San Francisco’s technology boom may be helping to reverse a decade-long exodus of residents from the West Coast city, but the stampede of well-paid engineers is causing rental prices to soar to record highs. With companies like Twitter, Yelp and Zynga, creator of the social media game FarmVille, setting up shop in San Francisco, the cost of renting an apartment jumped more than in any other U.S. city in the first three months of 2012. The average monthly cost is now $1,888, and new residents say the market is more cutthroat than New York’s: “You’ll go to an open house and there will be 80 groups of people there” looking to rent, says Jaya Pareek, a consultant who moved to the city two years ago.
The new boom follows years of decline, where residents fled to more affordable cities. No more. Twitter alone is expected to bring more than 2,500 new jobs to the city. “Apartments get snatched up fast,” says Pareek. “You have to look for a long time to find something you can afford.”