Bay Area rents rocket to record levels

Not a month seems to go by without some list or study telling us just how expensive it is to live in the Bay Area. This time, a new report tells us what our bank accounts already knew: Bay Area rents are higher than ever.

Double-digit percentage increases in rents at large apartment complexes in San Jose (10.1 percent), San Francisco (12.9 percent) and Oakland (14.4 percent) helped pushed Bay Area housing prices into never-before seen territory, according to a report from rental information service RealFacts.

Monthly rents for apartment complexes with 50 or more units hit $1,811 in San Jose, $1,835 in Oakland and an eye-watering $2,734 in San Francisco.

Sky-high rents are blamed on a variety of factors, including tech companies’ outrageous salaries and the flood of homeowners being thrown back into the rental market after the housing crash.

In the overall rental market, average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $1,905 a month, according to a recent report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Rents and other costs of living help make San Francisco the most expensive metropolitan area in the United States. If you look at the numbers by county, Northern California is home to five of the 10 most expensive counties in the United States: San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin, Orange County and Santa Clara.

The Bay Area outspends Orange County, Washington D.C. and even Honolulu. We completely blew New York City and Los Angeles out of the water. They didn’t even crack the top 10.

The NLIHC study also tells us an average minimum wage worker in California has to work more than 100 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom unit, and that the average San Franciscan household earns over $93,000 a year. In no state can a minimum wage worker working a standard 40 hour work week afford a two-bedroom rental.

For optimum financial health, the NLIHC says a household should pay no more than 30 percent of its income toward housing.