Driven by steadily increasing rents, apartment dwellers are far more likely to seek housing on the other side of the bay, creating a huge game of musical chairs, according a recent survey.
The study this month by Apartment List describes a curious ping-pong-like phenomenon where renters, often forced to move by rising rents, are focusing their search for a new home in other Bay Area cities as opposed to decamping to further destinations such as Austin, Texas, or Seattle.
And as the trend accelerates, many of those doing the moving are sharing their stories — and their frustrations — online.
Eh also existing renters. The tenant laws here are crazy. It’s the renters’ version of NIMBY. Only good for long term tenants, not new ones.
And yes to more housing all over the Bay Area!
— Chase Gregory (@GregChase) July 2, 2019
Readers of this newspaper said these rental trends are a symptom of a much larger and more ingrained problem. “The Bay Area,” wrote Paul, “already has TOO MANY houses. Traffic is awful; BART is stuffed like a sardine can; bureaucrats keep telling us to ‘spare the air’ and stop driving; and p.s.: there isn’t even enough water for the people already here.”
Others, like “HA2,” said more housing will help ease the pressure on renters. “It’s ridiculous how in so many of the places between SF and SJ it’s illegal to build apartment complexes to house … people,” the reader wrote. “With the number of jobs being created, we need lots more places to live than we have now.”
And “BayAreaGenX” suggested that authorities should “encourage companies to set up offices in areas where there is room to grow. Not even that far — like Stockton.”
Bay Area Housing Stat: Fewer homeowners are housing burdened now than in 2010 – while the number of renters paying more than 30% of their rent in housing costs keeps going up. See the data for yourself: https://t.co/0upkTarIMh #BayAreaEquityAtlas
— PolicyLink (@policylink) July 8, 2019
One reader, who called themselves an “SF Peninsula native” now raising a family of four kids, said they “can’t quite the pull the trigger to leave,” adding that the Bay Area’s ”one-of-a-kind climate keeps me in place,” a sentiment undoubtedly shared by many area renters who are choosing to move across the bay or from San Francisco to San Jose instead of leaving the area. The reader blames much of the local housing problems on “venture capital sitting in Menlo Park and Palo Alto. Filthy-rich venture capitalists aren’t willing to go more than 50 miles to see how their unicorn investments are doing. If you want to fix that, somehow you’re going to have to attract venture capitalists to live outside of Menlo Park and Palo Alto. Not sure how you do that.”
On a Reddit post last week, a user named “logi9” reached out to Bay Area residents for some help. “I currently live in Sacramento and planning to move to Bay Area near end of July or beginning of August. My office is in Santa Clara and my wife works in Sausalito. We are looking at apartment in location like Burlingame/San Mateo/Foster City which are central to our work location.”
Other users weighed in with warnings, pointing out that BART does not travel to Sausalito and that the commute from the Peninsula north over the Golden Gate Bridge would be a killer, no matter what time of day you drove it. The exchange underscored some of the vexing challengers renters would have even if they were simply moving from, say, Willow Glen to South San Francisco.
“It is not easy to convey the wretchedness of everyday life in the San Francisco Bay Area right now.”https://t.co/k9LUz6ehDB
— Commune (@commune_mag) July 6, 2019
On Twitter, symptoms of renters’ malaise could be found all over the place, with some apartment dwellers fearing upheaval in their lives just because the landlord was suddenly making improvements to the property.
It’s sad that upgrades incite anxiety in Bay Area renters. ???? https://t.co/lP0q4NqbrI
— Dr. Ziegler ????? (@fakerapper) July 5, 2019
And the renter’s dilemma, for many on social media, was simply the manifestation of the much larger issue of a growing wealth gap — especially in places such as the Bay Area.
Have you talked to renters in the Bay Area? Renters are treated horribly. It’s impossible for people with disabilities. There’s NO MIDDLE CLASS, only the rich, the poor and those without homes living in tents and sleeping in doorways.
— Sally DeHart (@salart60) July 2, 2019
And some users said many renters criss-crossing the bay in search of an affordable place to live were on a fool’s errand.
SF gone stupid, SF citizens to weak to just step up stand up for rent. Think about it folks working minimum wage folks should just leave and go to another state that has a better life style than living a life of a rat race. Bay area chasing materials to their graves
— BroqSno (@BroqSno) July 6, 2019