennifer R.

      Wow, do you really and truly believe that or are you just spouting something that you read somewhere else? Have you actually talked to the people who work the minimum wage jobs around you? Do you actually believe that landlords “have to start the rents high” or do you just figure you’ll do it so you can make more money?

      • NaughtayMonkay

        It is a fact. I know two landlords and that is exactly how it works. Rent control is a part of the problem. Some residents occupy apartments for 20+ years and pay pennies for their rent because of rent laws, so to pay their own mortgages the landlords have to raise prices consistent with general prices in the area, plus to compensate for loss from embedded residents. I am not blaming the people who lived there for 20 years and want to pay as little as they can, but nor should landlords be the ones to blame.
        There is not one ethical reason why landlords should not care about maximizing their income, even if it means picking the most reliable residents and not housing less reliable residents. Nobody wants to stuck with a resident who loses a job and cannot pay their rent for months.
        Does it mean I or anyone else have no sympathy for the people, some of whom feel entitled to live in San Francisco, or want to for convenience? No. I cannot afford to live in a good area. I live in a bad area with 2 roomates in 1 bedroom. So what? It is nobody’s fault.

        • PennyLuckySF

          I am a landlord, and probably know a whole lot more landlords than you do, and much of what you’re saying sounds like a complete crock. I am beginning to wonder if you are even a real person.

          • InSF

            Listen you limousine-liberal-condescending-elitist, guess what? I’m a landlord in SF too, and what they said is basically right. Look on Craigslist for christ sake and all you see are apartments at super high rents. And any LL with half a brain knows to avoid tenants that look like they will be lifers in your rental. As for anyone nearing 50 (meaning they have a chance at protected status in a few years), good luck finding anything in SF.

            But I’m sure the residents of SF can’t thank an elitist limousine liberal like you enough keeping your rent artificially low to help 1 poor soul out. Small price for you to pay to feed your outsized ego.

          • NaughtayMonkay

            Well I simply do not believe you because you’ve already shown your bias in previous posts. Maybe you’re an exception and actually rent out places at a lower profit margin. Either way the property owner has an inalienable human right to charge as much as they desire for their property when they rent it out.

          • PennyLuckySF

            You don’t believe that someone who owns property and rents to other people, but refuses to gouge them and participate in the undoing of the city she loves is a real person? There are plenty of people like me around, although the herd is thinning. Before I owned property in SF, I had a series of landlords with a conscience. There’s a pretty decent article in the September San Francisco magazine that covers this subject and references people with more substantial assets than mine who refuse to be part of the problem. If you’ve never met someone who (like me) owns property and cares deeply about the common good, and refuses to be governed by greed, then I am very, very sorry for you. And ‘human right’? Sorry, but you may want to brush up on the definition of human rights. You will find it in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

          • PennyLuckySF

            And it’s really huge corporate real estate speculators that are causing the biggest problems. Let’s stop pretending that this is all about the poor struggling little landlord.

          • PennyLuckySF

            You don’t believe a person exists who owns a small building, and rents units to others but refuses to deliberately gouge them? You think I don’t exist because I happen to have invested in a building after my mother died 20 years ago and left me a whopping $50 grand, and now I earn a reasonable income from that building and refuse to become part of the problem? I have news for you: there are a whole lot of people just like me who are sickened by what’s become of the city we love, who are sickened by gross income inequality and the neoliberal narcissists who are consuming the best of San Francisco like sharks. Sorry, your story is the one that does not ring true.

          • PennyLuckySF

            And you may want to check the definition of ‘human rights’ — your take is a little far afield of the International Declaration of Human Rights.

          • Harry Mann

            From what I understand, rents in Syria and Lebanon have skyrocketed owing to the number of buildings that have been damaged and the number of residents who have been displaced due to the war. Now, if ever a country could use rent control… on humanitarian terms…

          • Harry Mann

            I’ve slept on wooden planks in mud brick buildings in third world countries in order to obtain an education which a university could not provide. And to hear people moaning and groaning about rents in San Francisco, you know, the City with all the bars, restaurants, parks, museums, etc., is all a bit funny to me.

