Ah yes, the Bay Area. Wine, fog, counterculture, the Haight, the Golden Gate Bridge, Silicon Valley, and real estate that approaches the most expensive in the entire world. Mark Twain allegedly once said, "The coldest winter I've ever experienced was a summer in San Francisco." Finding affordable housing in San Francisco can leave you out in the cold without doing research.
Similar to the rest of California, San Francisco offers unique amenities--unparalleled access to everything from vineyards to farm fresh food and urban shopping districts to breathtaking vistas. The Bay Area is truly unique and residents pay for it. The city has real estate jammed into just about every nook and cranny, so expect small parcels of land. On the other hand, the architecture is one of a kind, and luckily one or two of the neighborhoods on this list have larger lots than most found in other areas of the city. One other advantage to the five affordable neighborhoods below is in real estate value. While prices are inevitably fickle, these neighborhoods are in parts of the city that are targets for redevelopment. This allows for a larger potential for growth in value relative to other communities. Here are five neighborhoods that offer the most affordable housing in San Francisco.
- 1. Bayview
Median Home Price: $486,052
Bayview's median home price of $486,052 comes in at 35% less than the $750,900 median found across San Francisco. This makes much of the real estate in the diverse community eye-poppingly affordable in a city that routinely lists seven figure glorified broom closets. The MUNI light rail provides residents makes the rest of the city easily accessible. Its industrial past gives Bayview a character different from the rest of San Francisco. While green culture is common throughout the bay area, in Bayview, it is contrasted with the grey hues of a factorial past. Artists have recently begun to help restore the community via art installations, which can be seen all over the neighborhood. It is also one of the city's most diverse neighborhoods and also sports actual beaches, a relative rarity in this area of the Bay. The diversity gives rise to plenty of ethnic restaurants and traditional Soul Food stands. Though the NFL's 49ers have vacated the city for Santa Clara, Candlestick Point still provides residents with outdoor activities to enjoy.
- 2. Visitacion Valley
Median Home Price: $532,076
Three quarters of a million dollars as a median home price for a city is insane. Visitacion Valley's median price of $532,076 represents the mid to high end for many cities, but ends up a shade under 30% of the midpoint in San Francisco. You can immediately sound like a local upon purchase by explaining you live in "Viz Valley." It is a little more family oriented than many Bay Area neighborhoods. Its comparatively remote location from many of the busier areas of the city give it a somewhat more peaceful character. The old Schlage Lock factory area is being redeveloped, and despite delays will provide retail, residences, and open green spaces. This sustainable development will provide amny new amenities to the neighborhood. Nearby Mclaren Park is adjacent to Viz Valley. Its rolling hills allow for beautiful views of both downtown and your new neighborhood. It includes a golf course and numerous hiking trails and access to Yosemite Marsh, home to a host of unique species.
- 3. Crocker Amazon
Median Home Price: $558,112
At $558,112, 26% less than the city-wide median home price, Crocker Amazon is still a relative bargain. This neighborhood also features easy access to McLaren Park and its amenities. It is also a primarily residential neighborhood and relatively affluent, featuring varied architecture. Some of the homes also sit on lots larger than most in the city, though still paltry by suburban and exurban standards.Public transportation is abundant throughout the community, making it easy to get to the more urban areas of the city.Crocker Amazon's interior is almost exclusively residential. Mission Street, an area filled with ethnic restaurants and unique shops forms one of its borders.
- 4. Excelsior
Median Home Price: $598,716
More than just the motto of New York or an obsession of a Bradley Cooper character, Excelsior is also an area to find affordable housing in San Francisco. The median home price here is $598,716, about twenty percent less that the overall median. Excelsior is one of the larger areas in the City by the Bay. Interestingly, the other neighborhoods on this list, excepting Bay View are sometimes included in the larger Excelsior District. Indeed, all five of the listed areas are on the southern border of the city. The annual Jerry Day, a celebration of the life and work of the late Grateful Dead singer Jerry Garcia, is held in Excelsior. The celebration ends with a concert in memory of the legend at the amphitheater named after him located at McLaren Park. Excelsior as a district and in the smaller eponymous neighborhood is quite diverse. It has a little bit of everything for foodies and those who like to party. It includes Mission Street, a destination for residents of the other places on this list. Needless to say, this is where a lot of the commercial areas in the overall district lie, so if you are looking to be closer to the action than you would be in Crocker Amazon or the Viz, this would be the place to look.
- 5. Ocean View
Median Home Price: $631,191
At $631,191, Oceanview's median home price is 16% of the city-wide median. Though it is remote relative to the rest of the city, on this list, like Excelsior, it is less remote than Bay View or the more southern located communities. In recent years, those looking for affordable housing in San Francisco have been buying property here. Oceanview is arguably the most diverse of the five listed communities. It is almost the best of both worlds here in the sense that it is convenient to all the amenities of the previous neighborhoods, but also the proximity of freeways and abundant MUNI lines keep it connected to the livelier areas of the city while maintaining a quiet remove.
See even more information about the best San Francisco, CA neighborhoods as well as a neighborhood map.