According to the latest survey conducted by the City of San Francisco, nearly a third (31%) of San Francisco residents say that they’re likely to move out of the city within the next three years, a stat which is likely to make some headlines.

But unlike numerous other recent surveys or attention grabbing metrics, most often with respect to Millennial behavior but with no historic context attached, the City has over a decade of response data with which to compare.

And while “nearly a third” might sound like a lot, it’s actually rather consistent with prior years save a noticeable dip back in 2013:

And not too surprisingly, nor inconsistent with years past, it’s the younger residents which are most likely to foresee a near-term move:

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by calledrive

    I’m a part of the under 35 group that moved out back in 2012. I thought I would hate leaving SF and that SF was the only place I wanted to live, but I just couldn’t afford it. It didn’t take long for me to get over that. Now I don’t look back at all. There’s not too much I miss about living there. I live close enough that I can come visit, and after just 24 hours in the city, and it’s aggravations, I am thrilled to be able to leave to somewhere much more peaceful and enjoyable.

    • Posted by Notcom

      And where did you move to?

      • Posted by Mark

        Why does it matter? He/she decided to relocate to a place that makes him/her happy so what’s the difference to anyone on this site?

        • Posted by DrElefun

          It does make a very real difference to readers of this site that reports specifically on Bay Area real estate primarily regarding San Francisco. Trends, like a large percentage of residents who are likely to move from the city, couldn’t be more pertinent to this site.

        • Posted by Aloha

          It actually does matter for comparison purposes. Moving from SF to Seattle or Chicago might be a comparable move, all urban cities. But moving from SF to Monterey is a transition to the suburbs. They can’t be measured the same.

      • Posted by calledrive

        I moved to Monterey. Still expensive by national standards but much less expensive than SF, and better weather, no homeless/ drug addict problems, everything is very clean and well kept, a very strong international and military presence that makes this town one of respect, responsibility, and not of overly offended entitlement, yet still has a great culture. And incredibly beautiful, no air pollution or water pollution issues. And can ride my bike everywhere and be where I need to be within 20 minutes, haven’t filled up my gas tank in months. Small coastal towns are where it’s at in CA.

        • Posted by Notcom

          Thank you; and thank you for expanding on your answer so that clueless people might understand why the question was asked (although what I was wondering was more along the lines of “was it a suburb and do you commute in?”…I’m guessing not).

        • Posted by Aloha

          Great that you are now living in a city you can afford and enjoy. Given how radically different SF and Monterey are, it may be that SF just wasn’t the ideal city for you.

    • Posted by Mark

      Congrats! A lot of folks are realizing this as well, especially the fact that there are other amazing places to live in the country besides SF. Expect to get a lot of comments from the SF Snob Patrol, however.

      • Posted by Orland

        Monterey is wonderful upon first discovery — thereafter, about 6 hours at a time will do.

        • Posted by that_dude

          Basically. It’s a great weekend get away. The reality is, small towns with basically no industry, let alone “thriving” industry for young people are a quick way to a dead end.

          People will always flock to where the good jobs are filled with promise.

          • Posted by E. Gonsalves

            Tourism is the engine for Monterey the same way it is for San Francisco.

    • Posted by anon

      Going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing that more people on the planet who are happy about the place they live don’t live in SF than live in SF.

      The fact that the % of those surveyed who have said they’re likely to move within three years has stayed pretty steady since 2005 means this particular marker really doesn’t mean much of anything.

      • Posted by ijustworkhere

        It’s consistent with the demographic data. SF is a city of 2/3 renters, and a large proportion of that number are here temporarily. They make some money and then move out to buy a place elsewhere and other, younger renters move in. A portion of them make it through the gauntlet and remain here into their later years, but there is a demographic hole. It’s also consistent with the city not having a lot of children.

        This is the cost of not being able to provide more housing and refusing to grow organically, although the city alone is not to blame, as Prop 13 and some state wide as well as national policies (e.g. mortgage interest deduction, increasing concentration of income) are to blame. San Francisco feels this particularly acutely and has gone all in with the NIMBYS.