    • Nene

      You are right, the problem isn’t minimum wage it’s GREED. ” Only teenagers should make minimum wage”, ha, I wish. Do you know how many well educated people lost their high paying jobs during the recession are now working minimum wage jobs to feed themselves and their families? There are people working minimum wage jobs that use to make 6 figures a year before the recession hit. Raise the minimum wage now. As inflation goes up so should the federal minimum wage. The state minimum wage should be tied with the cost of living with each state.

  • Tomohisa Watanabe

    Why don’t the comments show up?

    • Nene

      Sometimes you have to refresh your cookies and delete your internet browser history and then you will see your comment.

  • Polk

    There so way it costs the same to rent a 2 BD in Presidio Heights as it does in Hunters Point. I refuse to believe that.

    -An SF real estate agent

    • Drew

      You are missing out on a great opportunity friend.

      -Recent property buyer of property close to 3rd and Keith, renting 1 BD apt for $1,700.

  • Laranut

    So why is such a small area of
    land being “picked on.” Is it that the author wants to live there but
    can’t afford it? Why not pick on any other place that is expensive? How about making it easy to get in out and
    out of the city so you can visit without living there?

    Supply and demand drive up the
    price and the rent control hurts the situation as well. Rent control hurts
    “Mom and Pop” buildings, forces them out because they can’t afford it
    as a business. Then those buildings are scooped up by much larger corporations. Perhaps that is considered a good thing? Blackstone group owning all of SF?

    As a result, more units are being
    taken off the market in favor of short term rentals such that Mom and Pop can
    make a business out it.

  • Disgusted S.F. Native

    Damn…..are these folks actually from the old San Francisco I used to know? Some of these comments are so extreme and Right Winged that I can’t believe these selfish mofo’s are a part of SF. Lord help you if you trip and fall and can’t pull the pieces of your life back together. Oh thats right ….you never earned your own money ANYWAY…right? Mommy or Daddy’s little trust fund baby. Go talk to some of the homeless in San Francisco, many will tell your that they are College Educated and were on top of their game when BOOM everything fell apart and they cannot get it back together because of people that think like you. “Let Them Have Cake” …..Right? PS~ Don’t get mad because the truth hurts. Like someone said, offer solutions not just lip service.

    • PennyLuckySF

      I’m going to take a wild stab and say: No. No, they’re not. I’ve been here for 30 years, and it’s become almost unrecognizable, in a pretty short period of time. A lot of neoliberal Kool-Aid being passed around here now (by those with limited historical memory or appreciation for much aside from $$$). They really are as idiotic as Marie Antoinette: Let Them Eat Chocolate Soufflé Cake at Tartine. It’s enough to make a person with a conscience’s head explode.

      • Brett Taylor

        Lets be clear, Marie Antoinette never said those words.

        • PennyLuckySF

          You are correct sir, Marie Antoinette never said “Let them eat chocolate souffle cake at Tartine.” It has also been established that she never said, “Let them eat cake.” Your point is?

    • dangerFML

      I have spoken with literally close to one thousand homeless people. I have never once come into contact with one that is college educated (as in graduated). Every single homeless person that I have contacted falls into one of two categories (often both). Suffers from mental illness or has substance abuse problems (alcohol and/or drugs).

      • peyton smith

        you have not interviewed enough. The idea is to intervene before it gets to hopelessness and addiction. First you are doing alright next a traumatic life turn slaps you on your ass next you try to get up but stupidity lack of compassion knocks you back down then comes sadness then despair then mental illness and then substances to cope with mental illness, a vicious cycle. See how well you do when you suffer a horrific loss and there are no support systems

        • working man

          peyton, I would respectfully say to you – you’re compassion is obviously very well intended but, misguided in this context. Bad luck, drug abuse and mental illness are facts of life and choices made in ones life. The cost of rental housing is driving solely by what the market will bear.

          Intervening in a drug addicted persons life is extremely difficult at best. If a person chooses to fail themselves so profoundly as to use a substance that renders them unable to cope with life, why should this person receive a reward of living in a high rent district at a discounted rate? Why should the owner of the property pay for the person making selfish destructive choices?

