a map of the world

Oh my oh my.

Two years ago we wrote a blog post called “The San Francisco Rent Explosion” where we made the earth-shattering observation that renting an apartment in San Francisco was really expensive. The following year, we updated the data and, as it turned out, San Francisco rents were even more expensive! Now, we bring you the latest data on San Francisco apartment rents as of June 2015.

San Francisco has always been a very expensive city, but the compounding effect of rents increasing substantially every year means that the housing market has reached a fever pitch. We told you it was expensive before back in 2014, but now, in 2015, it’s *way* more expensive. Unless you have a rent-controlled apartment or a very large salary, an obscene amount of your after-tax income will go towards housing.

Your humble data collectors at Priceonomics analyzed apartment listing websites every year in June of 2011, 2013, 2014, and now 2015 (we didn’t collect the data in 2012). Today, the median apartment for rent in San Francisco is $3,880 per month. The median studio is $2,722, and the median one bedroom is $3,452. A two bedroom now rents for $4,400 month and three bedroom goes for $5,125.

chart, bar chart

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

Over the last 4 years, prices have dramatically increased in San Francisco. From 2011 to 2015, the median price of an apartment in the city has increased 50% from $2,595 to $3,880.

chart, line chart

Note: Data not collected in 2012, so for that year we’re just showing the midpoint between 2011 and 2013.

In some neighborhoods, the prices have increased particularly quickly. Next, let’s examine how much the price of a one bedroom apartment has increased by neighborhood from 2011 to 2015.


Over the past 4 years, the median rent of a one bedroom has increased by 57% from $2,195 to in 2011 to $3,452 as of June 2015. Over just the last year, the median rent of a one bedroom has increased 11%, from $3,120 in 2014 to $3,452 as of June 2015.

Let’s see which neighborhoods have experienced the highest escalation of rent in the last year:


Next, let’s breakdown how the rents of other types of apartments have increased over the last four years. Perhaps most notably, the price of renting a studio has almost doubled in the last four years!


Note: Data not collected in 2012, so for that year we’re just showing the midpoint between 2011 and 2013.

So, after all this upheaval, what neighborhoods are now the most expensive in San Francisco? Let’s rank each neighborhood by the price of a one bedroom. Coming in first place is Pacific Heights, where the median one-bedroom now costs $3,848. This is well over twice the price of an apartment in Bayview which currently costs $1,400 (the same it cost in 2011).


Your Rental Cheat Sheet

The demand for housing in San Francisco has continued to rise over the last few years while the supply of homes remains mostly fixed. Moreover, most of the existing housing stock is either owner-occupied or occupied by rent-controlled tenants. That means the number of units that hit the market in any given month is infinitesimal compared to the number of new residents. And so, prices skyrocket.

As you search for your apartment in San Francisco, you might find this Priceonomics rent cheat sheet handy.  It provides the median price of an apartment (as of the end of June 2015) for a studio or a one, two or three-bedroom apartment in each neighborhood.


So, good luck dear reader on finding your perfect San Francisco apartment. You may desire a large, sunny place in a great neighborhood. Banish those thoughts!  Given the limited supply of apartments in the city and competition to live in them, the perfect apartment in San Francisco is just the one you can get.

The next post in this series covers what’s happened to rent in Palo Alto, Berkeley, Oakland, and the rest of the Bay Area. To get notified when we post it, join our email list.