        • Posted by Aaron Goodman

          Number of towers contradicts that statement.

          City has pushed for building everywhere but ignores the traffic/transit and essential housing stock equation…

          Don’t blame everything on NIMBYS it takes banks and private interests changing their modus operandi for affordable on-site options to occur…

        • Posted by Someone stole my burrito™

          I think it has much more to do with crime, vagrancy and terrible public transit. These things absolutely never improve and the frustration that grows eventually forces people to take what’s left of their sanity and get out.

          • Posted by NoeNeighbor

            You might also include the state of the public schools. The quality is highly uneven and the assignment system is bizarre. Many people who can’t afford private schools decide that suburban school systems are a much better option.

  2. Posted by Dave

    Notice the uptick around 2013 and going forward. There has been a very noticeable decline in the quality of life in SF in the past 5 or so years. Streets in disrepair for months and months – check out the Lake Merced area. Streets parked wall to wall – and I’m not talking just downtown. Car break-ins have surged throughout the city. The SF DPW can’t even keep up the existing public landscaping. They are letting it die off in the Sloat median and simply covering that median with red bark. The trees in front of Mollie Stones on Portola have been dead for more than a year. The city can’t bother to pull them out. Many homes in SFR areas West of Twin Peaks are rented out to 4 or 5 unrelated adults. The properties are not kept up and so the noticeable decline in the physical appearance of many SF neighborhoods. Garbage bags stacked out front in one home down from me. Call the code compliance department and they make one effort to contact the owner, who often does not live in the city, and if they can’t the case is closed.

    As to millennials, the cost of housing is driving them. But a combination of factors makes SF a less appealing place to be than LA or Seattle (to name two of many such cities) and especially for younger workers. The food scene is as good if not better, there is more to do and salaries are about the same but housing costs significantly less.

    SF at a civic level is among the most mis-managed cities in the country with the city TPTB more intent on selling out to developers rather than improving the life of residents. Look at the TTC fiasco..

    • Posted by cleverpunhere

      I don’t read graphs the way you read graphs.

      • Posted by Notcom

        You might remember from statistics the phrase “fitting a line” to a data set…I believe this would be called fitting a narrative to a data set”.

        • Posted by SFRealist

          Well said! The point of the post, along with the graph, is that people have been talking about leaving SF for years. There’s not much new here.

    • Posted by Futurist

      Good points, Dave. I agree.

      Full disclosure: My husband and I moved from SF/Noe early this year to Palm Springs. Not looking back. Loved The City for most of my 37 years age, but it’s really deteriorated, as you describe., in the last 5-10.

      • Posted by Dave

        I’m native born and indeed the change has been dramatic in the last 5 – 10 years. The sad thing is too many residents are here temporarily and waiting on the next better paying gig. There does not seem to be the degree of ownership of neighborhoods taken by residents that there was in the day. Frankly, the city bureaucracy has been corrupted in the sense that too many city workers, I know there are good city workers, are phoning it in. The city replaced a water fountain at Lake Merced early this year. A cool new fountain with a spot for dogs. It took 3 city workers 3 days to do the job. A plumber friend of mine had to laugh. The city could have contracted it out to his firm. Two workers and it would have been done in a day and a half.

        There is a whole world out there that too many SF residents don’t seem to know exists. Places better run with better quality of life. Palm Springs is a bit too hot for me (though SF is hitting a record today) and so when I leave SF once I retire it will be for the Vancouver area because of cost of living, spectacularly beautiful environment and no state income – despite which the roads are better kept up.

        • Posted by that_dude

          Sorry Dave, I think you’re wrong. I’ve been here for 10 years, and I’ve seen Hayes valley completely generate into a thriving, expensive neighbourhood with a crazy amount of community focus. West SOMA, where I live for 10 years has been horrendous. Only now, in the past 3-4 years have people found the opportunity to actually walk around during the day – we actually have coffee shops and places to eat now.

