Average Cost of Living in San Francisco in 2023

San Francisco has a cost of living that is 94% higher than the national average. Housing costs in San Francisco, CA are 238% more expensive than the U.S average, and basic necessities like groceries and clothing cost around 24% more. For even more details, start reading.

Melissa Veseli

Data Scientist

Blerina Miftari

Sr. Content Editor

Last Updated: 24.02.2022

Key Takeaways: February 2023 Data

Average Cost of Living Statistics 2023

Section 01

Average Cost of Renting

Section 02

Average Cost of Buying a House

Section 03

Average Cost of Transportation

Section 04

Average Cost of Groceries

Section 05

Average Cost of Utilities

Section 06

Average Cost of Healthcare and Taxes
Section 01

Average Cost of Renting

The largest monthly expense to budget for is typically housing, but this figure varies based on whether you live in a city or a suburb. Your eventual neighborhood choice will dictate whether this cost increases or decreases. Rent in this area is 248% higher than the national average - continue reading for further information.

On average, a studio rental in San Francisco costs $2,300.

A 4-bedroom rental costs $5,763.

The current median price of all available listings is $3,400.

This is roughly $53 per square feet.

Median rents for apartment units and housing in February 2023 have decreased over the past year.

There has been a year-over-year decrease of $928 (-28.79%) in studio rental prices.

This is a decrease from $3,223 to $2,295.

There has been a year-over-year decrease of $268 (-8.45%) in the prices of 1-bedroom rentals.

This is a decrease from $3,167 to $2,899.

The prices of 2-bedroom rentals have decreased by $189 (-4.50%) year-over-year.

This is a decrease from $4,189 to $4,000.

There has been a year-over-year increase of $643 (14.74%) in the prices of 3-bedroom rentals, rising from $4,358 to $5,000.

The prices of 4-bedroom rentals have increased by $136 (2.36%) year-over-year, going up from $5,749 to $5,885.

This month, studio rents have decreased by 16.74%, while 1-bedroom rents have decreased by 4.00%.

This month, 2-bedroom rents have decreased by 2.79%, whereas 3-bedroom rents have increased by 5.05%.

This month, 4-bedroom rents have decreased by 5.71%.

Section 02

Average Cost of Buying a House

The limited housing supply is one factor that has propelled San Francisco to the top of the list of the most expensive cities in the US to purchase a home. Within this section, we will detail the numerous costs associated with buying a house in this pricey market.

The median value of a home in San Francisco is $1,287,792.

The value of homes has decreased by 9.2% over the past year, and it takes around 44 days for a home to enter the pending stage.

The number of homes available for purchase in San Francisco is 1,459.

The number of newly listed homes in the last week is 164, out of the total of available homes.

Moreover, there are 2,275 rental properties available, with monthly prices ranging from $725 to $5.2M.

The median listing price for a home in San Francisco, CA was $1.3M in January 2023, indicating a year-over-year increase of 4%.

The price per square foot of homes listed in the median was $1K.

The price at which homes were sold in the median was $1.2M.

As of January 2023, the real estate market in San Francisco, CA is balanced.

This indicates that the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to purchase homes are approximately equal in number.

The average time that homes spend on the market before being sold in San Francisco, CA is 83 days.

The median days on market trend in San Francisco, CA has increased since last month, and has slightly risen compared to last year.

The mortgage rate is 3.25%.

The cost of purchasing an apartment in the city center per square meter is $11,512.79.

The cost of purchasing an apartment outside the city center per square meter is $10,313.77.

The cost of purchasing a house is five times higher than the national average.

Additionally, the cost is twice as high as it would be to buy a home in Boston, New York, or Washington, D.C.

The East Bay region is the most affordable area, with homes available for less than $800,000 in Oakland, San Leandro, and Hayward.

Section 03

Average Cost of Transportation

In this section, you can find details regarding the average cost of transportation in San Francisco.

The expenses related to transportation in San Francisco are 41.6% more than the national average.

This is actually 3.4 percent less than last year.

Oakland, located next to San Francisco, is the second most costly city in California for transportation, with an average cost that is 39.2% higher than San Francisco.

One of the benefits of living in San Francisco is the availability of several public transportation options.

Residents have access to several transportation modes such as the iconic cable cars, bus and rail systems, as well as various ride-share services.

If you're looking for a stylish way to explore the city, riding an iconic cable car is a great option.

San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI) provides this service, and passengers can pay $8 for each ride.

Opting for MUNI buses can help reduce transportation expenses, as the fare for a single ride is only $2.50.

For regular commuters, a monthly pass that covers both bus and cable car rides is available for $81.

For transportation within and outside the city, you can use BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) trains.

An assortment of East Bay cities, along with the airport, are among the stops.

There are six available lines, each with color-coded routes that are easy to follow.

