A Map of the Cheapest Places to Rent in the Bay Area

Update, April 21, 2013: The real-estate data firm Kwelia updated its map of Bay Area rental prices to make it a little more nuanced. The firm revised the map to show median (instead of average) per-square-foot prices for apartment rents and zeroed in on neighborhoods a little more closely by showing rental rates for each census tract in the region (instead of ZIP codes). We’ve changed our map display with a link to Kwelia’s revised interactive map; just click the image to get to that new map.

Original post: Looking for a cheap place to live in the Bay Area? Start driving east from downtown San Francisco – and keep going.

It probably isn’t a surprise that the cheapest residential rents in the region would be in the far East Bay. According to new research from the real estate startup Kwelia, Brentwood has the Bay Area’s most affordable residential rent – $0.96 per square foot. Compare that to the cost of renting a residence in San Francisco’s Financial District, which can be more than $4 per square foot.

Kwelia says their research was based on publicly-available data, and they put it into the nifty map you can see below. Click on the map for a larger image.

f085d kwelia apartment rents 300x231 A Map of the Cheapest Places to Rent in the Bay Area
The Bay Area rental market. Map shows median rental prices in Bay Area census tracts, with prices per square foot. (Courtesy of Kwelia)

The cost of Bay Area living continues to be a hot topic of discussion in the region. The average asking price for a one-bedroom in San Francisco is now $2,673 a month, up more than 10 percent from last year. Last week the city’s board of supervisors took steps to reduce rental costs by approving an ordinance reducing the minimum required living space in an apartment, which supporters say clears the way for cheaper (as well as smaller) living.

Still, rents in San Francisco most likely will never be as cheap as they are in the East Bay. Here’s a list of the cheapest places to live in the Bay Area, according to Kwelia, as well as the region’s most expensive communities. You can download the startup’s list of rental costs by zip code here.


  1. Brentwood, $0.96 per square foot.
  2. Vallejo (zip code 94591), $1 per square foot
  3. Antioch, $1.04 per square foot
  4. Oakley, $1.09 per square foot
  5. Vallejo, (zip code 94590), $1.10 per square foot


  1. Financial District, San Francisco (zip code 94104), $4.74 per square foot
  2. Palo Alto, near Stanford (zip code 94305), $4.36 per square foot
  3. Rincon Hill, San Francisco (zip code 94105), $4.21 per square foot
  4. Financial District, San Francisco (zip code 94111), $4.17 per square foot
  5. Treasure Island, $4 per square foot



  • Interesting that TI is the #5 most expensive place to live. It seemed like just 5-6 years ago it was one of the cheapest places to rent in SF since there was absolutely nothing there. And also how can TI be more expenses than places like Nob Hill or Telegraph Hill…or any place that ends in “Hill”

    • Yeah not buying this data. No way it’s cheaper in 94114 than TI…

    • It’s the fancy new apartment complexes… isht ain’t cheap!

  • I’m actually very shocked to see Treasure Island on the top five most expensive list. I lived there for 2 years from 2000-2002 and it was a great bargain then while SF was still in the midst of the Tech bubble rental housing crunch. There are no services out there and the buildings offer no amenities or high end finishes. You also live in a mixed income neighborhood with section 8 housing right next to regular units, and though it may be un-PC to say it, there were constant issues with the section 8 residents (it’s ultimately why we left). I wouldn’t have ever considered it prime rental property. The nicest thing about it was the views when you walked around the island and the relative quiet.

    • I took a class on the Island in 2005, and I agree that it was very quiet on Saturday mornings there. I liked sitting in my car watching the barges roll pass. It was very serene.

  • Pacifica has reasonable prices and is wonderful place to live, but because of a Bay Area mindset, it is rarely mentioned. When you don’t move with the herd, there can be advantages.

Article source: http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2012/11/27/a-map-of-the-cheapest-places-to-rent-in-the-bay-area/

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