          There is much more community and life in what was previously crappy neighbourhoods.

          • Posted by jimbo

            western soma is still horrendous, no offense, but its like the walking dead over there

        • Posted by another anon

          Totally agree with Dave on the worsening quality of life. I’ve been here 20+ years and in many different neighborhoods (Sunset, Panhandle, South Beach, Telegraph Hill, Marina) and I’ve never seen as much homeless, trash, crime and traffic. The weather, pay and food are great, but certainly there are many downsides.

          • Posted by Brian M

            But this is a universal complaint, and not something that can be laid to “lazy city workers”. Seattle is full of camps. Oakland…well I hate to invite the rosy-eyed wrath of E Gonsalves, but parts of Oakland make Rio look charming. Even in the outer suburb where I work now, drive into the somnolent downtown area during a weekend or off-peak period, and all you see are lost souls wandering around.

            And these are local/regional examples.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            You are tragically correct. All the creeks in Silicon Valley are full of campers. And Skid Row in LA is shocking. Is there a city on the West Coast that doesn’t have this problem?

    • Posted by Stop Driving

      You’re absolutely right. There’s always litter in my neighborhood now and any calls to 311 regarding blight or various other issues are simply ignored. When Newsom was in office, things seemed to run much more smoothly. BTW, what does TTC stand for?

    • Posted by Notcom

      I believe – though I may be mistaken, of course – that a lot of the “covering up with red bark” has to do with adopting less water intensive landscaping….particularly in marginal areas like medians.

    • Posted by E. Gonsalves

      Oakland has a better food scene than LA or Seattle. Much of LA is dirty and blighted. Even “upscale” neighborhoods near Sunset Blvd near Silver Lake and Los Felix are not nearly as nice as Temescal, Rockridge, or Piedmont Avenue in Oakland.

      • Posted by Dandywhatsoever

        Sorry, but are you insane? Those neighborhoods in LA are all much nicer than Temescal, Rockridge or Piedmont Avenue. OMG.

        • Posted by E. Gonsalves

          No way. Had dinner in Los Veliz. The sidewalks were filthy and there was a homeless guy digging out of garbage cans. Right there on the main strip. The homes were these small bungalows on the side streets. Sunset Blvd is living on its “glamorous” reputation from the 1950’s. Most of LA is all about a marketing image of “glamour.” It’s not reality. College Avenue, Piedmont Avenue, Lakeshore Avenue, are much nicer than what I experienced in LA proper. Now, if you’re talking Santa Monica or Beverly Hills, that’s a different issue.

        • Posted by Oaklandlover

          Right…. you been to lox Felix before? Awesome area, but for sure dirty. And the sunset strip? Haha. Still great places of course.

      • Posted by Spencer

        Food scene in Oakland similar to Long Beach food scene, not LA and Seattle

        • Posted by E. Gonsalves

          What is the food scene in LA? Been down there many times. What neighborhoods are you referring to? Not impressed. Long Beach has a nice food scene on 2nd Street but the quantity of restaurants, quality of food and service is not to the level that you see in many Oakland neighborhoods.

          • Posted by Some Guy

            E. Gonsalves is a known hyper-pro-Oakland [person], to the point of being constantly risible and absurd every time he posts. His opinions (if its a him) can safely be ignored as irrational.

            A great swath of Oakland remains a dirty, dangerous pit of poverty and bad attitude enabled by a weak city govt. (Yes, I live here and have now for several years.)

          • Posted by jwb

            Some Guy, I think E. Gonsalves adds a bit of levity with their over-the-top boosterism, and some of the points are not even wrong. And your points are not wrong either: huge areas of Oakland could only generously be described as “up and coming”. The fact that you are both right shows that there are (at least) two Oaklands.

            But what really intrigues me about E. Gonsalves is the slim possibility that they are in fact Ed Gonsalves, the disgraced sausage king of Oakland.

          • Posted by E. Gonsalves

            Lol. No sausage king here. I only wish.

