It is no surprise for apartment hunters in the Mission, or in the rest of the city for that matter, that there are fewer rentals available. What is surprising is that rents are going up at a slower rate compared to the same time last year.

However, with several large residential housing projects under construction in the Mission, rent and availability trends could change again.  

Rent control doesn’t apply to most new buildings. Construction costs are also at an all-time high because of new code requirements as well as workforce expense and construction materials. This leads to me to believe that the new places offered will be small and expensive but available.

Keep in mind that apartment seekers looking at older housing may benefit from the new construction because the increase in available apartments could mean that rents at old apartments will become more stable. The dynamics of supply and demand assumes that people will be moving around. However, according to data I’ve gathered on Craigslist, it seems that residents of these older, smaller, and rent-controlled properties are actually staying put.

Two trends, involving new construction and existing properties, also play a factor in the speed at which rents are increasing and availability.

Property owners and construction companies are choosing room designs that are more Asian or European — which is, in my opinion, a polite way of saying smaller. In new and old buildings, that means more but smaller bedrooms per apartment.

A realtor recently told me about a one-bedroom flat in which the owner transformed the living room into a second bedroom. The property owner moved a non-structural wall creating a bedroom and enlarged the kitchen. All the amenities were dramatically upgraded and the resized kitchen still had a lot of room for eating and socializing. That changed an one-bedroom apartment rented at $1,800 per month to a two-bedroom apartment that renters snapped up for more than $2,600.

How will all the new construction and remodels play in the overall availability and rental rates? That remains to be seen.

What have you heard? As always, wild speculation, conspiracy theorem, and actual fact are equally welcome in the comments section. Just keep it clean, this is a family publication. And remember the graphs to the right present apartment rental data made public on Any commercial use of this information must be with the written approval of Craigslist and

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George Lipp

Photographer and writer living in the mission

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  1. I wonder about the over-125 empty buildings throughout just downtown area. My friend is a property manager and “maintains” I think 4 empty buildings on the edge of Dol Park.

    Despite them, the obvious construction of new apartments (such as the 4 in a one-block radius of my building) begs me the question: what is SF’s intention of making so much housing? Who are they targeting? Is it a demographic-target, or just building rooms for the fuck of it?

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