French Castles Are as Cheap to Rent as S.F. Apartments

Friday, September 18, 2015
Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers (not for rent)

Yes, it would be an expensive commute. But it is just as cheap to rent a castle in France as an apartment in San Francisco, according to the apartment rental website Zumper.

And we’re not talking about ratty-looking castles with creaky drawbridges and unkempt moats. Zumper located some nice digs. The rental site found six castles comparable in price to apartments in San Francisco and New York, the two most expensive markets in the country.

For $2,925 a month, the discriminating renter can live in Ringuette, a 7-bedroom, 2-bath castle on 200 acres in Region Aquitaine. This low-end castle (available on the Castle Rental Network) has a walled garden covered with vines, a swimming pool, a lovely courtyard and a spacious kitchen sporting a wood stove. It has a 200-year-old Taxodium and a bamboo forest.

Or, for just $75 a month more, one can have a 400-square-foot studio apartment with a Murphy bed in Lower Haight. The bathroom has a tub and there’s a landscaped roof deck with a fitness center.

For a small step up in price, to $4,940 a month, the 6-bedroom, 5-bath castle Perrier in Périgord includes a living room with a double fireplace, a pool, a three-acre garden and stunning views of the countryside. An extra $55 a month can snag a 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment in Laurel Heights. The smaller bedroom does not have a closet. There is street parking only and a coin-operated laundry in the building. The apartment is rent-controlled.

The priciest of the Zumper castles, nineteenth century Manoir de la Motte in La Motte, checked in at $6,064. The 5-bedroom, 3.5-bath castle is surrounded by forest. It has two living rooms, a sun lounge, a “sports room” and an “American fridge.”

The San Francisco equivalent has an “American fridge,” too, in its redecorated kitchen. The 1,750-square-foot, 3-bedroom condo in NoPa, which costs $6,300 a month, “feels like a single-family home,” according to Zumper. It has what could kindly be called a quaint garden with lemon and plum trees.

San Francisco is becoming legendary for its housing accommodations in a rental market fueled by tech money and rampant gentrification. Toss in Ellis Act evictions and Airbnb conversions of rental stock and you end up with modern, hostel-like flophouses like the one in the heart of the Mission District.

The Victorian on South Van Ness Avenue doesn’t look like a flophouse and it costs $1,800 a month to live there. But all a tenant gets for their money at Vinyasa Homes Project is a bunk bed in a house with 30 other people similarly sardined into rooms with up to three roommates. Although the place is advertised on Airbnb, it is considered residential housing because renters must stay for at least 30 days.

The median rent for one-bedroom apartments in San Francisco is $3,530, according to Zumper, edging out New York at $3,160. Boston is far back in third place at $2,270, followed by San Jose ($2,200), Washington, D.C. ($2,110), Oakland ($2,030), Chicago ($1,920), Miami ($1,870), Los Angeles ($1,830) and Seattle ($1,650).

Oakland was the hottest rental market in the country this summer, benefiting mightily from San Francisco’s overflow.

–Ken Broder   


To Learn More:

6 Castles That Are Cheaper to Rent than an Apartment in SF or NYC (by Crystal Chen, Zumper

Inside San Francisco’s Newest Rentals, Bunk Beds for $1,800 a Month (by Mark Kelly, CBS San Francisco)

San Francisco Rent Jumps Again in August (by Anna Marie Erwert, San Francisco Chronicle)

Realtors Kill Ellis Act Eviction Reform in Legislature—Again (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

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