Place your bets! I just moved out of a rent-controlled studio apartment on Valencia Street in San Francisco. For the first 7 years I lived there, the rent was $950, increasing to $1,020 for my final year there. What do you think the new rent will be? My best guess is that it will double...
I've heard the same story time and time again. Friends move out of an only-somewhat-decent studio above a rowdy bar in Hayes Valley, only to find the new rent is $2,000. Rents suddenly double, or in the case of long-held places, triple! I know landlords have to make money, and that real estate is a complicated business, but the rapid increases greatly sadden me. I don't know if I would ever want to, but it's hard to realize that I would never be able to move to San Francisco again.
When I moved in 8 years ago, $950/mo seemed astronomical and nearly impossible. And I was working full-time and splitting the rent! Even with my share being only $475/mo, there was at least a year when I was living on $5/day after rent and utilities. Food, toilet paper, and bus fare will eat up $5 in a heartbeat. But I stuck it out, gradually made more and more money (never to the point where I had money, despite working 50-70 hours/week), and slowly it did get easier. However, at no point did my income double, nor do I foresee it doubling anytime in the future. I worked for a beloved San Francisco company, but if I wanted to return to my job, there's no way I could return to my San Francisco, where the average rent for a studio apartment is now $2,075.
Have you ever seen the rent on a former home jump up so dramatically it made your jaw drop and your head spin? Tell all!
(Image: Flickr user greencandy8888 licensed for use under Creative Commons)