San Francisco Real Estate – Buying property in San Francisco or investing in real estate in the bay area means you need a guide. We explain what you need to know about San Francisco real estate. From the real estate market, property and income taxes, as well as a detailed look at the top neighborhoods in San Francisco. Silicon Valley, finance, and hippies; San Francisco has everything you need from a west coast city.
San Francisco: Real Estate Investment in Silicon Valley
San Francisco is one of USA’s legendary cities. It is immediately next to silicon valley, was the birthplace of hippies, and is one of the most important cultural hubs of the 20th century. This is reflected in the real estate market though. There are many reasons why San Francisco is considered to be one of the most difficult real estate markets to get into. Not to worry though, we give you the full rundown of where you should invest in this metropolis. First we take a short look at the economy and the general real estate market though.
Why is San Francisco Economically Successful – Major Industries, Prediction
San Francisco may have started its fame with the gold rush, but nowadays it is a tech mega-city. While a lot of the action takes place in Silicon Valley, there’s a massive number of tech startups starting out within the city limits as well. Another important sector is finance, with the largest porportion of employment in the city. Next are business services like consulting, retail, and of course tourism.
- New Technology
- Business Services
Where does San Francisco Rank in Cost of Living? Expensive Luxury with Culture
In the cost of living index published by Numbeo, San Francisco is ranked 4th (94,17), with New York being two spots ahead at an index score of 100,00. The average restaurant trip here will cost $19,00 and a loaf of bread $3,80. If you’re looking to move here, remember that basic utilities for a month cost $166 and the average internet plan $69. Not to worry though, as the average monthly salary is higher than elsewhere too, with $7.777 after tax landing in your pocket. If you want to see where San Francisco ranks, look at a few select cities below, with their index and rank in US cities:
- Hamilton, BE (147,00) – 1
- New York City, NY (100,00) – 2
- San Francisco, CA (94,17) – 4
- Los Angeles, CA (81,31) – 15
- Miami, FL (77,98) – 25
Rent Index – Does San Francisco have the Highest Rent?
It is also possible to look at the rent index. This gives information about the relative price of rent. Considering that San Francisco is considered by many to be the most expensive city to rent in, it’s no surprise, that they rank first in the most expensive city for renting. This also demonstrates the unique position which San Francisco has, where its cost of living generally is not higher than other cities, but its rental price is. Take a look at the ranking below:
- San Francisco, CA (116,48) – 1
- New York City, NY (100,00) – 2
- Hamilton, BE (94,98) – 3
- Los Angeles, CA (75,17) – 10
- Miami, FL (62,01) – 16
San Francisco Views – Drone Flight
San Francisco is obviously most well-known for the Golden Gate Bridge. It has so much more beauty though, and this is captured by drone in the video below.
Real Estate Investment: High San Francisco Real Estate Inventory
Real estate in San Francisco is legendary. Not always in a positive way, but legendary nonetheless. From impossibly luxurious apartments, to the infamous rowhouses on its hills, and impossibly high rent, this real estate market has it all.
Real Estate Prices San Francisco – Overview
If you’re looking at investing in real estate, you can expect to pay an average of $14.485 per square meter in the city centre. Outside the city centre it’s less, but still a strong $9.989. Comparing that to a rental price of $3.224 for a 1-bedroom apartment, or $7.100 for a 3-bedroom.
- $14.485 per Square Meter
- $3.224 for 1-Bedroom Apartment
San Francisco Real Estate Market Guide – Is it a Good Time to Buy in the Bay Area?
In January of this year, the amount of sales were 67% higher than in the year previous. A remarkable increase. This is likely not going to continue increasing as heavily, but it is indicative of the positive change in the Bay Area. What’s important is that the San Francisco real estate market is incredibly complex, with prices varying quickly, and by location. At the moment the market is marked by very high inventory, and low sales. That means it is a good time to buy in San Francisco at the moment, especially single-family residentials!
- Yes, right now is a good time to buy, with low prices thanks to many houses being on the market
Most Expensive, Cheapest Neighbourhoods in San Francisco – Real Estate Prices
The most expensive real estate in San Francisco can be found generally in the North of the city. These are places like Presidio heights, Cow Holow, and Russian Hill. Central San Francisco is home to a broad range, with e.g. Ashbury Heights being among the most expensive, while Monterey Heights ranks lower. The cheapest can be found in Southeast San Francisco (Visitacion Valley, Bayview, or Silver Terrace).
