Study: San Jose isn’t always the most expensive place to rent
An aerial view of downtown San Jose. File photo.

    Everyone knows it’s expensive to live in San Jose. But a recent study by Apartment Guide found that size matters, and in some cases, renting a bigger apartment makes San Jose a bit more affordable than its neighbors.

    The study, which analyzed Apartment Guide listings across the country to rank the 50 most expensive cities for rent specific to a studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartment, found that San Jose sometimes fared better than you’d expect. For example, the Capital of Silicon Valley ranked No. 16 on the list of most expensive studios — those priced above the national average of $1,277. The average studio in San Jose costs $2,484, the study found.

    Redwood City and San Francisco are home to the priciest studios, coming in at $3,361 and $3,356, respectively. California claims nearly half the list with 24 cities, while the remaining are cities in the East Coast.

    But when it comes to a one-bedroom apartment, San Jose fared a lot better — landing at the No. 40 spot. The average rent was $2,711 for a one-bedroom in San Jose, 105% higher than the national average of $1,321. Surprisingly, the city didn’t make the naughty most-expensive list for two bedroom apartments.

    For three bedrooms, San Jose ranked No. 29 with its average rent of $3,941 — three times the national average of $1,728. Mountain View ranked as the most expensive Silicon Valley city on this list, sitting at No. 11 with $5,225 in rent per month — 202% above the national average.

    Apartment Guide aggregated the data from the apartment listings on its website and separated its findings based on the location and size of apartments. Generally, the website found that California cities were the most prevalent and highest ranking among every list.

    Of the fifty cities listed, many of the highest average apartment prices are in Silicon Valley, exemplifying the housing crisis that currently affects the Bay Area, though New York made several appearances as the most expensive city to rent various-sized apartments.

    The Bay Area’s exorbitant rents topping nearly every list is indicative of the broader housing crisis it currently faces. Despite increased advocacy around the issue, surging housing costs show no sign of decreasing. Tommi Avicolli- Mecca at the Housing Rights Committee believes that the crisis has progressed to a point that most Bay Area residents accept it as a part of life.

    “The prices are not really surprising — it’s only outrageous that it’s a situation here,” Avicolli- Mecca said. “It’s telling that it wouldn’t surprise anybody. We’re all aware of how out of control it really is.”

    Charley Goss, government affairs manager at the San Francisco Apartment Association, argues that the only way to fix the crisis is to preserve the affordability of available apartments. Considering the lack of space in San Francisco, Goss said, the logical solution is working toward an increased availability of existing units for tenants.

    “There needs to be a concerted effort for housing affordability at all income levels,” Goss said. “Furthermore, we need to produce more housing units for everybody, and work to preserve low-income and affordable housing.”

    Contact San José Spotlight intern Yale Wyatt at [email protected] or follow @yalewhat on Twitter.

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