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A New Company Helps People Flee San Francisco's Ridiculous Cost of Living

Leaving The Bay Area is a real estate brokerage that helps people decamp for cheaper, greener pastures.

Yuval Helfman/Dreamstime.comYuval Helfman/Dreamstime.comBetween high housing costs, endless traffic, and rising anti-straw fanaticism, more and more Bay Area residents are looking for greener, cheaper pastures.

In June, the Bay Area Council—a business-sponsored non-profit—put out a poll finding that some 46 percent of surveyed residents said they would likely be leaving the San Francisco area within the next few years.

Now, thanks to the magic of the marketplace, there is a company dedicated to helping them do just that.

Leaving The Bay Area was founded this year by Scott Fuller, a long-time real estate broker in the San Francisco area who says an increasing number of his clients are looking to pack up and move. His company helps these emigrants sell their home, find a new house in a more fitting location, and manage all the logistics so that they can move from door to door, without having to spend any time in placeholder hotels or rental housing.

Fuller says his clients fall into two categories: retirees looking to stretch their savings, and younger professionals who, thanks to the Bay Area's cost of living, have trouble making ends meet.

"In a lot of cases they might have a good job here, they might be making a good income, but the money just doesn't go very far with the cost of living and how much they're having to pay on their mortgage each month," Fuller tells Reason.

This matches pretty closely with the Bay Area Council's survey, which found 45 percent of those who said they were likely to leave were concerned about the general cost of living. Some 25 percent of respondents specifically cited the cost of housing. Another 9 percent said traffic congestion was pushing them out.

The median home price in the San Francisco metro area is $858,800, making it the second most expensive place to live in the United States, behind only Manhattan, according to the financial forecasting publication Kiplinger. Analytics firm INRIX ranks San Francisco as the third most congested city in the country.

In the few months it's been active, Leave The Bay Area has helped some 20 people leave the region, Fuller says. That number pales in comparison to the roughly 10,000 people the city added last year, but the fact that Fuller's specialized service exists at all suggests something is off with the way San Francisco is managing its spectacular post-recession growth.

The city has added over 100,000 jobs since 2010, many in a thriving tech sector. Coping with that growth—so that new residents can find a place to stay, and old residents don't feel too squeezed—requires building new housing for migrants. This is something the Bay Area has largely failed to do, thanks in part to incredibly restrictive land use regulations and a byzantine approval process for new construction.

In the same period that San Francisco has added those 100,000 jobs, it's also added only 20,000 new units of housing. The situation is even worse in some suburban communities, where—at current rates of home construction—it will take centuries for these cities to meet their housing production goals.

The upshot of keeping a lid on supply is that demand for living in the area will start to fall off as more people decide that the benefits of living in such a high-cost area not worth what they have to shell out for rent or a mortgage.

This is particularly true as cities offering a similar set of amenities, professional opportunities, and cultural attitudes start to see home prices and rents decline. Fuller says that many of his clients are making the move to Seattle and Portland, two cities undergoing their version of a tech boom. These cities have also seen rental prices declining this past year thanks to a wave of new housing construction.

If San Francisco wants to remain a magnet for new people, new companies, and new ideas, it should emulate those cities, and allow the construction of new housing.

Photo Credit: Yuval Helfman/Dreamstime.com

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  • Cynical Asshole||

    If San Francisco wants to remain a magnet for new people, new companies, and new ideas, it should emulate those cities, and allow the construction of new housing.

    That would require the city to not be run by retards.

  • John||

    These people are moving to Portland and Seattle. How big of retards must the people running San Francisco be in order for the retards running Seattle and Portland to seem preferable? That may not be peak retard but it is certainly epic retard.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    A growing community, valuable properties, strong economy based on high-skill jobs, diversity, strong universities, cultural amenities, big-league sports . . . sounds like the kind of hellhole only a can't-keep-up, half-educated, unskilled, superstitious, backward yahoo would perceive.

  • ||

    Just call them "deplorable", it takes less space.

    just a note however; we like to call ourselves the "middle class".

    I remember when America kinda liked us too.

    ....those were the days eh?

  • Kirk Solo||

    You are dumb.

  • Kirk Solo||

    You are dumb.

  • CDRSchafer||

    Yeah I lived with all that in DC for 10 years. That stuff is all great when you're in your 20s and single. You get older, especially after you have children - none of the charms of the city matter much. You'd trade all of that for quiet. I'm 15 miles from a major city and I drive to work every day but I go directly home at night. When I retire it will be out in the sticks by a lake.

  • chordonblue||

    Good Lord, are you sure you're not ME?! This is EXACTLY what I tell people when I explain why I moved away from the DC Metro / NOVA area!

