Choosing Where to Live in San Francisco



Famous for its golden beaches that stretch as far as the eyes can see and inviting coastal climate, it’s no wonder why San Francisco has attracted thousands of people to call it home. However, sifting through many equally beautiful areas to call home in this Californian gem is not as easy as everyone thinks. Find out some tips on how and where to find the best residential locations in the infamous City by the Bay. 

San Francisco has a total of 50 neighbourhoods where according to Business Insider May 2016 report, 23 are considered to be very expensive. But it is too early for expatriates who are about to relocate to put their hopes down because, with enough knowledge, one can still get a good home for a reasonable price. 

Factors to Consider 

When moving abroad and searching for a place, it is very important to ask several questions like: 

  • Am I going to move alone or with my family?
  • How large or small is the place that I need?
  • How close is the accommodation from my work or school of my kids?
  • How much am I willing to pay for rent?
  • How safe is the area? 

These questions, when answered, will separate the ‘wants’ from the ‘needs’. Foreign assignees who give in to their ‘wants’ when it comes to deciding where to live often find themselves facing financial problems because, in a city like San Francisco, accommodation doesn’t come cheap. And if the neighbourhoods don’t vary that much when it comes to the cost of living, there are still some that can provide an expats needs and make the rental worth the price. 


Mission Bay 

  • Mission Bay is one of the ‘newly born’ neighbourhoods in San Francisco where the accommodations are not yet too congested because most buildings are still under construction. Lofts and high-rise condominiums are the housing trend in Mission Bay. It is a perfect place for single expats and young couples who would love to live near some of the city’s coolest bars, restaurants and large shopping malls. Those who have jobs in Silicon Valley and Peninsula will also find this neighbourhood appealing because of its Caltrain station, the easiest and fastest way to get to work. 

The Marina 

  • This beachfront neighbourhood has always been a classic to locals and foreign nationals who are both single or with children. It has lines of restaurants, supermarkets, shopping malls and bars that are sure to keep its residents busy during the weekends. The Marina is also famous for dog lovers because of the Presidio, a popular recreational area for man’s best friend. 

South of Market 

  • Also known as SOMA, is San Francisco’s largest and one of the most culturally diverse neighbourhoods. It has an abundance of bars, restaurants, offices and has proximity to the famous Museum of Modern Art as well as to the city centre. Expats who will consider South of Market will find accommodations such as residential blocks and apartment buildings that are both fitting for those who are relocating alone or with their family. 

Sea Cliff 

  • Sea Cliff is a neighbourhood that offers a breathtaking view of the sea and is ideal for foreign assignees that are relocating with their families. Properties in this area are mostly single-detached homes that are complete with a garden, front lawn and swimming pool but are also quite expensive. However, Sea Cliff has remained a favoured residential area despite its high price because of its proximity to several prominent international schools. 

Bernal Heights 

  • The call for budget-friendly housing has been answered by this neighbourhood located on top of a lovely hill. Bernal Heights has plenty of accommodation that can cater to the needs of single expats and those who are with children. There are bachelor’s pads, single detached family homes and apartments with two to three bedroom units. It also has restaurants, cafés, malls and local markets that are sure to provide its residents’ needs.