A single ride is priced at $2.50, and there are unlimited monthly passes available for $81. For an additional $17, unlimited BART service within San Francisco can also be added to the pass. These prices are comparable to those of other major cities, and are cheaper than in New York City.

The typical yearly expense for automobile insurance among San Francisco car owners is between $1,341 and $1,588, which is approximately equivalent to the nationwide average of $1,427 per year.

The price for garage parking can vary depending on the neighborhood, with an additional monthly cost of $150 to $600.

Over the past year, the cost of gas in San Francisco has fluctuated between $2.80 and $4.30 per gallon, which is roughly a dollar higher than the national average.

Section 04

Average Cost of Groceries

When factoring in housing costs, San Franciscans tend to surpass the national average in terms of their expenses on food.

Eating out at restaurants can be costly, as even a cheap meal can be priced around $18.

Alternatively, a complete meal with full service for a single person may come at a cost of about $40.

Restaurants have an additional fee on their bills referred to as the "health surcharge," typically included to assist with the healthcare expenses of restaurant staff.

For restaurants in San Francisco that apply a health surcharge, the average amount charged is 4.45% of the total bill.

The average monthly spending on groceries in San Francisco is $359.

Compared to the national average, this amount is 22% higher.

In contrast, when compared to New York City, the prices of groceries and dining out in San Francisco are relatively more affordable.

Grocery prices in San Francisco are 31% higher compared to the national average.

The typical resident of San Francisco spends around $3,999 annually on groceries.

This translates to a monthly expenditure of $333.25.

For a family of four, the yearly grocery expenditures in San Francisco amount to approximately $11,764.

This equates to a monthly spending of $980.33.

According to Numbeo data, a meal at a restaurant in San Francisco usually costs about $22.

A mid-range restaurant in San Francisco might ask for roughly $100 for a three-course meal intended for two individuals.

This amount usually includes a standard tip of 15%.

Within San Francisco's business district, a fundamental lunchtime menu that comprises a drink typically costs around $20.

Section 05

Average Cost of Utilities

Both owning and renting a property involve utility expenses, which encompass essential services such as energy and telecommunications.

The typical monthly energy bill in San Francisco is roughly $268.42.

For tenants, the cost of basic utilities can be relatively low, with around $150 per month being sufficient to cover these expenses.

The average monthly utility bill for a household in San Francisco is $251.24. 

This rate is slightly lower than the national average of $240 for basic utilities such as gas, water, and electricity.

The lower rates in San Francisco can be attributed in part to the city's mild winters, with the average temperature in the high fifties.

Anticipate a monthly payment of about $114 for your cell phone service bill.

This is the average across the US.

Furthermore, the typical cost for internet service varies from $30 to $70 based on your requirements.

Furthermore, the typical cost for internet service varies from $30 to $70 based on your requirements.

Incorporating internet service adds an average of $70 more to your monthly expenses.

Section 06

Average Cost of Healthcare and Taxes

The benchmark for this category is determined by the cost of services such as family doctor visits and specialized care like optometry. Healthcare expenses in San Francisco are 29% higher than the national average.

A visit for an optometry check-up in San Francisco typically costs around $144.30.

On average, a dental appointment is priced at $138.42 in San Francisco.

Insurance policy premiums can not only be expensive, but they can also vary depending on various factors.

The amount you pay for insurance policy premiums can be influenced by a range of factors, including your age, lifestyle, pre-existing conditions, location, and other variables.

The average annual medical expenses for a San Francisco resident are $2,288.

A family of four in San Francisco spends an average of $7,559 annually on medical-related expenses.

The data indicates that healthcare is expensive in San Francisco, with costs being 33.9% higher than the national average.

One of the advantages of living in San Francisco is that renters have access to some of the best doctors and treatment facilities in the country.

Prices in San Francisco are, on average, 18.9 percent higher than those in Los Angeles.

In comparison, prices in San Francisco are 18.9% higher than in Los Angeles and 26.7% higher than in San Diego, both cities known for their high cost of living.

A regular doctor's visit in the Bay Area has an average cost of $177.33.

An optometry check-up in the Bay Area typically costs around $156.75.

Without medical insurance, the total cost of healthcare could vary significantly depending on the specific plan you have.

The state sales tax in California is the highest in the nation at 7.25 percent, and local governments can levy additional taxes on top of that.

San Francisco has a minimum combined sales tax rate of 8.625 percent.

This is due to California's highest state sales tax in the nation at 7.25 percent and an additional tax imposed by localities.

When shopping for $1,000 worth of clothing and home goods in Union Square, the sales tax would be $86.25, based on the minimum combined sales tax rate of 8.625 percent in San Francisco.

California has a progressive income tax system.

Its rates are separated nine different brackets ranging from 1% to 13.3%.

Individuals with lower income levels pay lower income taxes, while those with higher salaries can expect to fall into the upper end of the tax bracket.