    A year after my son was born it was back to PA for me. Just too much hassle otherwise!

  • Mr Happy Man||

    Until you price out all the service workers, many of whom are us deplorables. Then you'll see how you like a waiting list (or a $3000 plumber) to fix your clogged toilet

  • Old Fart||

    You mean the diversity of syringes and human poop on the streets, don't you?

  • Naaman Brown||

    In an alternate universe Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland's doppelganger is grooming for a role in a fan-fic sequel to The Hunger Games tentatively named The Capitol Strikes Back. .

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Anyone who deliberately moved to San Francisco to begin with was already pretty retarded anyway.

  • vek||

    I wish they'd have stopped about 10 years ago... I live in Seattle, and it was reasonably tolerable back then. It is an absolute disaster now. That is why I am moving out of this place in the near future. So are lots of other people I know. Seattle is really only running a few years behind SF in the levels of horribleness.

  • Kevin Smith||

    People leave San Francisco, but then turn wherever they go into San Francisco. Its the same with people from California moving to Colorado, or from New York to Vermont and New Hampshire

  • D-Pizzle||

    They simply cannot conceive that they were part of the problem. They have no sense of cause and effect.

  • vek||

    Yup. They really are like a plague of locusts.

    So the sad thing is, I'm actually a native Californian. I am basically ashamed to say this, even though I've lived in Washington most of my life now. My family were ones that left to get away from the BS, and NOT recreate it elsewhere. My dad is a right-libertarian like me. Problem is all the progtards leaving are an even greater percentage of the people leaving, hence we ALL get a bad name.

    It's really sad how many places have been ruined now though. I'm having to bail out of Washington state in general most likely, because the whole state legislature has finally tipped as of the 2016 elections, and will likely be one party rule from here on out... It sucks, because Washington is a beautiful state. But I'll run while I can I guess!

  • JFree||

    His company helps these emigrants sell their home, find a new house in a more fitting location,

    Well FUCK OFF. Your clients ain't welcome here!!!!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Them: Hey, my wife and I just spent the last ten years fucking up San Francisco at the ballot box, and I'm new in this city and I was just wondering if...

    Me: *slams door shut*

  • No Longer Amused||

    And maybe do something about all the junkies shitting on the sidewalks....

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Mayor announces plan to eliminate all sidewalks.

    No more junkies shitting on the sidewalks. :)

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    In San Francisco? More like eliminating streets for wider sidewalks.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    What're Bike Lanes, chopped liver?

  • Longtobefree||

    NO. Chopped liver is actually useful.

  • Ecoli||

    The high tech companies need to solve this problem by establishing work centers in other cities. Let the billionaires live in SF, and move the engineering and business operations to affordable areas.

  • esteve7||

    They do that. See: Texas

  • randall||

    Unfortunately...Texas.

  • Hidebehindyourcause||

    Texas is a hell of a lot better for a libertarian than a progressive sanctuary city like San Francisco

  • vek||

    Seriously. As someone who has watched Seattle get outright ruined by this... It really sucks.

    The thing is traditional Fortune 500 companies spread their employment over numerous major cities. There are huge companies in cities all over the US. These tech companies basically decided they were going to cram 95% of tech employment into The Bay Area, Seattle, New York, and Boston. There is no reason these companies couldn't have opened up Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, Philly, Cleveland, etc etc etc offices. In fact, it would have saved them TONS of expense since they could pay lower wages there, pay less for facilities there, and have lower taxes in most of those places to boot.

    Instead, they crammed them all into a few cities, wasted billions in excess expenses, AND managed to basically completely ruin those cities. I think it is finally sinking in, and some of these companies seem to be expanding the number of cities they operate in... It's better late than never, but it would have been nice if they'd realized the obvious a decade ago.

  • Mr Happy Man||

    I fully observed this occurring in Seattle. And I left, for northern Idaho. I was fortunately enough to have entered the real estate market 20 years ago and obtain a condo when a young worker could afford one - then trade up to a house, where the price is unreal, despite being way out. The commute became horrible, though, doubling in time during that period.

  • vek||

    And that, my friend, is probably where I'm heading too. I want to give Boise a fair shake, but I've heard a LOT of bad things about it being overrun with progtards recently... I'll be taking a trip there this next spring, but I'm already strongly leaning towards the Spokane/CDA area.

    I MAY stay on the Washington side for now. Cost of housing is cheaper on that side, and for my tax situation I think I still come out ahead with no income tax, even with the higher sales/property taxes.

