What One Month's S.F. Rent Gets You In Other Millennial Cities

Photo: Courtesy of Relisto.
We can’t say that we were surprised when we learned that San Francisco was high on the list of cities where millennials can’t afford to buy homes these days. What did surprise us was how many of our “backup cities” — diverse, interesting locales with amazing food, music, and art scenes that we have on our radar if (when) we get priced out of S.F. — were also on that list.

So, if we're not buying, we're stuck renting — which in a city like ours is definitely not a good thing. According to Rent Jungle, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in S.F. was $3,213 per month as of May 2015; two-bedrooms average at $4,385. The San Francisco Chronicle reports local landlords collected an average of $3,458 in the first quarter of 2015. And, as we well know, often that rent can be for an apartment the size of a walk-in closet in an “up-and-coming” part of the city.

Would the rental market in other cities around the U.S. prove to be as pricey? We stacked up S.F. listings, ranging from $3,000 to $4,400 per month, against similarly priced listings in other millennial-friendly cities around the country. What we found could be enough to inspire a quick relocation strategy. Take a look at our head-to-head listings and decide!


















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Photo: Courtesy of 1000 Chestnut.
S.F. vs. Seattle
The Rent: $3,250-3,475

What You Get in S.F.
There’s no shortage of stunning views in S.F., but some make it all (crazy rents included) feel worth it. That’s definitely the case with the apartments at 1000 Chestnut — assuming all of those one-bedroom apartments have that panorama of the Bay, Alcatraz, and Angel Islands (and maybe even the Golden Gate if you’re lucky). One-bedroom apartments start at $3,475 and go up to $4,950, causing us to suspect that the truly prime views will cost you. Worth it? Maybe. Apartments come furnished and unfurnished, and include a doorman-attended lobby.
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Photo: Courtesy of Terravita Apartments.
S.F. vs. Seattle
The Rent: $3,250-3,475

What You Get in Seattle
Seattle and S.F. have a good amount in common — the hills, the grey weather, and the coffee obsession. Things the two don’t have in common? 1024-square-foot two-bedrooms, two-bathrooms for $3,250 a month. This two-bedroom in particular, located right in the middle of Downtown and Capitol Hill, includes a brand-new kitchen, hardwood floors, and access to a fitness center, roof deck, club room, and game room.
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Photo: Courtesy of AVA Nob Hill Apartments.
S.F. vs. Brooklyn
The Rent: $3,530-$3,565

What You Get in S.F.
We love us a Nob Hill Victorian, but can see the appeal of this more modern take on the one-bedroom. 556-square-foot one-bedrooms (gulp) start at $3,530, and include a new kitchen, a fitness center, a Wi-Fi-equipped outdoor courtyard, and a barbecue picnic area. Oh, and the AVA Nob Hill Apartments are actually located in Polk Gulch… a detail worth noting before going all out with new neighborhood pride.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Brooklyner.
S.F. vs. Brooklyn
The Rent: $3,530-$3,565

What You Get in Brooklyn
With bragging rights as “the tallest building in the borough, The Brooklyner is smack in the middle of Downtown Brooklyn, an area that has steadily resisted the Williamsburgification that seems to be spreading to neighboring areas like wildfire. Well, until now. This sleek, chic collection of apartments boast Italian cabinetry, granite countertops, hardwood floors, and one hell of a roof deck, complete with lounge chairs and Manhattan views. A one-bedroom will run you $3,565 for 618-square-feet, at least (giving S.F. a run for its price-per-square-foot money), so we’d recommend moving in fast to make use of that rooftop before summer ends.
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Photo: Courtesy of Avalon Apartments.
S.F. vs. Austin
The Rent: $3,623-$3,640

What You Get in S.F.
Mission Bay just keeps on growing, and these souped-up Avalon Apartments are as posh and modern as can be with gourmet kitchens, granite countertops, and modern details. $3,640 gets you a one-bedroom, though at 671-square-feet, we worry that things might get a little cramped. Fortunately, you’ll have plenty of room to stretch out at the two-level fitness center, including a spin studio, climbing wall, indoor basketball court, and spa. There’s an outdoor courtyard with fire pits, and an outdoor movie theater for those balmy October evenings, too.
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Photo: Courtesy of Seven Apartments.
S.F. vs. Austin
The Rent: $3,623-$3,640

What You Get in Austin
Austin may have a reputation for being a little offbeat, a little grungy, a little weird… but that doesn’t mean you have to live in anything less than the highest style. $3,623 gets you a 1155-square-foot two- bedroom, two-bathroom, complete with a modern, well-equipped kitchen, a fitness center, and oh yeah, an incredible outdoor pool with views for miles.
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Photo: Courtesy of 1550 Bay Street.
S.F. vs. Boston
The Rent: $3,325-$3,569

