Do you know anyone who has moved out of the Bay Area recently? Well you are not alone. According to a recent poll, a third of Bay Area residents said they planned on leaving. Residents are tired of spending more than half their paycheck on housing, couple that with the cost of living, add the terrible commutes and we have a perfect storm here in the Bay.
In addition, over half of the residents polled in San Francisco County said the region was headed in the wrong direction, a massive leap from the only 28 percent who felt the same way last year. This comes from the 2016 Bay Area Council Poll, which surveyed more than 1,000 residents and was conducted by Oakland-based public opinion research firm EMC Research. The annual poll asked respondents how they felt about a constellation of issues that often affect the region, including transportation, housing, economic growth, education, jobs and even the drought. Overall, the poll painted a gloomy picture for the Bay Area, with a majority who answered saying high housing costs are their biggest concern, followed by traffic and the cost of living.
Jim Wunderman, Bay Area Council president and chief executive officer, told the San Francisco Business Times that “Traffic is horrific. People living in the Bay Area spend an average of 78 more hours in traffic than the rest of the nation and the Silicon Valley isn’t far behind at 67 hours. Residents are considering just how much all that extra time is costing them and looking elsewhere. Our housing shortage is pricing workers, families and others out of their homes and out of the region. These problems threaten to erode our economic vitality and diminish our quality of life.”
This isn’t only happening in San Francisco, Silicon Valley residents are now moving out of the area faster than they’re arriving. According to a study conducted by the Silicon Valley Competitiveness and Innovation Project, the California tech corridor lost more than 7,500 residents to other areas of the United States in 2015. That was the first time in four years the area lost more domestic residents than it gained. Techies are leaving for lower-cost tech-friendly cities, such as Seattle and Austin, according to the study. It costs more to rent in San Francisco than anywhere else in the United States. In December, a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco averaged about $3,620 a month, while a one-bedroom in Seattle averaged about $1,600 a month.
So what can the Bay Area to do keep all its inhabitants happy, thriving and able to afford to stay? That depends on how seriously leaders take residents’ concerns, Wunderman said Yolo, Stanislaus, and Stockton are rapidly becoming spillover housing for the Bay Area. The issue is that we think housing is too expensive which means we need to develop more houses, but the Bay Area Council report found that more residents than not think the region will experience a downturn in the next three years, so this makes developers hesitant to start large projects that could take years if the cost of homes is going to decrease. The Bay Area will always be a desirable place for people to live and nobody can say when this bubble will burst but is the writing on the wall?
Adam Modzeleski is a real estate professional with Rainbow Funding and Realty, located in Newark for more than 30 years at 6658 Thornton Ave.