    BUT the thing I like about building a life in the general area, is I can always just bail to the Idaho side if/when it suits me, without having to completely rebuild my life, make new friends, etc. It gives you the ability to choose your state easily, and I like that.

    I made the BIG MISTAKE of not buying a place 6ish years ago in Seattle. If I had I'd be sitting on about $400K in equity :/ I'm self employed, and ended up reinvesting the cash in my business instead, which I can't outright regret... But in hind sight I would have come out way better buying a house. I'm doing fine still, so whatevs.

  • Roger Knights||

    "The high tech companies need to solve this problem by establishing work centers in other cities."

    Amazon announced a few months ago that it is establishing a second HQ elsewhere (out of Seattle and Washington) and expects it to eventually employ 50,000.

  • vek||

    So they did. I've kept up on it a decent amount.

    Interestingly, Seattle home sales prices just went down for the first time in several years over the last 3-4 months. It's been in bubble territory by the fundamentals for awhile now, but it may be proper popping already, and HQ2 could be a good chunk of the reason. HQ2 is a good idea for Amazon... It's just too bad they didn't do it 10 years ago, and spare Seattle the nightmare issues they have caused here.

    The thing about it all is, it's not like it's JUST poor people being displaced by rich new techies. If that were all it is, that'd just be the breaks. The problem is that it's HORRIBLE even FOR the techies. I, like the guys who work in tech around here, make my 6 figures... Problem is, you get no standard of living for that here anymore.

    So it's awful for everybody, including their programmers. If they'd just spread it around to more cities, their employees would actually have an amazing quality of life, which is what one SHOULD have when they make 6 figures!

  • CE||

    The drop has nothing to do with fundamentals or with Amazon HQ2. The Chinese cash buyers are suddenly short of cash.

  • CE||

    They moved south from Vancouver when Vancouver put stupid levels of taxation on absentee landlords.

  • vek||

    That's part of it. I follow the local stuff a fair amount, there's more to it than that. Some neighborhoods around here stopped going up as far back as a couple years ago, mainly as they hit the 1 million mark for average prices. Now that even more neighborhoods hit that mark, there just aren't enough people around to pay that kinda cash. Other stuff too... But the Chinese investor thing is probably a chunk of it also.

  • BillyG||

    What they need to do is start opening up offices away from the cities. Spread out a bit, lower cost of living areas, be able to pay their employees a bit less becuase their employees costs will be less. The costs of the area on their infrastructure would be less too.

    The counterpoint is they won't have the "Look at me" HQ locations like Time Square. But who cares other than "keeping up with the Jones's" managers.

  • Trigger Warning||

    I hope they all move to Seattle, and fuck that place up even worse.

  • walkaway_nov6||

    Is it possible to fuck up Seattle more than it already is?

    I work in Seattle but chose to move 60 miles south for a better quality of living. The less self-absorbed millennials, the better. The commute is worth it, IMO.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    "The less self-absorbed millennials, the better."

    Self-absorbed? Like This Guy?

  • CDRSchafer||

    Texas is racist, sexist, anti-gay and full of big ugly spiders, snakes and zombies. Don't even think of moving here, it's awful.

  • losmazeman||

    Same for Arizona, just awful, only hotter.

  • perlchpr||

    New Mexico is even worse! It's all that, and there's nothing to do, either! You'll have to travel to other states to see concerts, might as well just move there directly!

  • Arizona_Guy||

    It's hot here. No one should move here. Peggy Hill was right.

    I say, Build That Wall.... at the Colorado River.

  • vek||

    Holy crap! Texas sounds like my DREAM place to live! I've always wanted to shoot real black, female, gay, zombies! Not big on spiders, but I'll deal with it for the zombie shootin'!

    :)

  • Lawn Darts||

    Kind of amazing: even with new construction not subject to the crushing burden of rent control, developers still can't/won't build housing. SF Rent control only applies to buildings older than... 1978 I think it is, leaving most of the the rent control bag on the shoulders of mom & pop landlords who own those 125-year-old victorian flats that made the city so charming. The small landlords subsidize the masses, the big developers still stay away. Seriously messed up.

  • JWatts||

    The new developers are still hamstrung by requirements for a certain amount of affordable housing.

  • JesseAz||

    And hamstrung by odious per.it regulations like not creating shade for public places.

  • DarrenM||

    This is particularly true as cities offering a similar set of amenities, professional opportunities, and cultural attitudes

    Does this mean we can expect to see used needles and feces on the sidewalks in other cities so they can compete with San Francisco?

  • vek||

    We've totally got that stuff on lock down here in Seattle nowadays!

