Due to the high cost of living, the affordability and in some cases the politics, a record amount of people are planning on exiting the tech-giant bubble of the SF Bay Area.
“I’ll probably be going to be going to ASU, that place has perfect weather,” stated junior, Ashur Shamuel that said that 80s°-90s° F weather is the best and that it was why he wants to live in the warm state of Arizona.
Some also had commitments that they had made for their scholarships.
“I’m headed to University of Washington, I’m committed there and I’m pretty satisfied with it,” stated junior, Joseph King who received a sports scholarship from them.
Despite the SF Bay Area generally being regarded as an area of opportunity, it’s well regarded as one of the most expensive places in the country and is ranked as high as places such as Los Angeles or New York in terms of affordability.
“I pay around $2000 for where I live every month,” stated teacher, Meghan O’ Holleran.
According to CBS, the median salary for someone to successfully live in Silicon Valley is $221,000, and a report from the Paragon Real Estate economist Patrick Carlistle stated that the median price for a house in San Francisco is $1.61 million.
The Wall Street Journal reported that in between 2016-2017, more people were moving out of the metropolitan area then moving into it from other parts of California or the U.S. With 24,000 residents leaving compared to gaining 15,000 in the region during 2013-2014.
“SF is a beautiful area and I love the architecture, but the cost of living and the political climate over there isn’t something I’m too fond of,” stated Lamont Dorsey, who used to live in San Francisco for five years but moved out in 2010.
Since 1989, San Francisco has been declared as a ‘sanctuary state’ for illegal immigrants and has remained a controversial topic that provoked debate in the 2015 shooting of Kathryn Steinle.
According to a poll from SF Business Times in 2017, a striking 40 percent of those surveyed were planning on leaving the coastal region compared to 34 percent the previous year.
“I would love to have my own penthouse in San Francisco, I also love the cold weather over there,” stated junior, Philip Marlowe that stated that he would like to stay in the Bay Area.
According to a 2014 survey from the University of Michigan Transportation Institute, only 31 percent of those living in San Francisco own a car. Popular transportation methods in SF include walking, taking a trolley, riding a train, biking and carpooling. According to a 2015 report from the SF Municipial Transportation Agency, 41.3 percent of SF residents drive a car compared to an earlier 2000 report stating 51.3 percent.
“I enjoyed not having to drive a car, you would meet all kinds of interesting people and you wouldn’t have to deal with the insane traffic,” stated Ashley Moss who used to live in Manhattan, New York.
The lack of affordable housing has made the region unlivable for many artists and tech entrepreneurs. With those such as Dave Asprey who founded Bulletproof 360, and stated to Business Insider that he would sometimes end up in the “worst house in the neighborhood.”
“It is hard to get the best talent outside of this region to come here and stay here,” stated Brian Brennon, senior vice-president of the Silicon Valley Leadership group told the Wall Street Journal.
The housing crisis in the Bay Area is more prevalent than ever before, and can be interpreted in a number of ways. From an increasing shortage of new homes, to unsustainable prices, the dilemma impacts a variety of clientele.
The prominent issue facing Bay Area residents is the lack of new housing development despite a massive influx of jobs and occupations in the technology industry. While many seek to blame the companies like Apple and Google who are constantly seeking new employees, other point fingers at real estate developers seeking profit.
In a five-county poll conducted by Mercury News in April, 57% of those questioned said that developers are at blame for the increasing prices and prominent shortage of Bay Area homes. The remaining 43% cited tech companies in the area for the issue. Experts also claim that city and state officials make this problem worse.
City officials have the ultimate say in whether or not new housing projects are approved for construction. Santa Clara and San Mateo counties together added about 47,000 jobs in 2017, while permitting just 12,000 new residential units, according to the Silicon Valley Index, an annual report released by Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s Institute for Regional Studies.
The tech companies that occupy housing throughout the Bay Area are aware of their contribution to the issue, and have responded in a number of ways.
With the restrictive cost of housing making it harder to recruit and retain workers, companies including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Cisco are contributing money to building more housing. Another 100 tech leaders recently signed a letter supporting SB 827, which would lead to more housing development near transit hubs.
Kyle Tennit is a web developer for AirBNB, and was recently laid off from a similar occupation at IBM due to company budget adjustments. In result of the job change, Tennit had to find housing in an area located two hours from his initial job site.
