Accommodation in San Francisco

Housing in San Fransisco - Haight Ashbury
As a city surrounded on three sides by water, San Francisco’s ability to provide accommodation for the many interested expats is greatly limited by the same geography that makes it such an appealing destination.

Finding a house or apartment in San Francisco is one of the biggest hurdles expats face when making their move to the city. Not only are the rents exceptionally high, the rental market is also rather tight.

That being said, there are many housing options in the Bay Area – the greater region surrounding the city, where expat accommodation can be found within a short distance of the thriving metropolis.

Cost of accommodation in San Francisco

The constricted and compact area in San Francisco has given rise to apartment buildings and divided houses rather than individual homes. A detached house is difficult to find and extremely expensive. Apartments are  very expensive as well. 

Most expats in San Francisco opt to rent rather than buy a property. Although, for those that plan on settling down in the city buying would be a good option and mortgage payments would be considerably less than the equivalent spent on monthly rent. 

Choosing where to live in San Francisco

Rents in San Francisco vary considerably between different neighbourhoods. Expats on a tight budget should avoid affluent parts of the city such as Russian Hill and instead look for more affordable housing in the inner Sunset district and Chinatown.

Obviously, the cheapest housing options are not always located in the most central or trendy parts of San Francisco.

Other factors when choosing where to start your search for a home in San Francisco will include access to public transport and road links, proximity to schools, facilities available in the area and safety.

Finding accommodation in San Francisco

After narrowing down the most suitable neigbourhoods, the best place to begin a search is online, for example by using Craigslist or Gumtree. Local newspapers can also be a good source for apartment listings.

Aside from these traditional methods for searching for accommodation, it is worthwhile driving or walking around your chosen neighbourhood looking for ‘For Rent’ signs.

Expats should act fast when they find a suitable apartment. Because the rental market in San Francisco is so competitive, apartments are often snapped up within a few hours of being advertised. It is best to always be prepared with proof of a positive credit history as well as cash or cheque for the rental deposit so the lease can be signed straight away.

In many cases, if a number of people are interested in an apartment the landlord or agent will give it to the person who can offer to pay the highest rent.

It is also worth bearing in mind that apartments that are brand new or historical buildings are likely to be more expensive.

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