Southern neighborhoods on the rise in SF rental market

Lakeshore, Bernal Heights and Bayview report double-digit rent increases

The Canyon apartments in Mission Bay
The Canyon apartments in Mission Bay (Jason O’Rear, Getty)

San Francisco one-bedroom rents may be holding steady at $3,000 per month, but a deeper dive into the data shows that some neighborhoods are thriving, while others have seen double digit declines, according to rental listing site Zumper. 

Median one-bedroom rents in the Lakeshore neighborhood near San Francisco State were just over $3,000 per month in June, according to Zumper’s data, a nearly 12 percent increase, year-over-year. Other outlying southern neighborhoods like Bayview and Bernal Heights also saw increases of more than 11 percent and were nearly the same price. 

Zumper’s Crystal Chen said San Francisco renters are searching for neighborhoods that feel more residential, close to parks and bodies of water, with easier parking. Lakeshore fits the bill, she said, plus it is probably seeing additional competition from SF State students signing new leases this summer. 

Tenants also prize walkable amenities, which could be one reason North Beach with its restaurants and shops was up 8.6 percent year over year to $2,650 a month, while neighboring Telegraph Hill, which “isn’t the most accessible area” was down nearly 10 percent in the same period. Even with the drop, at $2,930 per month, Telegraph Hill is still more expensive than North Beach, where the units tend to be smaller. 

Affordability is one reason the latter neighborhood is so popular with young people just moving to the city, Chen said. Given that the summer is typically a “hot moving season” for transplants, Chen said the increased competition is likely driving up rents there.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Mission Bay and Dogpatch are the city’s most expensive neighborhoods, at about $3,600 per month for a median one-bedroom. That’s no surprise given that well-paid life science companies in the area have had much more stringent return-to-office policies than downtown employers. Chen said new buildings with “decked out amenities” contribute to high rents in those areas. 

Dogpatch rents were up more than 3 percent while Mission Bay rents were actually down nearly 7 percent year over year, but Chen doesn’t think the neighborhood has peaked, pointing to the new entertainment options that will likely bring an uptick in prices as the Giants- and Tishman Speyer-developed Mission Rock opens its first phase. 

A Tishman Speyer rep said The Canyon apartments at Mission Rock have “experienced strong interest” since leasing began this spring, even with most of the development across from Oracle Park still under construction. Residents are drawn to the building’s design, amenities and waterfront location. One-bedroom rents in The Canyon start at $3,200 a month net effective, and are more than 20 percent leased with a range of sizes from studios to three bedrooms, she said. 

With return-to-office attendance downtown still hovering around 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels, the Financial District had the biggest year-over-year rental drop in the city of 13 percent to $2,410. Nearby SoMa rents were down more than 12 percent, though it was still above the citywide average at $3,120, likely because it has newer, high-amenity buildings. Lower Haight had the third-biggest drop at nearly 11 percent, but Chen said that the centrally located neighborhood is still popular and that its median might suffer drag from the “influx of lower-priced inventory in the area, especially in the buildings closer to Market Street.”

The Outer Sunset and Excelsior had the least expensive rents in the city at around $2,000 a month for a one-bedroom, which is about the same as they were last June, indicating that renters may want a more residential lifestyle but they also don’t want to be that far out from the city core. The third-least-expensive neighborhood is the Tenderloin, at $2,150 per month, which is up nearly 2 percent from last year. 

Read more