What You Get in S.F.
A one-bedroom in the Marina for less than $5K? It’s almost too good to be true. These Marina Cove apartments appear to be respectably spacious, and are a stone’s throw from Fort Mason and the Marina Green. Many of them are furnished, and all have access to a fitness center and heated pool. We have some concerns about a lack of character to the joint (the building is definitely outfitted for short-term renters and corporate clients), but with the one-bedroom range from $3,325 to $3,345 per month, we’re finding ourselves quickly getting over it.
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Photo: Courtesy of Park Lane Seaport Apartments.
S.F. vs. Boston
The Rent: $3,325-$3,569

What You Get in Boston

Speaking of apartments right on a picturesque body of water, Boston’s Park Lane Seaport Apartments are all about luxury living, Beantown-style, complete with brand-new kitchens, a fitness center, onsite restaurants, and 24-hour concierge service. A 987-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment starts at $3,569, but can get up to $6,120, giving us a sneaking suspicion that those city and harbor views come at a price. Luckily, they’ve got an outdoor roof deck lounge, ensuring that you get your fill of sea breezes, regardless of your rent.
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Photo: Courtesy of Rincon Apartments.
S.F. vs. Chicago
The Rent: $3,764-$3,795

What You Get in S.F.
We’d live at the Ferry Building if we could, so a one-bedroom a few short blocks away at the Carmel Rincon Apartments seems like a decent backup option. $3,795 gets you a 539-square-foot one-bedroom, a completely renovated kitchen, and floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of the Bay and the city. Your lease comes with either free laundry service or a membership to the nearby YMCA, too.
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Photo: Courtesy of AMLI River North.
S.F. vs. Chicago
The Rent: $3,764-$3,795

What You Get in Chicago

If there’s anything that scares us off from moving to the Windy City, it’s those long, cold winters. But maybe we could handle it with an apartment at the AMLI River North — the modern, well-appointed units are a nice start (particularly an 1199-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bathroom for $3,764), but the luxury building’s amenities are out of this world. They’ve got a fitness center, naturally, but theirs has a private yoga and pilates studio. An outdoor pool with TV screens and cabanas. A golf simulator. An indoor AND outdoor private theater. A 22,000-square-foot rooftop deck with a fireplace, firepits, and lounge areas. We’ll see you in Chicago?
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Photo: Courtesy of 1188 Mission St.
S.F. vs. L.A.
The Rent: $3,200-$3,225

What You Get in S.F.
It’s a rare listing indeed in S.F. when the higher rent level falls into the (relatively) affordable category. The furnished junior one-bedrooms (with a den!) in this brand-new SOMA building top out at $3,200, and include access to a fitness center, lounge, and children’s play area. Equally important, the building has a 24-hour “courtesy patrol;” the building is located on Mission Street between 8th and 9th, which has been known to be colorful, from time to time.
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Photo: Courtesy of Gas Company Lofts.
S.F. vs. L.A.
The Rent: $3,200-$3,225

What You Get in L.A.
Downtown L.A.’s moment is continuing with little sign of abatement, nicely evidenced by the too-cool residences at the Gas Company Lofts. Housed in a restored historic landmark building, $3,225 gets you a 1367-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bathroom, complete with hardwood floors, a new kitchen, and floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Downtown. The apartments are pet friendly, too, and include a membership to nearby Gold’s Gym. Because, Downtown or not, it’s still L.A.
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Photo: Courtesy of Etta Apartments.
S.F. vs. Portland
The Rent: $3,615-$3,616

What You Get in S.F.
Calling an apartment on Sutter and Van Ness “Lower Nob Hill” feels like a bit of a stretch, but we do like the environmentally conscious mission of LEED gold-certified Etta Apartments. $3,615 gets you a 698- square-foot one-bedroom, constructed from locally-sourced, recycled materials. Apartments feature floor-to-ceiling windows, “European-style” kitchens, plus easy access to the Heart of the City Farmers' Market (one of the city’s best). See, calling the neighborhood Civic Center does have its perks!
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Photo: Courtesy of The Wyatt Apartments.
S.F. vs. Portland
The Rent: $3,615-$3,616

What You Get in Portland
With a plum location in Portland’s Pearl District, we’re already falling in love with the airy floor plans and chic, industrial details of these two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments. $3,616 is no small change, but with 1459-square-feet, a fresh new kitchen, and fitness center access, we can see staying in this beauty for a while.
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