          There are places for people to get help, it just may not have an address in the high rent part of town.

          • Renee Stromberg Thielman

            Mental illness is a choice one makes in life? While yes, some of these things are choices, no one is perfect and often people just need a hand. Substance abuse is not failing yourself, it’s a problem. It doesn’t make them less than or deserve less than. I don’t think that the city should force landlords to rent to low income tenants at all. I just think that the way many people view addiction and those problems that contribute to homelessness is part of the problem and part of the reason why it’s so hard to get help.

          • Michele

            I literally cannot believe you just said that mental illness is a choice made in someone’s life. Do you have any, any idea how heartless that is? 26.2 percent of Americans have a mental illness. Do you know what it would be like to have schizophrenia or manic depression and not be able to afford the outrageously expensive medication (which often doesn’t click with your brain chemistry)?

          • working man

            Michele you are in luck. I did not say mental illness is a choice. The sentence read like this, “Bad luck, drug abuse and mental illness are facts of life and choices made in ones life.”
            In this, my intention was that “mental illness” would fall under the “facts of life” portion of the sentence. However, it makes no difference to the point I was making.
            I will state my point again without negative or misleading labeling of any group of people.
            “A landlord has the right, to ask any amount of money, to be paid to them as rent, for property they own.
            A perspective tenant has the right, not to pay the amount asked for.”

          • Harry Mann

            Why are the medications so expensive to begin with? And who came up with the idea that nearly a third of Americans have a mental illness? Both answers point to the same party: the pharmaceutical industry.

        • Nene

          Thank you, how dare he/she clump all homeless people into two categories. Simple minded that’s all. I know plenty of homeless people in Minnesota who are homeless due to losing jobs, income, just fell on hard times. I know plenty of homeless families too. There are also a lot of people moving out of Chicago, Gary and moving to Minnesota and go into the homeless shelters for the resources and to get a better life. There are many reason people go homeless for a while.

      • Harry Mann

        It might also be true that many of the homeless on San Francisco’s streets originated from elsewhere but came because of the climate and owing to the benefits provided by the local government, which served as a magnet, drawing homeless from across the nation.

    • Nene

      Agreed. Low income/subsidized housing is needed rather people want to believe it or not. Just like welfare/social service programs are needed. All of these government programs are safety nets for everyone. You just never know when you might need these programs, so I agree with your comment. Some people seem to forget the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

      • Harry Mann

        And may G_D help you if you need the assistance of a government agency. Unless you are one of those who likes to play the game of “dependency”, in which case you will be glad to try and manipulate, deceive and control the system, it’s processes and those involved in carrying them out.

  • kcbsf

    I know for a fact that the rents are much higher than what’s being noted here in a number of neighborhoods. And for the people who think someone else is paying the rent, that’s not the case for all of us. I’ve ridden the tech bubble up & down several times since 1998 and have had numerous unemployment stints and did whatever I could to get by. Unfortunately about 4 years ago rents went through the roof and continue to escalate. Not sure where the jobs are though. That said, it is hard to have one whole paycheck go to rent knowing others in my building are probably paying at least 50% less than me. Rent control doesn’t work b/c it makes it so no one moves and then the demand is through the roof. I would like to move b/c someone smokes in my building and my father just died of cancer but for some reason the rent control board (a non-elected body) has control of any lease change and despite the fact that CA has had the most aggressive non-smoking laws in the country & pioneered this effort, b/c of rent control my landlord can’t change this person’s lease since he’s lived in the building for 20+ years (even if the change has nothing to do w/rent). This city is mismanaged beyond control. Why don’t we revamp our property tax laws so the folks living in multi-million dollar mcmansions are paying based on the current value of the home/property instead of based on what their family purchased it for whenever that was (i.e. if your parents bought a house in the 50’s in presidio heights for $250k and willed it to you, you’re only paying the property tax on the value of the house when they purchased it ($250k, even if the house is now valued at $8 million) same goes for multi-dwelling buildings. Seriously? We could house & feed every homeless person in this city and revamp our rental disaster if we tapped into this pot of gold. Unfortunately those who benefit from this are those who fundraise & contribute to the limousine liberals like Nancy Pelosi, Gavin Newsom, etc. They would never do anything to jeopardize their contributions – even if it meant vastly improving this wonderful city and not leaving the tax & rent burden on the working class/those of us who live hand to mouth just to be in the right place for our career or those life long residents. So why not look to where the root of the problem is and stop bitching about trustfunders – if we don’t get to the root anything else is a band aid not a solution.

