Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Another boring post about how bad rents in SF have gotten

I know, it's been a while!  I missed all you guys a lot, but I was busy flying all over the US and having Thanksgiving and whatnot.  Nothing bad happened on any of the flights (except for one jackass slamming his seat into full recline 12 seconds after takeoff and essentially eliminating half of my usable space [Incidentally, we should just agree, as a society, that we can no longer recline our seats. The airlines have fucked us on that one by making the seats way too close together. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is.  If you recline your seat into the lap of the person behind you, you are now a total asshole.  Them's the breaks.]), to which I credit the tender mercies of Frontier Airlines, my longtime favorite airline.

Also, every Frontier flight just about goes through Denver, and Denver has one of the last airports with multiple bars you can smoke in without leaving the airport.  I quit smoking a while back but that was nice to have when I needed it.

WAIT I'VE GOTTEN COMPLETELY OFF TRACK. WHAT WERE WE SUPPOSED TO TALK ABOUT.

Oh, right, rents in SF!  Crazy!  Not long ago I happened onto this post on Curbed about what you can rent for $2000-$2500 a month and was SHOCKED to see the STUDIO across the hall from where I used to live on Frederick is going for $2,250!!!  HOLY FUCK.  That is a STUDIO.  Now, it's a big studio - I should know, I've been in it - and it has a nice big separate kitchen and all, but come the fuck on.

I had the 1-bedroom across the hall from 1992 to 1996.  We paid $895.  According to my handy inflation calculator, that's $1432 in today's dollars.  That's for the ONE-BEDROOM, not the studio.  Since the ad is still up, I guess that means that it still hasn't been rented.  I hope they never rent it at that price. 

Similarly, as I've mentioned in the past, when I first moved to SF in 1990, I lived at 350 Union, in a furnished studio that cost $685.  Same studio today is $1939.  Inflation calculator says it should be $1212.  That's still a lot, but it's not $1939.

I'm not going to launch into another one of those what-happened-and-what-does-it-all-mean articles like this one, except to make one small observation: when rents are this ridiculously high, it greatly restricts the kind of people who can move to SF, and that's a bummer.  I certainly doubt I could have afforded that studio in 1990 for $1095 (i.e., 1939 in 1990 dollars), so I would have been effectively kept out.  I'm not saying that I've been some kind of magical addition to SF or anything, but I'm lightweight worried that cool people who don't make six figures are being kept out and who knows what we're missing out on. 

That said, I have no idea what the answer is.  I get the objections to the micro-apartments that have been approved, but doesn't it seem like a reasonable compromise?  If I was 23, I'd live in one, for sure.

9 comments:

Scurvy said...

Those prices seem in line not with actual inflation, but with the old "rule of 7's." That said things double in price every 7 years. No idea where it came from, but it's an older saying. If you do the math, those rental prices are roughly in-line with that...but still on the high side.

GG said...

The last flight I was on, the guy in front of me reclined his seat ALL the way, then had the nerve to turn around and bitch at me for "kicking" the seat. Since his seat back was resting *on* my knees, yes, every time I moved, he was going to feel something...

Tamagosan said...

Magical Addition, TK's new fictional band name!

Short flights (<6 hours): Nobody reclines. Long flights (>6 hours): Everyone does. If fights break out, you can always just collectively enjoy the common enemy of those in business with their acres of legroom. We need not go on with flight annoyances, because that SFGate article and ALLLLLL its comments satiated me for a while. PLUS, I think we need to bitch about UMBRELLA ETIQUETTE. Almost got stabbed a few times on BART this morning. Srsly, people, get a raincoat and do it right.

Anyway, rent. I've actually never paid it in the States (strange combo of living with folks, in the dorms, in France/Germany for many years and then getting scammed into one of those mortgage things, albeit not without cobbling together all kinds of assistance...) BUT when I think about the amounts I hear about and then compare them with my actual take-home pay, the latter often doesn't cover the former. I could never afford to live here without many roomies, I guess, more than the 2 I have now! When I left France (5 years ago), I paid €305 for my studio downtown in a very small town. That seemed like a lot at the time, but I wonder how much it is now.

Every day I'm saddened (yes, in that annoyingly nostalgic it-used-to-be-so-awesome way, but NOT in the gentrification-is-automatically-the-worst-thing-ever way) that the City of my birth gets more and more expensive and therefore boring. Just yesterday I took the 24 down Divisadero and noticed the little block of businesses between Geary and O'Farrell is just gone...

OK I'm going to go drink more of this Vietnamese coffee crack and rant elsewhere...

GG said...

Oh and also, when I first moved out of the dorms in Berkeley in 1993 we rented an ENTIRE 7-bedroom house on Milvia St., which 8 people shared, for $2,700.

My apartment in Glen Park is $2,500 (no rent hikes in 4 years, my landlord rules) for a 2.5 bed/2 bath, and I feel like I am getting away with murder every single day. If I ever have to move I'll probably just break down and buy a place, even though I'd prefer not to, but rental prices have become so ridiculous.

bearontheroof said...

Who's gone apartment shopping recently? Even at these prices, you can show up 15 minutes early to an open house for a $2400/month studio in the ass-end of the Mission and find 30 couples foaming at the mouth with checkbooks in hand ready to outbid each other. Taking my girlfriend apartment shopping was the only way to convince her to let me move to south bay.

amy.leblanc said...

this is why everyone cool is in oakland.

Slag said...

Great opinion pieces, thanks for sharing.

I'd like to add a qualifier:

I'm not opposed to micro-apartments. I AM opposed to the obscene rent they're planning on charging!

$1500+ for a room? Seriously?

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