          • Posted by G Lee

            I lived in Long Beach for over 4 years and just recently moved back to the Bay Area (no SF). Long Beach does have a “nice” food scene but it’s not as diversified as the Bay Area. It’s very limited.

          • Posted by E. Gonsalves

            I don’t agree that “a great swath of Oakland is a dirty dangerous pit of poverty” That’s an outrageous and inaccurate statement.

            Oakland’s bouderies extend about 14 miles north to south. Oakland extends to near the Lawrence Hall of Science on Centennial Drive all the way to the northern shore of Lake Chabot. The U.C. Botanical Garden is within Oakland city limits. Part of UC Berkeley property is within Oakland city limits.

            The nice Maxwell Park residential area in Oakland is below 580 as is the Millsmont area, the Ivy Hill area, along with the vibrant Eastlake, San Antonio, Fruitvale, Melrose neighborhoods.

            Where exactly are these “large swaths of pits” you so often misrepresent? Just because a neighborhood is diverse and has Brown and Black people doesn’t mean it’s not valuable or is less then. Oakland is a great city because it’s diverse and unique.

            I like all of Oakland. I don’t like to see people attempting to devide the city between “hills” and “flats.” Oakland is a great city. Most of those 57 square miles are beautiful and pleasant. All anyone has to do is pull out a map and educated themselves about Oakland’s huge area and its city boundaries.

          • Posted by James

            Wow, really? LA vs. Oakland. I like Oakland and eat there all the time, but it’s nowhere near LA.

            San Gabriel Valley has the best Asian food outside of Asia
            Little Tokyo
            Thai Town
            Korea Town
            Silverlake

            I do mostly eat Asian food when I go down there but there are plenty of other places

            Read Jonathan Gold’s columns.

          • Posted by E. Gonsalves

            I’ll take Uptown, JLS, Chinatown, Fruitvale, Rockridge, Temescal, Piedmont Avenue, Lakeshore/Grand, Adams Point over your LA neighborhoods for dinning. Oakland has a better food scene than LA. Oakland is one of the top foodie cities in the United States.

          • Posted by Brisket

            The depth, breadth and quality of LA’s food scene is well beyond Oakland’s. I’m a big fan of the Oakland restaurant scene, but come one. The fact that you are citing Jack London Square as a food destination shows your ignorance on this issue.

            Name one Oakland Thai restaurant even close to Night & Market, Love2Eat, Paillin or Jitlada?

            Name one Oakland Korean restaurant in the same league as Parks? [and there is an entire Koreatown filled with good Korean].

            San Gabriel Valley for a deep bench of Chinese?

            How about a decedent steakhouse in Oakland, LA has Chi Spacca, Cut, Wolfgang’s, etc., etc., etc.

            Tacos – Guisados, Ricky’s Fish tacos, Guerilla tacos, etc., etc., etc.? [I do love Cosecha’s tacos though]

      • Posted by Freeloader

        You can live in Redondo Beach or even Pacific Palisades for less than you pay the nicer parts of Oakland.

        • Posted by E. Gonsalves

          Upper Rockridge and Claremont Hills are as nice as any neighborhoods anywhere.

        • Posted by E. Gonsalves

          Redondo Beach is a nice beach town but it’s not part of the city of LA.

        • Posted by E. Gonsalves

          LA has some beautiful neighborhoods like Bel Air, Brentwood, and Pacific Palisades. Venice is also part of the City of Los Angeles. Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, are separate cities surrounded by Los Angeles.

      • Posted by Brian M

        We keep reading so much about how Temescal has arrived. I’m sorry. I just don’t see it. Sure, you have the one cute little pair of alleys. Bakesale Betty’s always has a line. But the road pavement is brutal for a bicyclist, half the storefronts are shabby or vacant, and the underpass favelas are a mere block away.

        Serious question: do you indulge a bit too frequently in the City’s latest industry, the Miracle Weed that Cures All Woes? Or maybe you are related to Owsley?