    • betsbillabong

      Wait, so you are actually only paying 25% of your income to rent. That’s incredible and you are very lucky. I have almost never gotten lower than 50% and it’s often more than that.

    • NaughtayMonkay

      So how is it the fault of those in your building who make more than you? Whether by luck or effort, they have more, and you have no ethical reasons to accuse anyone.
      I do strongly agree that a lot of it is city mismanagement. But the alternative you are proposing is taking property of other individuals and forcing them to follow non-market financing schemes because you may perceive it as a “greater good”. Why should an owner who invested money in a building , a house or whatever, owe anything to anyone in San Francisco. Whether it is to house the homeless, or provide housing for those with less money. Is anyone going to cosign and guarantee to make up for their missing rent if the resident stops paying? Of course not. So I’d say you’re trying to be self righteous without realizing what it implies. Demographics and housing costs change due to increased demand and migration. In this case the development of high tech industries and software companies. In the past it might have been displacement due to WW2, or the failure of manufacturing industries in Detroit area.

      Somehow I am not hearing anyone suggesting removal of the Golden Gate Park to build multi dwelling apartment buildings, which technically could house a lot of people. Why? Because the values are in the wrong place.

  • Pokahauntess

    San Francisco rents have BEEN high for so long now. When I moved there in the 90’s, it was equally ridiculous. I had rent control for 10 years which is the ONLY way that I could afford living there and for that “good deal” I suffered a slum lord landlord that refused to fix anything.
    The housing situation is part of the problem and just plain greed on the part of landlords.More apartments could be built-not just luxury condos and section 8 but apartment buildings for the everyone else then prices would go down.

    I had a lot of friends in Tech, we cannot blame people for moving where the jobs are or for having skills that are sought after. We cannot just blindly push out everyone who doesn’t work in tech fields or high paying science jobs and call them casualities of the free market. We need tech people, but they need the rest of us, too. It takes a village as they say.

