Renting and buying in SF only getting tougher

via The Bay Citizen

Two recent stories reported what many people looking to live in San Francisco have already discerned from dismal housing searches: The rental market is clogged and expensive, and home prices are the highest in the country.

It seems accounts of the city’s second tech boom and its effect on the rental market are churned out daily, but recent stories are buoyed by some sobering numbers. A piece that ran in the Wall Street Journal yesterday described the tribulations of tech-sector folks trying to land apartments in the city.

A constricted real estate market and new workers moving in from outside San Francisco all contributed to “the nation’s fastest-rising costs to rent a home in the first three months of this year,” where “average monthly rent hit $1,888, up 5.9% from a year earlier.”

An owner of a property management company admitted to boosting the rent on a 600-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment in the Mission by 40 percent, to $2,800 a month.

The Mission neighborhood, a locus of hipster culture in the city, is in high demand. The cheapest apartment in the area currently listed on Craigslist is a 330-square-foot studio for $1,450, and the most expensive is a $7,000 “master suite” on the top floor of a condo.

And things aren’t much rosier for buyers. Business Insider reported that the median home price in San Francisco is $585,000, making it the most expensive city in the nation for homebuyers. New York clocked in at $450,000.

Meanwhile, housing construction has slowed in the Bay Area, the debate over affordable housing rages on at City Hall, and fewer builders are including affordable housing in their developments.

The issue of owners renting out homes as short-term vacation rentals instead of long-term housing also has squeezed the market, though Supervisor David Chiu introduced legislation [PDF] to reverse the trend and the city recently decided to apply the hotel tax to short-term rental website Airbnb. But high-profile events like the America’s Cup yacht race create attractive opportunities for those looking to use their homes like hotels: A search for “America’s Cup” on Craigslist turns up 111 returns for the San Francisco Bay Area section.

Source: The Bay Citizen (


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