San Francisco vs. Houston

What’s the next great U.S. city after New York? San Francisco, Chicago, Houston? That’s right, we said Houston. Well, technically, we didn’t say it, Joel Kotin, a presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University did in a recent blog post.

Kotin argues that the Texas metropolitan (and fourth most populous city in the US) is the major contender against San Francisco for the number two city.

Here’s why he thinks so.

Since 2000, Houston’s employment numbers have gone up 32 percent vs. San Francisco’s barely 4 percent.

Houston is home to more than 5,000 energy-related companies. While it’s true that San Francisco has loads of technology companies, the biggest players – Apple and Google – aren’t technically located in SF.

Houston’s growth is … well, let’s just call it what it is, sprawling – but it has meant the addition of 5,000 housing tracts per square-mile since 2000. That is 10 times the amount of new housing growth in San Francisco.

So what do each of this great cities look like for potential renters?

Houston for Renters

2115 Runnels Street | Houston

Houston’s overabundance of housing is particularly good news for potential renters.

According to HotPads data, renters in Houston can currently choose from nearly 6,000 different listings, including 2,793 condominium properties and 2,249 homes. The median price for Houston rentals across all listings types is $1,350. The median price for 1-bedroom comes in at $1,142 and $1,348 for a 2-bedroom.

Houston Fast Facts
Median age: 32.2
Public transit ridership: 7 percent
Number of coffee shops per 100,000 people: 36.2
Average salary: $65,000

San Francisco for Renters

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 4.07.31 PM3035 Baker Street| San Francisco 

Rental hunters in San Francisco have far fewer choices when it comes to nailing their perfect pad, with just 714 listings across all property types, including 529 condominiums and a mere 84 homes, according to HotPads data.

But here is where the biggest differences show (particularly if you’ve noticed the average salary for each city). The median price for San Francisco rentals across all listings is $4,038. The median prices for a 1-bedroom is $3,515, while a 2-bedroom will run you $4,800.

In another strike against SF renters, it’s likely that your dream apartment will get snapped up faster than it will in Houston. On the bright side, you might have a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

SF Fast Facts
Median age: 38.4
Public transit ridership: 44 percent
Number of coffee shops per 100,000 people: 161.3
Average salary: $79,000

Photo credit: Patrick Feller