  • nobodynobody||

    i moved to Seattle in the summer of 2000 with $150 in my pocket and a one-way bus ticket...Been here ever since in LQA. The tech people have made Seattle an absolute shit show, and it's really hard to move out because of how expensive they have made everything. They're almost all parasites; they don't contribute to the local economy and they don't care one bit about it. i used to be in love with the Pacific Northwest and sing its praises to my whole family. Now i can't wait to GTFO. It's embarrassing to say i live in Seattle. My family can never own a home here. Dreamed it when i first got here, but when i first got here, my rent was 30 percent of what it is now for literally the exact same place.

    i miss working-class Ballard and i miss how working class Seattle always felt to me. Seattle will never get it back, but boy do i miss it. Meanwhile, Kshama Sawant calls herself working class and owns an almost million dollar home in Leschi. Cool, wish i was working class and owned a million-dollar home, lol!!

  • vek||

    Yup. It's a drag. Seattle was a pretty awesome city back in the day. You have me beat by a few years even, so it was probably even a touch better then.

    I live in Ballard, have for 13 years straight, and BOY do I miss how it was when I first moved here. You should move to Idaho like I am!

    It's just not worth putting up with the horror show here anymore. I passed on buying a few years ago, but even if I hadn't I'd still be selling and running away with the pile of cash. Fortunately my rent, in the same place I have been in for 13 years, is WAY under market. I was paying about 1/3 of market rates until a year and a half ago. Now I'm at about 1/2 to MAYBE 6/10ths of market rates... Which is STILL enough to buy about 3ish comparable homes in Spokane or northern Idaho (outside of CDA proper anyway).

    So off I go before too long.

    IN OTHER NEWS, there are a fair amount of people who post on here from Seattle. I have sometimes felt like we should all get together for a drink to bitch about politics/Seattle! But since there is no private way to message and such, makes it hard to do.

  • randall||

    Maybe they are tired of navigating around piles of shit to walk down the sidewalk.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Britches, theyre moving to Georgia. And loving it.

    Fucking california plates all over.

    Then they act like they can turn Georgia DemoRat. Hahaha. Welcome to gun country fuckers.

    I love the look on their faces when they see people walk into businesses with pistols on their hip. I see them reach for their cell phones and then told by 911 to fuck off.

  • Hidebehindyourcause||

    Most Democrats in Georgia are pretty conservative compared to leftists from San Fran and Seattle lol

  • CE||

    Most Democrats in Georgia are pretty conservative compared to Republicans from California.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    ...and they might just do it. If you like the way Atlanta used to be, you might have to move to Birmingham.

    I never understood why the Republican in the state capital wanted the movie industry to move to Georgia so badly. Didn't they know that those people moving in don't vote for Republicans? They want choo-choo trains, bike lanes, and growth boundaries.

  • rano del||

    You made some good points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found many people will go along with your website.

    Jasa Seo

  • Wanderer||

    Movers out of Commiefornia shouldn't get voting rights until the third generation

  • damikesc||

    I actually agree with this.

    "No offense, but you fucked up California something fierce. You need to take a time out for a couple of decades, fucking moron"

  • vek||

    GOD, if only that were legally possible...

  • 2ndprotectsall||

    The problem is little lib maroons who flee and bring their Marxist ways to contaminate the rest of America.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Relax. The North American-Pacific plate boundary, AKA the San Andreas fault and all its cousins, will soon take care of the housing disparity in the Bay Area.

    And if we wait long enough, all of coastal California south of Mendocino will unzip (sorry) from the mainland, like Baja, and go on a Pacific cruise.

  • snowhawk||

    We can't afford to wait!!!

  • vek||

    As mentioned by others, the problem is they're running out and then ruining other places. I still don't understand how people move and then vote for all the same horrible laws that made SF a shit show that they wanted to get away from... It's mind blowing.

  • D-Pizzle||

    They're leftists. They have no sense of cause and effect. They think these problems "just happen."

  • snowhawk||

    Just what is the downward starting point for the level of intelligence where indoctrination becomes most acceptable .

  • CDRSchafer||

    You racist bigots just can't get the nuance and sophistication on paying $2 million for a shoebox condo then walking out the door to greet the morning and a hobo junkie crapping on the sidewalk. Rubes.

  • Mr Happy Man||

    There is a factor in moving that the company stated doesn't appear to address - employment outplacement services. That is a big factor in moving, and some occupations are going to have problems finding jobs in these locales. They may not do the headhunting, but they could have very strong links to those headhunting services, and collect a small referral fee to boot.

