San Francisco is an amazing place to live, which, as we all know, makes apartment-hunting in the Bay tricky. You may even consider desperate measures to shift the rent/income ratio in your favor—something transplants quickly realize after moving here. Affordable San Francisco apartments are hard to come by, but they do exist. Whether you want to live downtown, in the Richmond, or somewhere in between, check out our rotating selection of digs ranging in price between $1,000 and $2,000 per person, per month, from real estate site Zumper’s inventory. But do it quickly: These will be gone before you can say “security deposit.”
Three-bedroom in Lone Mountain, $4,495/month ($1,498 per person)
Built-in dark wood cabinets and a fireplace in the living room give these spacious chambers near the USF School of Law a professorial air, but you don’t have to be a top-earning Silicon Valley attorney to afford the rent. Okay, it’s technically a two-bedroom with a third one large enough for a twin bed—so we counsel stating your case for the master boudoir.
Studio in the Tenderloin, $1,795/month
Don’t let the neighborhood scare you away. The growing number of trendy bars suggests it won’t be too long before the ’Loin is the new Mission. If you can put up with some occasional screaming and drug transactions on the streets outside, this compact pad is pretty terrific. There may be zero bedrooms, but it has lots of windows, stainless-steel kitchen appliances, in-building laundry and what looks like a good-size closet. Even pets are okay, which is a bonus since you might want to invest in a guard cat.
Three-bedroom in the Presidio, $3,325/month ($1,108 per person)
Let’s be honest: This is a plain, boxy apartment in a barracks-like complex. But picture yourself waking up on a summer weekend and strolling over to the one good beach in San Francisco, or taking a swim in the building’s pool. Hiking trails, crashing waves and boundless fresh air can all be yours for just over a grand a month. We think we could overlook that scary wall heater and institutional-looking kitchen.
Two-bedroom west of Twin Peaks, $3,800/month ($1,900 per person)
Your mother was wrong. In some situations, it’s what’s on the outside that counts. Take, for example, this two-bedroom near Twin Peaks with a pretty drab interior and a very weird mosaic floor in the kitchen. None of that matters when you step out onto the balcony (!) overlooking the entire San Francisco skyline. There are a few interior pluses too: brand new appliances and a wood-burning fireplace.
Two-bedroom in the Richmond, $3,695/month ($1,847.50 per person)
If you’re like us, before moving here your San Francisco fantasy involved a classic Edwardian flat complete with a designer kitchen (for whipping up locavore meals) and a Jacuzzi tub. You’ve had to face the reality that you’re not going to get that within walking distance of a cable car stop. This apartment is a bit out of the way, unless you are really, really into Russian bakeries. But a parking space, on-site laundry and massage jets in the shower more than make up for living in SF’s Siberia.