        • Posted by E. Gonsalves

          Temescal is so much cleaner than the Los Felix strip in LA. Hollywood Blvd is a seedy dump. Much of LA is congested and dirty. It’s all image. Sure, LA is “nice” if you include cities outside of city limits like Beverly Hills or Santa Monica.

          Also, Temescal is still under construction with hundreds of housing units on Telegraph and at the MacArthur BART station. Also if you think LA or SF are devoid of tent “favelas” I have a big orange bridge to sell you.

          • Posted by Brian M

            I’m sorry, but it’s been “under construction” and the “next greatest thing” for a decade now. If anything, the vacancy rate for commercial space and the shabbiness is WORSE. And those condos will be filled with 18 hour per day techie geniuses who buy everything on line anyway.

            I like Rockridge, but the vacancy rates in commercial storefronts has become increasingly evident. Even restaurant spaces sit vacant for months at a time now.

            Where did I ever even hint that SF and LA don’t have tent favelas?

          • Posted by E. Gonsalves

            I don’t agree that Temescal has gotten shabbier. The blighted buildings at 40th & Telegraph have been demolished to make way for the huge MacArthur Transit Village. A brand new 48 unit apartment building has been completed at 48th & Shattuck. Another 35 unit building was finished at Claremont and Telegraph. There is another 48 unit building under construction at 47th & Telegraph. The empty lot at 51st & Telegraph in about to break ground for 200 more units. There will be an additional 800 units of housing once MacArthur Transit Village is finished. Some of the empty buildings like the one at 42nd and Telegraph are slated to be demolished for new housing. There is also a brand new shoe palace at the corner of 49th & Telegraph. There are tons of restaurants and pubs on Telegraph. Try Cholita Linda, Urbano, Burma Superstar, Pizzalo, Dona Tomas and many more.

    • Posted by dB

      “SF at a civic level is among the most mis-managed cities in the country with the city…”

      I’d take it a touch further and say that, among “world-renown, desirable places to live or visit”, SF is unrivaled in its mismanagement. She is beautiful and awash in money; two things that can gloss over so much dysfunction. Many (other) big US cities have actual grown-ups at the helm…

      • Posted by E. Gonsalves

        The views of the Bay and Bridges are beautiful. The view looking back at the SF skyline is beautiful. Is the interior of SF really “beautiful?” The Marina and Sea Cliff and Pacific Heights may be beautiful but much of San Francisco is not “beautiful” in my opinion. It’s not a well appointed city as far as public spaces, parks, and architecture.

        • Posted by Brian M

          The interior can be interesting. I like the vernacular because it is different. It does not look like every other American city of the same era.

          Sure, the Oakland bungalows of Upper Rockridge are nice. But every American City of a certain age has nice bungalows (heck, even the suburban hellhole of Tampa, Florida has a cute neighborhood called Hyde Park). Seattle, absent the scenery, looks like Anderson, Indiana in many neighborhoods. I like the awkward row houses, the stucco. You also conveniently ignore Golden Gate Park, the hilltop park blocks in many neighborhoods (Alamo Square is interior and it is indeed beautiful). Is every part of the City nice? Gawd no. SF does have some amazingly ugly areas. But so does your precious Oakland, with square mile after square mile of squalid little commercial strips and industrial wastelands.

        • Posted by E. Gonsalves

          The bungalows are mostly in lower Rockridge below Broadway. Upper Rockridge is filled with large beautiful post Oakland Hills Fire homes. Oakland is filled with various types of neighborhoods from urban in Uptown, JLS, Lake Merritt, Adams Point, Grand Lake, Piedmont Avenue, Haddon Hill to suburban like the stately Crocker Highlands, Trestle Glen near Lake Merritt as well as the opulent Claremont neighborhood bordering the Claremont Country Club.