  • Mr Happy Man||

    One thing that is going to happen in these areas is that some day, these houses are going to come back in the market. Like when the owners are in their upper 80s, or, when they're dead. This is going to happen all at once. And the Millennials won't be buying, because they will have purchased their own homes (at high prices) - the developers are going to do what they can to fill demand. The following generation, those who are currently minors, is going to find a lot of bargains. This is going to result in a massive housing crash in the coastal cities. Even with inflation, the nominal prices are going to fall quite a bit, which means real prices are going to go down even further.

  • Sevo||

    Mr Happy Man|10.23.18 @ 12:04PM|#
    "One thing that is going to happen in these areas is that some day, these houses are going to come back in the market. Like when the owners are in their upper 80s, or, when they're dead. This is going to happen all at once."

    This has been predicted since the late 1960s.
    Nope. Not going to happen. Location, location, location.
    There is one San Francisco, there are buyers lusting for property here world-wide. The gov't has yet to screw up the views, the neighborhoods, etc.
    You cannot lose money buying SF real estate, regardless of the gov't's best efforts. If you buy rent controlled units, you get to hope the tenants die (as they do) and then the property jumps in value. In HUGE amounts because of that rent control.

  • vek||

    Never say never.

    I'm a big believer in fundamentals. Anytime a market gets too far outside of what the underlying math says it should be valued at... It will correct at some point.

    Certain trendy cities are soooo far outside where math says they should be, there MUST be a correction at some point. SF had a net drop in population last year IIRC. Seattle real estate prices just went down for the first time in years starting about 4 months ago. It may not be the big pop just yet, heck there may never be a BIG pop... But in inflation adjusted terms, pricing relative to incomes and the like will have to come down sooner or later.

    Also, population growth matters. If population stops growing in a place, that immediately puts massive downward pressure on pricing. So if SF just goes static population wise, that alone will tank prices over time.

  • Tipper Martin||

    I saw this story on the Drudge Report, and on www.PressCalifornia.com, which has more real non-MSM news from California, financial, political and otherwise.

  • kavu||

    I know that we are supposed to be tolerant libertarians but I have already lived in one community that was inundated then dragged down by these shitards. They support policies that predictably end in disaster. Then they flee the disaster, move to a place that is normal, and contribute to its destruction because they keep voting Libtarded. Pen them in and force them to suffer the consequences of voting-while-brain-damaged (see CA, NY, MA, IL). Don't let them out until they promise that they will never vote Libtarded ever again.

  • snowhawk||

    EXACTLY!!!

  • snowhawk||

    DON"T let them leave!!! March them to the ovens. The last thing the Nation needs is a pandemic of the socialist (Communist) indoctrinated spreading like a killer virus across it. A look at what the Hollywood jew Commie's have done to Austin Texas says it all.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Dood! Here's opportunity for the Locust Marchers to shift leftward through Mexicali, San Diego, or even straight to SF Bay and Occupy those vacated premises. Feefteen dola anauer, menh! Everybody weens!

  • Alan@.4||

    When we lived in The Bay Area in the late 1960's, rents in San Francisco we're ridiculous.

  • vek||

    But here's the thing: They weren't! Not like they are now anyway.

    SF wasn't cheap like Des Moines or something... But if you look at the actual prices there compared to median income, adjusted for inflation, or any other metric that keeps it framed properly for the time period, it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay cheaper.

    Same thing in Seattle, New York, or any other trendy city. By any objective measures they've all got WAY worse than they used to be. IMO it's a mini bubble that has specifically effected "trendy" cities, and will not last much longer. They will probably flat line, or even have a modest dip, and then not appreciate much while inflation puts their values back in line with where fundamentals say they should be... Which is EXPENSIVE. But not nearly expensive as they are now.

  • Hidebehindyourcause||

    Whenever I hear trendy that's just a code word for progressive and intolerant of people like me so I stay the hell away.

  • vek||

    That is about right!

    The sad thing is most of them weren't prog cities... But then progs realized they were nice areas, had cheap housing, low taxes, etc. They then flood in, and proceed to ruin the place. It sucks. It seems like one city after another is having this happen around the country in formerly solid conservative areas.

  • Sevo||

    More power to them, but is there an economic gain in hiring someone to get you out of SF?

  • CE||

    858K? You can't find anything under 900K in Silicon Valley.

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  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    It's happening everywhere I've been.

    Urban cores all over the USA have attracted an insane number of statists, and the idiots that voted for the policies that attracted them are now migrating out to other communities and destroying them.

    Trump is goofy, but he's absolutely right about draining the swamp and calling out big media organizations as pushing fake news.

    Somehow or other, kids have to learn the real history of the world without the indoctrination from people who are cradle to grave benefiting from state largess.

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