Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Two New Charts Prove San Francisco Rents Are Out of Control

It's getting even more expensive to live in the Bay Area.

The San Francisco Bay Area is among the most expensive places to live in the U.S., whether judged by rent and home price data, or more esoteric measures, like the number of white collar workers sleeping in vans and wooden boxes to save on rent.

Here are two more metrics to shake your head at, each more staggering than the next:

CoStar Group, a real estate data firm, uses a five-star system to rate multifamily properties based on architectural attributes, structural systems, amenities, and other traits. For instance, one star buildings require significant renovation or are functionally obsolete. Two star buildings are associated with phrases like “functional,” average,” and “aging.” Together, one- and two-star buildings account for roughly one-third of market rate multi-family units in the U.S. There are plenty of big cities, like Dallas, or Atlanta, where the average asking rents for such apartments are less than $800 a month. 

In San Francisco, typical monthly rent for the metropolitan area’s most humble housing stock is more than three times that amount—a staggering $2,586.   

Such high rents chase people away, even highly-skilled, in-demand tech industry workers. Many have departed for smaller tech hubs like Austin and Denver, or even cheaper locales, from which they can work from home.

But evidence of renters pulling the rip chord can only take so much steam out of the market.

New research published last week by Zillow showed that renters seeking to move away from San Francisco had a median household income of $72,000. The typical income of renters seeking to move into the city was $95,000. In San Jose, the difference was even greater: Outbound households made $91,200; inbound renters made $111,800.

For every cash-strapped engineer seeking to get out of town, it appears there’s a richer coder waiting to take his or her place. 

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