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In terms of housing cost, SF is essentially the American London. For a long time that title was held by NYC, but [SF recently surpassed it](http://www.businessinsider.com/san-francisco-is-more-expensive-than-new-york-city-2014-9) for various reasons.
It’s particularly crazy because when you think of expensive cities you think of huge, global cities with millions and millions of people within city limits (NYC, London, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong) but SF has less than a million – it’s quite a small city. The entire metropolitan area (~7.5million) is smaller than some of the aforementioned cities.