A staggering 46% of millennials living in the San
Francisco Bay Area say they’re ready to leave the nation’s
hottest rental market.
A new poll from the
Bay Area Council showed millennials (defined as people ages
18 to 39) led all age groups who said they’re looking to leave
the region in the next few years.
Cost of living was the biggest motivating factor, with
millennial survey respondents ranking it among the top three
problems facing the Bay Area.
The group behind the poll painted a gloomy picture for the
Bay Area’s future.
“Losing our youth is a very bad economic and social
strategy,” Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area
Council, said in a statement. “But until we get serious about
building the housing we need we’re going to continue seeing our
region drained of the young and diverse talent that has helped
make the Bay Area an economic powerhouse.”
The Bay Area draws in millennials with its top-ranked
colleges, vibrant culture, and proximity to Silicon Valley, where
the promise for young entrepreneurs of becoming the next tech
billionaire never dies. The region has added about 100,000 new
jobs every year since 2011, though growth
is starting to wane, and unemployment levels are
at their lowest in 15 years.
Even still, millennials are struggling to make ends
The Bay Area is one of the most competitive rental markets
in the US. In San Francisco, the median rent tops $4,200 a month,
according to real estate site Trulia.
One analysis from rental listing startup Radpad suggests mid- to
senior-level engineers at companies like Google, Uber, Airbnb,
can expect to pay between 40% and 50% of their salary renting
an apartment near work in order to avoid a gnarly commute.
These urban dwellers are finding creative — and sometimes
uncomfortable — solutions to make it work. They
live in sailboats, tiny houses, vans, and even wooden boxes
of their own making. An increasing number of millennials are
squeezing into apartments and homes with large numbers of people.
Communal living, or “co-living,”
is often more affordable than traditional rentals because it
comes with perks, like free internet, maid service, and new
The results of the Bay Area Council’s poll shows millennials may
no longer see a future there.
Wunderman, of the Bay Area Council,
told The San Francisco Business Times that young people
flocked to the Bay Area after graduating college or
completing graduate programs. Now that those transplants are
entering their 30s, they’re thinking about starting a family or
owning a home. It’s less and less doable as the housing
affordability crisis continues.
“I would say the thinking amongst younger folks that the
Bay Area doesn’t hold their future is really settling in and
that’s concerning,” Wunderman