How much does it cost to rent a room in San Francisco?

January 22, 2017

TLDR;

As of January 2017 the median listing price for a room on Craigslist was $1350; for shared rooms it was $800.

Median Rents By Neighborhood

Introduction

This data came from 15,000 Craigslist postings that I collected over a six week period between December 2016 & January 2017. After removing duplicate postings, I was left with about 8,000 unique room listings.

How much does it cost to rent a private room?

The median rent across listings was $1350. Unsurprisingly, this varied significantly across neighborhoods.

Median Rent Neighborhood
$1700-1799 Marina/Cow Hollow ($1780), Pac Heights ($1700), Potrero Hill ($1700)
$1600-1699 Lower Pac Heights ($1685), Hayes Valley ($1600), Lower Haight ($1600), Noe Valley ($1600)
$1500-1599 Lower Nob Hill ($1595), Russian Hill ($1585), Western Addition ($1575), Castro / Upper Market ($1500), SOMA / South Beach ($1500), Twin Peaks / Diamond Heights ($1500)
$1400-1499 Nob Hill ($1475), Alamo Square / Nopa ($1450), Cole Valley / Ashbury Heights ($1450), Downtown / Civic Center / Van Ness ($1400), Glen Park ($1400), Haight Ashbury ($1400), Mission District ($1400), North Beach / Telegraph Hill ($1400)
$1300-1399 Laurel Heights ($1360), Bernal Heights ($1345), Inner Richmond ($1300)
$1200-1299 Richmond / Seacliff ($1265), Bayview ($1250), Inner Sunset / UCSF ($1225), Tenderloin ($1200)
$1100-1199 Sunset / Parkside ($1150), Excelsior / Outer Mission ($1100), Visitacion Valley ($1100)
$1000-1099 Portala District ($1000), West Portali / Forest Hill ($1000)
$900-999 Financial District ($995), Ingleside / SFSU/ CCSF ($995), Treasure Island ($975)

Rents of Private Rooms

Treasure Island and the Tenderloin had the fewest listings (both less than 20), while the Ingleside / SFSU / CCSF neighborhood had the most (600).

Locations of Rooms Posted on Craigslist

How much does it cost to rent a converted room?

The median rent for a converted room (which is generally a living room that has been enclosed with a moveable partition) was $1300. 70% of the converted rooms listed on Craigslist are located in the SOMA / South Beach neighborhood. Converted rooms make up a very small portion (~1%) of the rooms listed on Craigslist.

Rents of Converted Rooms

How much does it cost to rent a shared room?

$800 per month is the median rent for a spot in a shared room. However, legitimate listings for shared rooms can be as high as $2000/month (per person). The pricier listings are usually for rooms located in non-chain hotels.

Rents of Shared Rooms

Most neighborhoods did not have any postings for shared rooms. Instead, postings tended to be for one of the following neighborhoods:

  • Ingleside/SFSU/CCSF (25% of shared room postings)
  • Sunset/Parkside (20%)
  • Downtown/Civic/Van Ness (12%)

When are rooms posted?

Posting activity was generally highest on Monday then tapered off over the course of the week.

Posting Volume by Day

How competitive are rooms?

About 75% of listed rooms are only posted once. This seems to imply that these are “competitive” listings - i.e. these vacancies are filled after being posted on Craigslist only once.

The remaining 25% of rooms aren’t just re-posted once, but re-posted many, many times. This suggests that nobody is interested in these rooms (the “uncompetitive” listings) or that they’re scams. These rooms make up two-thirds of all postings, despite only representing 25% of the rooms available on Craigslist.

Posted 250+ Times:

“28th Ave room see today”

Posted 75+ Times:

“Awesome people needed”

“Best Community ever”

“2 Minutes walk from BART”

Generally speaking, the most re-posted rooms originate from commercial entities (brokers, hacker houses, roommate matching services, etc.). In addition to aggressively re-posting their listings, it’s also common for them to list same vacancy multiple times with different copy.

Final Thoughts

If you’re moving to San Francisco, expect to pay $1000-1800/month (or more, if you so choose) to live with roommates. Prices will vary greatly depending on location, and if a listing seems too good to be true, then it’s probably a scam.