    • Kate

      As a small property owner (5 units) trying to earn a living and keep up a property in an ever increasing expensive and regulated environment, I invite you to look at this from another perspective. The soft story retrofit mandated by the City is going to cost us approximately $180,000. Our home is not retrofitted but we are required to keep our tenants safe. On top of that, we are FORCED to choose contractors from a list provided by the City (how much graft do you think could be involved there?). With our below-market rents of $500 (2 bedroom), it makes it tough to pay for upkeep, maybe that is why there are so many “slum landlords”. We can raise the rent an allowed amount each year and on $500 at 1.9% this year that is less than $10. Of course, there are passthroughs for capital improvements but when the rents are so low, passthroughs are based on a percentage of the rent over a long period of time so the cost is never really recouped and the paperwork is daunting. On top of that, there is fraud all over the City with rent control. There are people living in the suburbs in mansions holding on to below market rent apartments and using them for visits to the City or subletting them for profit. To prove that a tenant shouldn’t be holding a below market rent apartment because it is not their primary residence, a landlord can spend thousands of dollars in legal and investigative fees and even then can lose the case because the rent board is partial to tenants, though they claim not to be. Rent control itself is responsible for creating the housing mess/shortage in San Francisco. When one person in a building is paying $500 a month for the same apartment a neighbor is paying $3,000 a month for, you know something is wrong. The tenant paying $3,000 is a hard-working young person while the $500 tenant owns a vacation home in Tahoe and rarely works. (Yes, owning a vacation home does not preclude one from having a $500 a month apartment). I don’t own a vacation home in Tahoe. We have been stripped of our 5th amendment rights to property and are told who to rent to, for how much and we are stuck with a tenant for life and, if they have children, for their lives, and so on for generations. I am so sad to hear people constantly calling us greedy landlords. I would gladly rent my units for the same total amount but divided equally. I have grown children living in the City, paying market rent because they are unable to live in our building – does that seem wrong to anyone? I would like to help them get a start but instead I am forced to help a strangers child. It is a proven fact that rent control does not work and creates the very environment San Francisco now faces but the sad thing is that it can never be undone because there is too much money being made around it (250 lawyers practice rent control law in San Francisco and they have pitted the tenants against the landlords for their own profit.) We are both victims as tenants and landlords and the best thing we could do would be join the same team and make the beauracrats answer to us. It should be every citizens responsibility to help the poor, according to their ability, not just the landlord’s. Tenants should have to prove their need for low cost housing and the housing should be their primary residence and they should not own other property. A newspaper article recently pointed to the fact that there are some property owners living in below market rent apartments, while they own property in the City which they rent out at higher rents. The bottom line is, I am only asking for fairness. Because some big companies are buying buildings and forming TIC’s, they want to take away the Ellis Act. If you do Ellis Act your building, it is 10 years before you can rerent it at market rate. Who can afford that – only big companies. That is our only protection to let us “go out of business”. If that protection is removed, we will be forced to continue in business when we might be putting forth too much effort for the return. The only other way out is selling but the buildings become worth much less with below-market-rent tenants because the cash flow cannot justify a higher price. Often, a small property owner selling results in a big company buying and turning units into condos or TIC’s further reducing the rental stock. Be kind to the small property owners or they will bail leaving you to the big corporations. Thanks for listening.

  • MJ

    If you can’t afford to live somewhere – YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO LIVE SOMEWHERE. Just because i can’t afford to live in Pacific Heights or St. Francis Wood doesn’t mean I’m going to demand that they lower the rent for me or create affordable housing. Reality is reality, people. Live within your means and quit complaining about people who are smart enough to be successful.

    • ConcernedSF

      Here’s where it becomes a problem: when the out-of-control rent in a location causes property in places outside of that area to also increase in value. People who can’t afford to live in the place they want to will seek areas nearby. As that immigration happens, it drives rent and property value up in those areas. People who have lived in those places for decades now have property whose value surges and struggle to afford property tax (which is no joke in California). So, it’s not just about those people who can’t afford to move into a new spot and pay rent or put a downpayment on a mortgage, it’s also about how the decisions of those who do decide to throw more money at a space to beat out others affects both that area and those around it.

      • Chuck

        While your point may have some validity, unless you’re talking about the Bay Area’s impact on Nevada you are wrong about property taxes. In California your property is taxed at its value when purchased. So if you’ve owned your house for decades, your tax base is low and is not impacted by increases in the value of your home (or homes in the city).

  • ChocolateCake

    Did someone say cake? Mmmm…cake!

  • James

    hey being a property owner in san francisco seems like a good gig. Its the little people who choose to pay rent are at the mercy of the owners in one way or another. save up and pay high prices or leave. I did, I moved to los angles and own my own home and love the grit here that sf once had.SF’s cool days are gone. Theres a saying what goes up must come down and the cool art carefree living is gone in sf. ps when i was a kid south of market was a slum..lol

  • James Parrish

    I just wonder where people are going to eat if their servers have to travel 30 miles to serve them. Bart strikes will totally destroy city life in a way it has yet to. I mean, I live in Oakland, with decent rent, but we built an extra room inside our apartment. We are all making under 30k. Some of us less. We all work hard to enjoy the area we live in, but it would be terrible if eventually there was nowhere for us to go after this house. Realistically my next move may be out of the area due to the cost of living, and I have been here almost ten years.

  • Gabriella

    Isn’t this what rich people who have the majority of the income in the US want us to do? Argue and kill each other while they smile and put another million in their pockets. Everyone’s got a good point, but the greatest point is that we all need to unite and be outraged that our wages are so poor that we can hardly make ends meet, while 1% of the population makes an exorbitant amount of money. That’s what need to change. Let’s work on that!

