See Ya, San Francisco: This is The Cheapest City in the Bay Area

See Ya, San Francisco: This is The Cheapest City in the Bay Area

By Mackenzie Hutson
October 24, 2019

With numerous job opportunities scattered throughout the Bay Area, so much to do in San Francisco, and various getaways just a few hours away, it’s no wonder San Francisco tops the charts for median one-bedroom apartment rental prices. But other cities in the region are experiencing similar Bay Area real estate trends—including Oakland and San Jose—making living near the City by the Bay seem out of reach for many. 

The Bay Area isn’t the only spot in California seeing skyrocketing housing prices. According to real estate company Zumper’s October 2019 National Rent Report, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Anaheim all fall within the top 10 most expensive cities to live in the U.S. But alas, there is hope: We found the best affordable places to live in California that also fall near the major city of San Francisco. 

Get ready to pack up your San Francisco apartment and move into one of the more affordable apartments in the Bay Area. 

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While the Bay Area may never be one of the cheapest places to live in California and you may never find truly cheap apartments for rent in San Francisco, there are a few Bay Area cities where housing costs are considerably lower. The prices of most one-bedroom apartments in the region fall well above the state median price of $1,823, but luckily, three standout cities have managed to keep rental prices below this average—making them the perfect places to start your search for affordable places to live in California’s Bay Area. 

The cities with the cheapest rent in the Bay Area

3. Concord

Average monthly rent: $1,740

There is plenty to do in Concord that make up for the longer commute to the city. Explore the rolling hills and hiking trails nearby to make the most of the East Bay.

Concord has maintained its position as the third least expensive city for renting

in the Bay Area over the past several months, though its housing prices fluctuate from month to month. Because of its pleasant location in the East Bay and easy access to the BART system, Concord serves as a great home base for commuters. Compared to Oakland’s $2,420 average monthly rental prices and Berkeley’s $2,300, Concord is an ideal choice, even with its relatively low walkability score of 45. 

2. Antioch
Average monthly rent: $1,650

The suburban East Bay makes a great alternative to the fast-paced city life of San Francisco. 

Although Antioch has seen a 14.6-percent appreciation since last year, it is still the second least expensive city for housing in the Bay Area. Antioch is also located on the BART line, so it is a decent choice for commuters needing public transportation; however, its inland location makes it better suited for traveling by car

1. Vallejo
Average monthly rent: $1,390

Tucked just over the Benecia Bridge, Vallejo provides an excellent opportunity to save some cash and still live in the Bay Area. 

The cheapest city in the Bay Area, Vallejo has consistently ranked as the least expensive place to live in the region over the past several months. Along with being relatively inexpensive compared to nearby cities, Vallejo’s housing prices have remained below the state median—proving that there really are some affordable apartments in the Bay Area. 

Looking for other affordable places in the Bay Area? Richmond, Napa, and Livermore have all historically fallen on the lower end of the housing-price spectrum. And when it comes to unique living, it doesn’t get much better than Sausalito’s floating homes, which tend to come at a reduced price compared to the city’s other housing options. Where have you found the best cheap apartments near the Bay Area? 

1 comment


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  • Arden Collier | Aug, 30

    I'd like to offer some amendments and corrections to the captions and commentary. Vallejo: 1) is just over the Carquinez Bridge, not the Benicia Bridge. 2) has ferry service that takes commuters directly to San Francisco. 3) is at the crossroads of highways that give you easy access to the Napa Valley and Lake Tahoe. Reply

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