San Francisco: Highest Median Rent in the World?

San Francisco has the highest median rent in the world, according to new data from finance site WalletWyse.

Specifically, a San Francisco apartment rents for an estimated $3,500 per month. As Curbed San Francisco points out, that’s “median market rent,” excluding rent control, long-term leases, and “other arrangements inaccessible for new renters.” WalletWyse also draws cost-of-living information from Numbeo, which is vague about how it sources its data.

“Although we like to think of statistics as hard numbers that offer reliable data without compromise,” Curbed added, “the truth is that different parties may measure the same thing using different methods—while come to markedly different conclusions—but still both be technically correct.”

Of course, WalletWyse isn’t the first source to frame San Francisco rents as exorbitant: way back in 2015, for example, Zumper’s National Rent Report put the average one-bedroom rent in the city at $3,400 per month. Things obviously haven’t changed much in the intervening three years—if anything, the Bay Area has become an even hotter tech hub, with tech giants such as Google and Apple continuing to expand.

For some employees working at those tech giants (or even well-monetized startups), it’s very possible to pay $3,400 per month in rent and have enough left over for life’s necessities, especially if you’re a sought-after tech pro with highly specialized knowledge in a “hot” field such as artificial intelligence. That aside, even tech pros making $100,000 per year might have issues with San Francisco’s cost of living.

Across the country, a number of emerging tech hubs combine relatively high salaries with relatively low cost of living. For example, tech pros in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Charlotte, Portland, and Houston all saw significant increases in average salary last year, according to Dice’s 2018 Salary Survey. And although the average price of a house or apartment has risen in many U.S. cities over the past few years, San Francisco still remains prohibitive to many when it comes to housing. (It doesn’t help that, according to Dice’s data, tech salaries in San Francisco were largely stagnant last year.)

In other words, if you’re a newly minted tech pro looking for a city in which to settle, you have your pick; and if you’re dead-set on the Bay Area, prepare to spend a lot on rent.

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