Median rents for one-bedroom apartments by neighborhood in San Francisco (Zumper).

The apartment rental startup Zumper has updated its maps of the median rents for one and two bedroom apartments in San Francisco by neighborhood. It found that the median price for a one-bedroom in the city is now $2,764. The median price for a two-bedroom is $4,000.

The median is the numerical value separating the higher half of a data set from the lower half.

In San Francisco, these rates vary substantially depending on which part of town you’re looking in. Much like its notorious micro-climates, the city features micro-pockets of relatively affordable rental units.

For example, here are the three most expensive neighborhoods to rent a one-bedroom:

South Beach – $3500
Russian Hill – $3410
Financial District – $3350

And here are the three least expensive neighborhoods to rent a one-bedroom:

Outer Richmond – $1850
Outer Sunset – $1975
Inner Richmond – $2015

As for the three most expensive neighborhoods to rent a two-bedroom:

Financial District – $5800
Marina – $5450
Cow Hollow – $5400

And the three least expensive neighborhoods to rent a two-bedroom:

Outer Mission/Excelsior – $2460
Outer Sunset – $2525
Lakeshore – $2640

Zumper Co-Founder & CEO Anthemos Georgiades explained the methodology the company uses to construct these maps:

  • “We use medians for the average prices to discount outlier listings and so as to not over/understate the real prices.”
  • “These May 2013 asking rents are perhaps different to what some readers may currently be paying if they rented a few years ago or if they are still paying rent- controlled prices. However, these are the current prevailing prices for available apartments on the market today.”
  • “Most units on the market tend to be newer (read: non-rent controlled) developments built post-1979, since they experience more turnover. These units are often renovated with many more amenities than their rent-controlled counterparts, making them more expensive.”

As for the “least expensive” neighborhoods on the list, this too is a relative matter, especially for low-income families. Earlier this year, the National Low Income Housing Coalition reported that San Francisco is the second least affordable rental market among all U.S.cities, after Honolulu.

The rental situation is driving some of those seeking apartments to take extreme measures to enhance their chances.


San Francisco Rents Vary Widely by Neighborhood 10 June,2013David Weir
  • Gand Almonor

    Not to sound like a cheapskate or anything, but how on earth is anyone able to afford an apartment in even the cheaper areas? I’ve been searching and searching for apartments for rent everywhere and even the trashy barrios are out of my budget.


David Weir

David Weir is KQED's senior editor for digital news.  He previously worked at Rolling Stone, Salon, Wired Digital, Excite@Home, Mother Jones, and as a co-founder and executive director of the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Over the past 40 years, he and his teams have won dozens of awards, including a National Magazine Award, an IRE Award and a Webby. He has authored or co-authored four books, including (with Mark Schapiro) Circle of Poison.

He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Michigan, and has taught journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford and San Francisco State.

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