    • Nene


  • eh eh eh

    I am college educated, have had sold work experience, and in a management position. I could never afford to live there. I would be broke in a day, and I live a very good life currently. Its crazy how you can be considered well off in one part of the country and then in another dirt poor. I guess location is everything.. but sadly just like the rest of the US the 1% and the rest of us are drifting farther and farther apart.

  • peyton smith

    It is horrific! extreme lack of human compassion, Those entitled right winged entitled are so out of reality. You cannot have a society with no justice. compassion stems from justice and if that is missing dear entitled ones you will eventually lose

  • D. Hel

    I asked a Google employee how he felt about being blamed for the raise in rents. He said “It’s not my fault San Francisco refuses to build any new properties.”

  • kanukaclancy

    The situation would be an altogether less bitter pill to swallow if a larger percentage of the affluent tech workers moving here weren’t so horrible at everything they do. Every idiot who’s ever read a blog post about jQuery or copied and pasted a block of Objective-C somewhere is suddenly a “front end engineer,” yet the only thing many of them are actually qualified to do is attend meetups where they sit around showing off their Ron Swanson t-shirts and red Bonobos pants to other scooter-riding trustafarians regurgitating buzzword rhetoric about some new flash-in-the-pan JavaScript framework that has much less to do with helping people make things that are useful than it does with helping people realize how brilliant the douchebags using it imagine themselves to be. Good people deserve good salaries regardless of whether or not their parents are rich, if the natives approve or if they went to the right (or any) college, but the reality is that milquetoast namedroppers whose greatest contributions to the world consist of Yelp reviews lambasting various taquerias’ lack of authenticity make up the bulk of the current swarm. It makes me happy to know that all these free market men’s rights dillholes are out there paying $4,000/mo to live in claustrophobic Ikea showrooms. They should be.

    • ConcernedSF

      Hahaha, kanuka, that was amazing. It seems your in tech yourself and are frustrated working with people who get the dough but can’t back it up! Living in SF and being involved in tech will do that to you if you’ve been around the tech scene for a while. I completely agree with you (and I said it in a more recent post), but I guess, to be fair, it’s more than just techies. Sales, marketing, and i-bankers are filling the scene, as well. SF has become a breeding ground for overpaid youth.

  • FirstPineapple

    It’s a bubble… Just like in 2000, I just hope I can ride it out until it pops or at least a nice 6.5 earthquake hits, you know, not large enough to do that much damage but enough to shake things around a bit. Rent should probably go down pretty well after that.

  • Henry

    If you can’t afford it, move to the east bay. That or work your butt off until you can afford it. My parents are both first gen immigrants and I’m the first in my family to go to college and grad school. That’s the beauty of America – you have the power to make whatever you want happen. The question is, do you want it enough?

  • James

    Good time to own property in SF! In my opinion SF was a fun care free city up until around 2000. after that is has slowly declined to the state of being very overpriced. I own a car but choose to ride a bike as much as possible – why? when you burn gas you are paying for a big group of people’s vacations much like paying high rent is SF. Hey if your rich for whatever reason live there and fill your gas tank full. If your not rich I don’t see any reason to stay or move to SF unless you have rent control from 10+ years ago. If you own a home/building rent it out and live elsewhere. I left SF a few years ago and happy I did so. (im not rich)

  • JK Seattle

    THIS is not new news. The SF Bay Area is just ridiculous for rent and buying a home. I know. I grew up there. The house I grew up in was $30K in 1965. Today that same 55×110 foot lot of a 1400 sq ft house in Cupertino goes for well over $1 million to buy and more than $5K to rent per month. Rents in the Bay Area are based on two factors….less if the house or rental building is paid off, more if it is not. Hence, reason why so many who work in the Bay Area don’t live there. Hence, reason why so many drive more than 50 miles each way to get there for work.

  • Jackomo

    This is an examination of what NEW rentals cost. Does it accurately reflect what people are paying now? Does this indicate a “Bubble” so to speak?