“The relocation process in Silicon Valley is different than any other city in the world,” Tennit commented. “I was told to move from Sunnyvale to Orinda, which meant I wasn’t going to be able to keep my apartment in that area. Housing in Orinda is slightly less expensive, but finding an appropriate area still remains a challenge.”
A growing economic divide is also prevalent in areas with spikes in housing prices. While pay for California’s low-wage earners grew by just 17 percent over the past decade, wages rose by 29 percent for middle-income workers and nearly 43 percent for high-wage earners.
Emily Stranzi, who is graduating from San Jose State University in June, says living in the Bay Area is unrealistic with her desired occupation.
“I majored in Public Relations, and with an average starting salary of $45,000, I won’t be in the Bay Area for much longer,” Stranzi told the Paw Print. “While SJSU provided great internship opportunities for students like me, it is difficult to be offered a full-time position with my limited experience.”
The increase of housing prices in the Bay Area ultimately leads individuals out of the area in search for cheaper options. Between 2006 and 2016, more than 1 million more people left California for other states than moved in from the rest of the U.S. Neighboring states such as Nevada and Oregon are often the destination for those leaving.
“I’m sure this problem will only get worse as time goes on. The Bay Area is an awesome place, but for many seasonsed residents it is now impossible to sustain the costs,” Stranzi stated.
WOODSIDE,CA- As Bay Area housing costs continue to skyrocket, many Woodside seniors face the tough economic reality of living in the area.
Since the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009 that sent home prices in the area crashing to historic lows, costs have increased at a pace unparalleled in the United States. According to CoreLogic, a financial analytics firm, the median sales price for a single-family home hit $1.45 million in San Mateo County in March, rising an astounding 24% from a year before. Other counties in the Bay Area saw even greater increases.
As Woodside seniors prepare to go to college or enter the workforce, their career and educational choices often conflict with their dream of living in Silicon Valley as adults.
Katherine Quan, who hopes to work as a real estate agent after studying at UC Irvine, admits, “I love California, I want to live here, but even down in Southern California and especially the Bay Area, housing prices are crazy high; it’s so hard to afford it, even with a standard income.”
These thoughts do not come as a sudden realization, though, as many have watched prices rise for years and have seen how Silicon Valley’s reputation changed over the past decade.
Katrina Rohlfes, also a senior, observes, “There’s also that stigma of living in the Bay Area, it’s like, ‘Oh you’re living in the Bay Area, that means you’re rich.’”
They also see how the area’s reputation for being the tech capital of the world and a hub for high-caliber universities factors into the housing crisis they have seen develop around them.
“The general population in this area are also really well-educated and that’s also probably a leading factor. Because these people are so educated, they are getting… high-paying jobs, which allow them to have the ability to buy these houses for such inflated prices,” Derek Smith, another Woodside senior, comments.
The prospect of being unable to afford housing in the region as adults makes their love for the Bay Area bittersweet. Spending their childhoods in the area made them fall in love with Silicon Valley’s benefits.
“You can drive three, four hours and then be in the snow and have fun in the snow for the weekend, and then drive back down and be happy out of the snow. You can go to the beach, an hour away, or you can go up to San Francisco in an hour. You can get all of these different experiences and climates and come back to a little safe haven that you can call yours,” Smith tells the Paw Print.
Many seniors also admit that they will miss the area’s vibrant food and entertainment scene if forced to live somewhere else. They acknowledge that, even though many low-income families have been forced out of the Bay Area, the regions diversity has made it an interesting place to grow up.
Rohlfes comments, “When you leave California, you do not get the luxury anymore [of having great food choices]. You have to go far or pay that extra 20 dollars to get those things that you can get around here.”
However, the rapid economic growth in the area has also had its costs, staining what would otherwise have been perfect memories of their childhoods here.
“I have seen substantially less and less [of the] stars as I grow up,” senior Leo Dupuy reminisces. “It’s kind of frustrating.”
While many admit that they will not be able to live in San Mateo County as adults, some still hope to live in cheaper areas nearby, where they might still enjoy many of Silicon Valley’s benefits.
Smith says, “What I see happening is actually a lot of people moving to not necessarily the Bay Area, but the outskirts like Antioch and such.”
No matter where Woodsiders will end up moving, most agree that they will not be able to live here for their entire lives and will have to find somewhere else to call home.
Dupuy declares, “Most of the people that grow up in the Bay Area in our generation are not going to live here.”