When I was first moving to San Francisco to start school I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had just graduated from a small school in Iowa and had never lived in a “big city” before. Needless to say, I had no idea how much to expect to pay for living expenses like rent, groceries, or transportation. I wish that someone had told me what to expect, but I had no one to ask so I just dove in head first. Luckily, I found roommates familiar with the area to help me find my bearings. Even luckier for you, I lived through it and came out the other side (relatively) unscathed ready to pass my knowledge on. With that in mind here are the neighborhoods in the Bay Area with the lowest rent for a single bedroom and my opinions on if you should live there.
Truth be told, this is probably my least favorite of the affordable neighborhoods. They say that you get what you pay for and I agree with that on this one. This area has a high crime rate with a fair amount of them being violent. Not to mention a lack of public transportation to get you anywhere. Overall, I do not recommend picking this neighborhood. Save yourself the anxiety and pay a little more in rent for your peace of mind.
Now, in contrast to what we just saw, this might actually be my favorite neighborhood. I lived around here for a year and it wasn’t bad. It is close to SF State (where I went to school) and you feel pretty safe walking around. It does take what feels like a long time to get downtown if you use public transportation but I think you could say that about pretty much any area of San Francisco (gotta love that California traffic!). If you are a baller on a budget I would recommend checking this area out.
Wait where? Honestly, I had to Google this one because I did not know much about Contra Costa. Basically, it is East of SF, and in the mountains. It looks like the rent might be this low because it’s just not that high in demand. On this one my first thought was: maybe you’re closer to wine country but is the commute worth it? Totally a judgement call on this one. Personally, I hate a long commute, but that’s just me.
Personally, I am a fan of San Jose. Whenever I go there it reminds me of the suburbs where I grew up. However, this may be a large downside for anyone looking for a “San Francisco” experience (I am aware that I am outside of the norm on this one). But, it does seem like a nice place to raise a family and not a bad place to live if you need to commute into the city because the CalTrain is very accessible. Overall, I would put San Jose in my top 2 of this list.
Honestly not much more to say about this area than I have already said about San Jose. Maybe you would prefer it if you work in that area and don’t want to travel as far to get to the office every morning?
I hope this list helped you to start figuring out where you might want to live! Good luck and happy house hunting.
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