  • techworker

    I’m one those god-awful techies working at a company frequently mentioned in these types of articles. I’ve got news for all of you: I can’t afford my rent in North Beach. I’ve lived there for three years, borrowing some money to make rent, and I am now moving to Oakland so I can support myself. People are so quick to lampoon the tech workers; I’m not saying that there isn’t a cohort that is doing incredibly well financially within tech, but people should stop assuming that all tech workers are the problem here. I’m not remotely complaining about my salary, but the housing market is unaffordable even for many (or even most) of us in tech. This affects people in all industries. Housing is completely out of control, regardless of where you work.

  • Nene

    This is sad. We are living in the last days literally. God said in the end of days, “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many are called but few are chosen.”

    Why should any city, state, country or continent have
    abandon houses when you have so many people, families that are homeless and
    could benefit from having a nice warm home to sleep in. You got people in
    shelters who would love to have one of these abandon homes fixed on so they
    could have a place to live. I blame the greedy capitalist for most of the
    problems we have in the world today.

    I think The Housing For Urban Development (HUD) should be
    responsible for all the empty condos and houses and place homeless men, women
    and families in those units to get people off the streets and out of the
    homeless shelters.

    There are so many empty apartments and houses I see on a day
    to day basis that could be housing someone. Chicago got a lot of empty places where
    they could subsidized the rent and give someone a home. I don’t get why the
    city continues to build brand new condos when no one is buying any of the empty
    condos that sits for time to time without someone living in them.
    This is ridiculous people are so greedy, most people can’t afford to pay 500 dollars a month for rent let alone 4,000.

  • ConcernedSF

    How the hell do the people living in San Francisco (or a multitude of other places) think rent goes up? On one hand you have the renters who decide “yeah, I make plenty of money, I’m young, I’m a jackass, I want to live in this rad spot, and I’ll be willing to throw down more money than the next guy to get this spot.” On the other we have the landlord who says “wow, look at that! the surrounding places in this area have quite the value! the other landlords are getting much more for their spot, so I’ll raise the rent!” Both sides are to blame, especially the twisted yuppies and hipsters who are not so hipster but really just hipster-trend-following yuppies. Pay attention to where you put your money and how it affects everybody else. Instead of throwing the hundreds of thousands of dollars that’s already being wasted on you (as opposed to say, teachers at public schools) at a nice little place you can rent in the hippest part of town, consider looking elsewhere in the first place. Drives me crazy. Just say no!

  • Brad

    I recently showed a 1 bedroom that I own in a neighborhood that has a value of over 6 per the map for $2350. Now I think I should have asked for more … I was saddened by the number of applicants who were piecing together 2 jobs for around $60,000 a year that filled out applications. I remember struggling to pay 1/3 of my salary for rent after college and I don’t see how people can pay 50% of their income for rent.

  • DorothyP
  • DeuxChats

    I’d like to see a comparable map for San Jose. My guess is, it wouldn’t look far different. Might even look worse.

  • Marshall Alexander Knight

    Isn’t it a little spurious that the “minimum wage incomes” being used in this comparison chart are based on a 40 hour workweek? I don’t know a single person who works 40 hours. The guys who are jacking up the rents certainly aren’t working less than 60, so it’s a skewed comparison. That’s not to say the rents are crazy high, but the reporting here needs to be a little more transparent and a little less biased.

  • nicola graves

    no person that makes enough money to stay in san francisco for the long run is going to be an artist, writer, poet, or anything but overworked office monkeys . . . .all that will be left is a beige blob of tired and still barely getting by google employees (who are boring as hell – sorry guys, but you are). the soul of san francisco is leaving one uhaul at a time.
    shame on everyone for letting this city turn into a parking lot.

    in ten years its going to be facebook, google, apple employees.
    still single, mid fourties, no kids.
    whole foods.
    beige boring city.

    sad to leave you in this horrible state San Francisco. im almost crying as i type this.
    my uhaul is already paid for and reserved. They guy said i was lucky to get one.
    my lease is up December 1.

    to the real san franciscans still sticking it out – please fight the good fight – but if you cant . . its okay to be defeated. meet me in Portland. Shitty weather but i will have a beautiful two bedroom house for $800 a month. . . . . : (

  • Harry Mann

    So why is it that when San Francisco becomes home to a lot of high paid tech workers, but also lowly paid interns for the same companies, this is supposed to mean less diversity? It sounds like greater diversity. Why do San Franciscans vilify the success of others, as if poverty and/or the lack of economic success were somehow virtuous and a badge of honor?

