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It's Official: It's Now as Expensive to Rent in San Francisco as in New York City

Jennie Butler | September 11, 2014 | Story

Stop us if you've heard this one before: It's getting more and more expensive to rent or buy real estate in San Francisco. So expensive, in fact, that we just tied New York City for most ridiculous rents. Yay, us.

It now costs 14.5 percent more to rent an apartment in San Francisco than it did in August of last year, according to Trulia. This means that what you saw on Craigslist for $3,057 last summer is now going for $3,500 (San Francisco’s median rate for a two-bedroom), and that SF is tied with New York for the most expensive median two-bedroom rental price. The housing market sales doesn’t look much better. Owning a home in SF will cost you 11.2 percent more than it did just over a year ago, (compared to the national increase of 7.8 percent) and 12.4 percent more in Oakland.

The city's rate of rent increase was the second-highest of the nation's largest 25 markets, with Oakland coming in third at a 14.4 percent increase. The fastest growth in rental prices in the last year? Sacramento.

Wait, what? Yes, Sacramento had the highest growth in rent prices among the nation's largest cities, at a 14.9% increase. (That doesn't mean it's more expensive to live in Midtown than Mid-Market: The median 2 bedroom in Sacramento goes for a measly $1,250—far below San Francisco and Oakland's averages.)

So what explains the uptick in Sacramento's prices? We called Trulia Cheif Economist, Jed Kolko, and put the question to him. He says he's not sure he can put a single factor behind it, but suspects that the region's strong job growth hasn't been met by an increase in apartment supply, especially in dense buildings. According to Kolko, less than 15 percent of construction currently underway in Sacramento are multi-unit buildings—compared to San Francisco’s 84 percent.

Looking for a break from the price madness? The cheapest city in the sample was St. Louis, Missouri, with a median 2-bedroom rent of $950 a month—which is about what you paid for that Third Wave, Shade Massaged, Fairly Disrupted cup of coffee you drank this morning.

So, anyone want to meet us in St. Louis? Anyone? Bueller?

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