In the ongoing absurdist saga of SF's rental market, we have a snapshot of what the Mayor's Office would consider "middle income" housing — the type of income-restricted housing that's "affordable" to people who make between $60,000 and $120,000. That current stock, as sent out in alert to people who are on the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development mailing list for below market rate (BMR) rentals, includes several new units that aren't actually much below market at all! We're talking about studios starting at $2,669 a month, and a one-bedroom going for $3,043 — both with income restrictions of 150% of state median income, and an application process through the city. These units are all in the new AVA building at 55 9th Street, between Market and Mission, which was required to include BMR units in its mix, but sheesh.

A tipster forwarded the email alert to SFist noting that the Mayor's Office of Housing is frequently finding some pretty unaffordable rents "affordable" lately, but "this one takes the cake."

Certainly the market is crazed, but there are actually plenty of studios available on Craigslist right now for around $2,600/mo, with a few downtown and in the Mission going for $3,000. So the question is, why would someone bother applying through the Mayor's office to live on 9th and Mission (still not the greatest neighborhood) in a brand new building with little character — especially when BMR units are usually stuck on lower floors with no views? A third-floor studio at the AVA, by the way, is currently listed at $2,990 at full market rate on the building's site, which means the BMR unit just gets a $300 discount. Seriously why bother.

The listing notes that applicants must prove they make at least two times the monthly rent, which means they would have to have a minimum income of $65,000 to apply for that studio — and no economist believes that paying half your income to rent is wise, but sure, lots of us are doing it. The maximum income for a single person applying for the studio would be $108,000. A five-person household could also apply for a $3400 two-bedroom if they had a maximum income of $166,875.

As noted many times earlier, people who don't make well over $150,000 are fairly screwed in the current rental market, given the absurd sums being charged for newly turned over apartments. But listings like this one at AVA for BMR units that aren't really below market rate, except perhaps in the building they're in, and just by a few hundred dollars, aren't going to help many middle class people find a place to live. Like, if you make $108,000 a year, are you really going through the hassle of applying for this (un)affordable housing, or are you going to find a cool in-law or share somewhere, with some character, for the same amount of money or less?

Related: All editions of Apartment Sadness on SFist.