  • Apparently a “techy asshole”?

    I like how all of the posts are smearing the tech industry or critiquing some sub-genre of said tech industry. I know everyone wants to blame someone for the crazy rental market, but lets be honest the only thing thats caused this is our shitty government.

    A) I’m lucky, smart, driven and work in tech. I make “amazing” money for my age. Yet, it is just a number and it doesn’t add up to living “amazingly”. Don’t get me wrong. I’m really happy, but I still can’t afford to live some supposedly extravagant lifestyle.
    B) Where is rent control? Where is the system of checks and balances preventing us from getting into a situation like this? My rent gets raised every year by 100->200 dollars. Give it 1 more year and I’ll probably be on par with everyone else’s shitty rent prices and my place isn’t even that great.
    C) When people sit there and defend homeless people my response is 1) why aren’t they taking advantage of the resources we do give? How do you suggest we fix that? 2) have you met the drifters in upper haight? 3) yea, you’re right. also, where the fuck are our public toilets? On the other hand: I’m tired of walking through upper haight and getting harassed when people are openly asking for drug money or my slice of pizza. I seriously just want say, dude, just go home, your dad probably still loves you. I’m sick and tired of some random a-hole homeless dude telling me shit like “I hope you get into a fatal accident” or get swung at by some drunken homeless person just for being present. Sure they all have issues, but who doesn’t have issues. While it’s both an education and medical industry problem you can’t say that there is no glamorization of homeless lifestyle out there.

    Everyone is so black and white about everything and that isn’t reality.

  • stravu9

    You know, this city is NOTHING without the ethinic/counter culture mix that gave it its life.
    Without that, shit, move to Santa Clara!
    It will devolve into rich assholes..
    There will be no edgy,artsy restaurants, no artistic eccentrics. No ethnic diversity . Just a bunch of rich,boring , techno geeks.
    Yeah, I want to live there!

  • eduardo
  • Whom actually political decision makers. San Francisco certainly not Ed. Whom?
    NAIOP whom has the votes of profits. When decry “gentrification” players. Many don’t have ideal of there strength. Commercial brokerage firms reason so many. Bankers,investors,REITT,Foreign developers and Pension funds. Targeting net profits yes S.F. Now downtown without frown. The Tinsel Town L.A yes. New Electronics capital understand the argument. Neglect of city officials to use. Land for BMR housing every time. Mention defeated due neighborhood. Or NAIOP tactics irate so many. Foreign developer whom bought developments. Mission Bay and South Van Ness street prize. High rises over 700fl Ed can. You repeal the decisions of building. New office space? Answer is no Prop M never why? Billions profits NAIOP own Bay Area. Recommend Grand Boulervard net,Santa Clara-new developments and Redwood City Developments. You’ll say, why? Politicians ignored BMR housing implosion. Greed vote for change I support. Urban renewal use taxes to benefit. Housing rental protection fully aware. Real estate policies yes were not. Against landlords ownership make fair. Increase due small owners renovations. Way make lower income move out! Ed you say only 30,000 new BMR. No Ed not rentals sale units. Mayor NAIOP new administration of gentrification. After immediate profits fight gains. Working class LGBTQ facing most. Evictions
    S.F,NYC and L.A reason new. Residents of influence those able. Pay higher rental
    Ellis Act is lottery. San Francisco no other counties California. Has this policy same
    developers Bay. Area invest Southern Ca doing. Tactics evictions fight back now!


Matthew Green

Matthew Green produces and edits The Lowdown, KQED’s multimedia news education blog, an online resource for educators and the general public. He previously taught journalism at Fremont High School in East Oakland, and has written for numerous local publications, including the Oakland Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle. Email: mgreen@kqed.org; Twitter: @MGreenKQED

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