Overlook San Francisco from Alamo square
Yang Li Overlook San Francisco from Alamo square

In a word: Inflation. Yes. Inflation, or somthing like it, has driven apartment rents in San Fracisco to their current highs. The Huffington Post's Kate Abbey-Lambertz reports:

This is an apartment listing San Francisco residents can only dream about: $150 for a brand new, three-room apartment with a “tremendous fireplace.” Yes, it’s real — or it was in 1961. Today, a one-bedroom at the same address rents for $2,800 a month.

In recent years, there’s been growing concern about San Francisco’s skyrocketing housing prices, fueled by the tech industry’s boom and too-small supply for the growing population.
Eric Fischer, a developer and data artist at Mapbox, analyzed thousands of apartment listings going back to 1948. Though there have been some deviations, he notes, rents have gone up about 6.6 percent annually since the 1950s, or 2.5 percent when inflation is taken into account.

“Today’s outrageous prices are exactly in line with the 6.6 percent trend that began 60 years ago,” Fischer wrote on his blog, Experimental Geography.

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