The Market

San Francisco beats NYC in race to unaffordability

By BrickUnderground | June 2, 2015 - 12:30PM

In the dubious race called "lack of affordable rentals," San Francisco continues to trump New York City. That's according to a recent report released by real estate database Zumper. In fact, Fog City tops the list when it comes to one-bedrooms, asking a median of $3500 a month, with NYC in hot pursuit at $3100. Here in the city, Vinegar Hill saw a 5.5 percent jump in median rents from the previous month, asking $3670 a month and jumping to 14th most expensive neighborhood in the city. NoMad is most expensive at $4500 a month.

After NYC, there's a major fall-off to Boston, which has similar apartments asking $2230 a month. (How do you like them apples?) Seattle is practically a bargain with one-bedrooms going for $1600 a month.

But as we recently learned, hard numbers like median prices don't tell a complete story; price-per-square-foot matters, too, because then we know if we're getting more bang despite paying more bucks. Take, for example, this one-bedroom on California Street in the Richmond, a sweet neighborhood near the excellent restaurants and amazing shops on Clement Street—hello, Green Apple! Best. Bookstore. Ever.—and even more commerce on Geary Boulevard. (Plus, it's about a 10-minute drive at most to the Golden Gate Bridge sans traffic.)

Yes, it's totally not cheap. But it's 900 square feet—practically a mansion here in NYC—and has wonderful period details, like the quintessential staircase entry, crown moldings, and the like. And parking's available, which, if you know this neighborhood, is essential.

Compare that to this place on West 94th Street asking $3400 a month in a comparable neighborhood like the Upper West Side.

It's a darling also laden with period details and comes with a garden to boot, but you get 400 square feet less to live in than the SF apartment.

All to say that asking rents are just a starting point for evaluating affordability. Also, it's expensive seemingly everywhere. 


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