Rent in this California city exceeded San Francisco’s for the first time. Here’s how much it costs per month

San Diego skyline in 2009.
A vessel sails past the San Diego skyline in 2009. San Diego’s average rents surpassed San Francisco’s for the first time in June, according to Zillow.
(Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press)

For the first time, San Diego has surpassed San Francisco for average rental rates, making the All-American City the nation’s third most expensive rental market, according to a Zillow report.

San Diego’s typical monthly rental rate in June was $3,175, exceeding San Francisco’s rent of $3,168. The rates represent a significant jump since February when San Francisco’s rents were 29% higher than San Diego’s, according to the online real estate site Zillow.

Still, San Diego and San Francisco rents were not the highest.


San Jose had the nation’s highest monthly rent with $3,411, followed by New York City’s at $3,405. Zillow’s monthly rental report for June includes single-family homes, apartments, condominiums and townhouses.

Three other California cities were among the country’s 10 most expensive rental markets: Los Angeles had a typical rent of $2,983, while Riverside had a monthly rent of $2,573 and Sacramento’s was $2,319.

Rents across the country increased 0.6% from May to June, according to the Zillow Observed Rent Index, bringing the nationwide average rent to $2,054 — 4.1% higher than a year ago.

Northern California was deemed especially unaffordable for renters, with some Southern California counties also topping the list of least affordable places in America.

June 30, 2023

Rent in California is becoming increasingly difficult to afford, and low-rent units are harder to find. Sophia Wedeen, a research analyst at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, wrote in a blog post that the supply of rental units in California that are priced below $1,400 per month has gone down between 2011 and 2021.

During that decade, California lost 152,000 units that rented for less than $600. It also lost 633,000 units renting for between $600 and $1,000 and 677,000 units renting for between $1,000 and $1,399 per month.


The percentage of Californians paying more than 30% of their income for housing — known as rent burden — has increased in recent years.

According to Harvard University’s 2023 State of the Nation’s Housing report, 54% of renter households were rent-burdened in 2019. In 2021, 57% of renter households in Los Angeles were rent-burdened.

In San Francisco, 43% of rental households were rent-burdened in 2019. That rate increased to 49% in 2021.