Silicon Valley is unquestionably one of the most innovative areas in the technology world. It is where the world's most ambitious entrepreneurs come to take their shot at building the next Airbnb, Instagram, or Github. The world's best tech companies, investors and talent call Silicon Valley home, sustaining its reputation as "the" place you must go to make it in tech.
Despite this, and the fact that wealth has been created at astounding levels, San Francisco might be reaching its peak. According to a poll conducted by the Bay Area Council, 46% of residents polled planned to leave San Francisco in the next few years. Even for successful and wealthy professionals, San Francisco is becoming too expensive to live. The housing prices are unreachable for the majority of residents.
San Francisco is a great city and there are dozens of reasons to enjoy living in the city. Yet folks are starting to ask whether or not it's worth it, given the high costs and solid alternatives for living elsewhere. Here's a look at four reasons why residents might be leaving San Francisco.
1. You need to make $333,270 to afford a home
A study from the California Association of Realtors found that only 15% of San Francisco households meet the annual income threshold needed to afford the median-priced home of $1.6 million. While there are many high-paying jobs in the Bay Area, high home prices make it challenging for most people to buy a home in the city.
To put this salary requirement in perspective, the median-priced home in Austin, Texas is $383,245.
2. Rental prices are through the roof
The rental prices in San Francisco have become the topic of daily conversation. The rent averages vary from source to source, but it's reasonable to conclude that the average unfurnished one-bedroom apartment rents for over $3,000 per month. According to Zumper.com, the average two-bedroom apartment rents for over $4,300 per month.
3. Cost of Living (aka: $12 toast)
It's not just the home prices that are expensive in San Francisco. According to reports, San Francisco's cost of living can be as much as 60% more than the American average. When you consider high gas prices, high food costs, high costs of staples, $8 lattes and $12 avocado toast, it's fair to wonder if San Francisco is worth it from a value perspective. The estimated cost for necessities for a single person is around $3,500 a month. That's $42,000 a year.
4. Mass transit is terrible
The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is by far one of the worst transportation systems I've ever experienced in a first world country. The coverage is sparse, it's dirty and there is little security, which is badly needed. It's become so bad that last year a man hit a crack pipe while sitting next to me on BART on a weekday afternoon.
Things change, and that's a part of life. The changes in San Francisco aren't anyone's fault per se, but they are real. And yes, every place you could live has trade-offs. Yet, current inhabitants are starting to leave San Francisco at significant rates. The increasing costs and diminishing value of San Francisco are causing many folks to question the merits of living in the city, or in the Bay Area altogether.