The Top 5 Most Expensive Neighborhoods in San Francisco – Real Estate
If you’re buying a house, the most expensive place to do it is in Presidio Heights, with a median sales price of $7.350.000. Next up is Pacific Heights with a median sales price of $5.600.00, and Sea Cliff at $4.672.500. The full ranking of the top 5, by median sales price is below:
- Presidio Height – $7.350.000
- Pacific Heights – $5.600.00
- Sea Cliff – $4.672.500
- Cow Hollow – $4.296.000
- Russian Hill – $3.850.000
Top 5 Cheapest Neighborhoods in San Francisco – Real Estate
If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, but still in vicinty to the city, you’re still going to be forking out the cash. The cheapest area in San Francisco is Hunter’s Point, where you will still be paying around $825.000 for a house. Next up are Visitacion Valley ($910.000), Bayview ($920.000), and Oceanview ($935.000). The full list, from cheapest to more expensive below:
- Hunter’s Point – $825.000
- Visitacion Valley – $910.000
- Bayview – $920.000
- Oceanview – $935.000
- Bayview Heights – $937.000
San Francisco Taxes – Property Taxes, Real Estate
San Francisco taxes are a complicated matter. It of course depends on if you’re in San Francisco County or San Mateo, and many more issues. Let us take a deep dive into San Francisco taxes, and what you can expect to pay.
San Francisco Tax Rates – How much Taxes do you Pay in San Francisco
In general the state of California has income tax rates between 1% and 12,5%. Also, for large businesses, the city of San Francisco has an additional tax for expenses of large businesses. This is a 1,5% gross receipts tax on payroll expenses. Additionally, in San Francisco there is a total sales tax of a massive 8,5%.
- Income Sales Tax: 1%-12,5%
- Sales Tax: 8,5%
San Francisco Property Tax Rates – California Rankings
California property taxes aren’t simple. In California, the average rate of property tax is 0,77%. Each county has their own regulations and expenses, therefore it is important to also look at the amount you will pay in San Francisco County. Here, the average property tax is 0,65%, compared to Los Angeles at 0,75% or the neighboring San Mateo County at 0,66%.
- Avg. US Property Tax – 1.1%
- Avg. California Property Tax – 0,77%
- San Mateo County – 0,66%
- San Francisco County – 0.65%
Interested in property taxes in California? Our full article on the matter should be interesting to you:
SoMa to Ashbury: Top San Francisco Neighborhoods
There are too many neighborhoods to remember. Here we present the most important, hottest, and up-and-coming neighborhoods to keep in mind. Our top San Francisco neighborhoods for real estate are:
- Union Square
- Sunset District
- Nob Hill
- Pacific Heights
SoMa – Downtown Hub
This downtown San Francisco neighborhood is massive. If you’re looking for real estate, it’s a great catch though, South of Market (or SoMa for short) is still affordable. This is also in part due to the upcoming Central SoMa project which will create thousands of housing units and jobs.
Union Square – Lively, Exclusive City-life
Union Square is the pulse of the city, surely being among the liveliest and most exclusive parts of the city. Don’t forget luxurious shopping opportunities and swaths of hotels, restaurants and art galleries. It may be home to many tourists, but also to some of the best streets in the city
Sunset District – Suburban Dream
Sunset district is a massive neighborhood, in terms of space as well as population. It is the suburbia which many young American families are looking for. There are many schools and universities, it is safe, and with an unemplyment rate under 3%, it is also a financially healthy area. Not to forget are also the many parks, which make taking a stroll here a pleasure.
Nob Hill – Elegance and Style
While Russian Hill is still bustling with tourists due to nearby Ghirardelli Square, Aquatic Park and Lombard Street, Nob Hill is the elegant, exclusive side of San Francisco. This is the SoHo of San Francisco. Four of the best hotels reside here (Big 4), Grace Cathedral (a replica of Notre Dame, Paris) and beautiful parks, such as Huntington Park with the wonderful fountain of the tortoises.
Haight/Ashbury – Still in?
Haight Ashbury is still one of the hottest parts of the city. The former birthplace of the flower power movement, where legends such as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix lived, is still the center of the alternative and creative scene in the USA. Here you can find many cafes and restaurants frequented equally by students, neo hippies, families and tourists. Although many expensive boutiques and high-end vintage stores have settled here, the flair as a former hippie stronghold is still palpable.
Pacific Heights – Best Quality of Life in San Francisco
When it comes to the quality of life, you can’t do better than Pacific Heights. This neighborhood is always described as the most expensive and exclusive part of the city, and for good reason. All around, there are unbelievable views of the coast. It is even home to what is called Gold Coast, one of the most expensive areas in the US inhabited by San Franciscos billionaires. For a more affordable area than gold coast, consider Western Addition which shares the luxurious atmosphere, without the sky-high prices.