Cost of living or property in San Francisco

Real Estate Agent

Many people who have moved to San Francisco have claimed that the only complaint they had was that it was very difficult to leave. You have probably seen how passionate New Yorkers are about their city, but so are San Franciscan people.

San Francisco is everything you can imagine and more. It has hills with amazing views, excellent food and it has been rated the happiest and healthiest state in the United States many times over.

If you have been considering moving to SF permanently, you may want to consider various costs involved first.

Facts to take note of before moving to SF

Population: in 2016 it was estimated that SF had a population of 864,816 people. The San Bay Area has a population of 7.65 million people.

English is the official language: over 110 other languages are also spoken in SF like Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.

GDP: the GDP per capita is $71,688 USD (results taken in 2016)

Fortune cookie: The fortune cookie was created by a Japanese American businessman in San Francisco.



Below is a list of what it may take to move from a few popular cities in the world to SF:

NYC - $552

LA - $155

UK - $1488

Ireland - $1642

Dubai - $2930

Singapore - $1993

     Housing costs

You may have heard already that renting or buying a home in SF is quite pricey and sometimes even more so than NYC. Here are a few estimates of rentals:

1 Bedroom in City Centre - $ 3300

1 Bedroom outside the city $2700

You may want to consider co-living apartments in San Francisco which allow you to stay in some of the most sought-after areas in the city, at a smaller price. This is because you would be sharing the apartment with other people. These apartments are fully furnished and offer the recipients a few great amenities.

Tips to save on accommodation

Share a house/ apartment – this is much like co-living and allows you the chance to save on day to day living expenses. You will also have to share areas like the living room, bathroom and toilet, but with some adjusting, this should not really be a problem.

Consider which area you want to live in – Different areas are available at different prices in the city. The most expensive areas are Dogpatch, South Beach, Panhandle and Pacific Heights. The slightly cheaper options include Excelsior, Outer Sunset, Central Sunset and Ocean View.


Food, grocery and restaurant prices

SF is known for its amazing food and it has a wide variety of vegan restaurants. There are also so many great meat serving restaurants which offer traditional cuisine from many countries around the world. A few estimated costs:

Average restaurant - $15 - $20

Takeaway coffee - $4

A bottle of coke - $3

Milk - $1,64

How do the restaurant and food prices compare with those popular cities around the world?

London – restaurants are almost 2% cheaper and groceries around 45% cheaper in SF

NYC – Restaurants are about 7% cheaper and groceries around 10% cheaper than SF

Paris – Restaurants are 12% cheaper and groceries around 31% cheaper than SF

Dubai – restaurants are about 21% cheaper and groceries around 23% cheaper than SF


Try to shop local – there are many independently owned stores in SF as well as farmers markets and stores that sell health foods and organic food. Try to find them and do your shopping there.

Find cheaper eateries – with a little research you will be able to find cheap places to eat which do not compromise on the quality or taste of their food. Look online and also ask locals for recommendations.

Transportation in SF

The prices of transportation vary depending on which service you use. Examples of ticket costs:

Adult ticket – around $2.75

One day ticket – around $7

Unlimited ticket to be used in the month - $75

You can save on transport costs by:

Purchasing a 7-day pass and receiving unlimited travel for around $42

Purchase a bike and ride to your destination

Walk to wherever you need to go, if it is close by


Moving to San Francisco is an exciting and new experience. With a little research and homework, you will be able to enjoy the city on a budget.


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Laura T. Perry
Keller Williams Elite - Lancaster, PA
CRP, GMS, Award Winning Relocation Specialist

Interesting that the cost of living is lower in SF than some of the other cities you show.

Aug 10, 2019 03:09 AM #1
Sharon & Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette, IN - Lafayette, IN
West Lafayette homes for sale

We certainly live in different worlds with the cost of living!  Very interesting to read!

Aug 17, 2019 02:33 PM #2
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