The 3 Most Affordable Neighborhoods in San Francisco

Rents in San Francisco have never been higher. With stunning water views, charming Victorian architecture, a booming job market and a mild climate, SF is one of the most desirable places to live in America. In the past decade, housing costs in the Bay Area city have shot upwards to reflect San Fran's growing popularity.

As of September of 2017 the average rent for an apartment in San Francisco is $3825 per month. One bedrooms average $3398 per month, and two bedrooms cost $4555 on average. And costs are continuing to rise. In the past three years the average cost for an apartment in the city has increased by 15.3%.

Affordable housing is difficult to come by in the Bay Area. If you are looking to live in San Francisco on a budget, focus your search on Presidio Heights, North Beach and Outer Sunset. These three neighborhoods offer a strong dose of SF culture, at a significantly lower price point.


Presidio Heights

Presidio Heights is a scenic residential neighborhood in the northwest corner of San Francisco. Made up primarily of large, single-family homes nestled along tree lined streets, Presidio Heights is a beautiful neighborhood with a lot of charm. Most of the lovely homes were built between 1900 and 1930. These Edwardian style houses are a perfect example of classic, San Fran architecture.

To the north of Presidio Heights, lies the Presidio, one of the most beautiful green spaces in San Francisco. Clocking in at nearly 1480 acres, the park has plenty of trails for running, walking, and biking.

Presidio heights

Not only does Presidio Heights have access to nature, it also has plenty of great neighborhood businesses. Stroll down Sacramento Ave. or Fillmore Street for a wide array of dining and shopping options. Locals love the Magic Flute Garden Ristorante for brunch, and Garibaldi's Restaurant for dinner. For entertainment, the Vogue Theater, a historic movie theater that has been open since 1910, is located right on the corner of Sacramento and Presidio.

The spacious single-family homes of Presidio Heights are incredibly expensive to buy. However, this wealthy neighborhood actually has fairly affordable rental prices, for San Francisco anyways. Surprisingly, this luxury area has the lowest rental rates of any neighborhood in the city. Average rent in Presidio Heights is $2957 per month, with one bedrooms averaging $2750 per month and two bedrooms going for $4431.

Outer Sunset

Right on the ocean, Outer Sunset is an affordable neighborhood in a great location.

Outer Sunset is walking distance to the beach; wake up early to watch wetsuit clad surfers brave the freezing waves of the Pacific. The neighborhood is also right next to Golden Gate Park, which has plenty of options for outdoor recreation, as well as the stunning San Francisco Botanical Garden.

Primarily made up of duplexes and townhouses, Outer Sunset is a family friendly neighborhood with plenty to offer. The area is ethnically diverse, with many Asian restaurants and grocery stores.

Outer Sunset

The main downside of Outer Sunset is the weather. Residents complain that the weather in the neighborhood is even foggier and grayer than the rest of San Francisco.

It is hard to believe that this cute beachfront neighborhood is one the cheapest areas of San Francisco, but Outer Sunset actually has some of the lowest rents in the whole city. The average rent for an apartment in Outer Sunset is $2989 per month, $836 less than the average rent citywide. One bedrooms cost $3071 on average and two bedrooms go for $3175 per month.

North Beach

North Beach is the most northeastern neighborhood of San Francisco. The Bay-facing neighborhood has a distinctive Italian heritage and plenty of nightlife.

Known as San Francisco's Little Italy, North Beach is still home to a large number of Italian bakeries and restaurants. It is also the birthplace of the Beatnik movement in the 1950s. Get a taste of North Beach's beatnik heritage at City Lights Bookstore, a San Francisco institution beloved by locals.

Today North Beach is the heart of San Francisco's nightlife. 20-somethings flock to the retro style bars that line the main streets of this buzzy neighborhood.

The residential portion of the neighborhood is made up of duplexes and Victorian homes. North Beach is a popular neighborhood for young professionals, and has a sizeable Chinese population bleeding over from the nearby Chinatown.

This cool neighborhood is also one of the most affordable in the city. One bedrooms in North Beach cost $3400 on average and two bedrooms go for $4398 per month.

Whether you prefer the Edwardian charms of Presidio Heights, the happening nightlife of North Beach or the laid back surf culture of Outer Sunset, there are areas of San Francisco that come with a lower price tag. Check out our San Francisco rental listings today to find your new pad.

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