          Oakland also has the French Normandy homes in Oakmore and Millsmont on Picardy Drive. Trestle Glen and Haddon Hill are filled with beautiful English Tudors. Lower Rockridge is filled with Craftsman. West Oakland and downtown have some Victorians. Suburban Oakland has neighborhoods like Redwood Heights, Crestmont and Parkridge Estates, feature ranchers. Rural Oakland is Montclair featuring secluded Tahoe style cabins. Anyone looking at the Oakland hills sees a green belt filled with vegetation and attractive homes compared to San Francisco’s ugly hills completely covered with rows of stuck together houses. Oakland also has a huge lake twice the size of the reservoir in Central Park in NYC right in the middle of the urban city. Oakland is a truly unique city.

  3. Posted by Stop Driving

    Most people leave San Francisco after about five years. If you move here after college, get married, then start thinking about having kids, your next choice will be to relocate. All but one of my friends moved away after having kids. Many of those who left earned very good livings, but grew tired of paying $6,000/month in rent or nearly that amount on mortgages. The ones who stayed have a nanny, their kids are in private schools and their jobs make relocating all but impossible. They still fantasize about moving to Austin, though. I’m still here because I can’t imagine living anywhere else and I don’t plan on starting a family anytime soon.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      Speaking of which, the percentage of parents with children under the age of 6 who said they are likely to move in the next three years was 43 percent.

      • Posted by Richard

        Thanks for posting that stat. I’m solidly in that 43%, but I’ll be sad to leave. I like SF.

  4. Posted by E. Gonsalves

    People can live in great family friendly neighborhoods in Oakland at a fraction of the price and still be near SF. Crocker Highlands, Glenview, Trestle Glen, Montclair, Rockridge, Piedmont Avenue, Redwood Heights, Ridgemont, Chabot Park Estates are all great family neighborhoods. No need to move to Seattle, LA, or Texas.

    • Posted by jwb

      There’s also no need to be near SF. There seems to be more than enough culture, education, entertainment, shopping, dining, and whatever else you care to pursue in Oakland, Berkeley, etc. Heck, some people even seem happy living in Walnut Creek. When I moved to Oakland ten years ago I intentionally moved to a place where I would be close to SF, but having moved here I never go there, except that my dentist is still over there. That’s really the extent of things.

      It is a pretty common misconception on the part of people living in SF that the two key desirable qualities of a property in the East Bay are proximity to or views of SF. Neither turns out to be really of all that much importance.

      • Posted by E. Gonsalves

        I agree. There really is no need to go to SF. Oakland, Berkeley and the East Bay have plenty to offer. For those who think they need to be near SF, you can’t beat Oakland. It’s still cool to be able to get to SF and the ocean when you want to. It’s a plus to have the option.

        • Posted by jwb

          Well it’s 105F in Montclair right now, so maybe staying cool isn’t every day.

          • Posted by E. Gonsalves

            Yeah, today we are all paying Bay Area prices for Phoenix weather.

      • Posted by Oaklandlover

        That’s funny. I agree.

    • Posted by Rillion

      Oakland still suffers for being in the Bay Area and California. Traffic is not a SF problem. It is a Bay Area wide problem. High taxes aren’t unique to The City, but everywhere in California these days. California isn’t worth the expense in time and money anymore.

      • Posted by E. Gonsalves

        The idea of trying to squeeze so many jobs into Downtown SF instead of spreading them to Oakland is a huge reason for the bottle neck of traffic in the Bay Area. The bottle neck to Bay Area congestion are the approaches to the Bay Bridge. In the morning it’s the Oakland side while in the evening it’s the SF side trying to get back to the Oakland side of the Bay where a much larger population resides.

        • Posted by Rillion

          The traffic isn’t all SF’s fault and spreading the jobs out wouldn’t help that much. Every time I’m coming west on 80 to get into the city, there is a ton of traffic that goes to 580 and 880. The bay bridge still backs up on weekends when most of those people with jobs in SF don’t have to go into the city to work. Not everyone backing up 580 through Livermore is heading into SF proper. Over the last 20 years I’ve seen the traffic ebb and flow and right now it is worse than I have ever seen it (best was the few years after 2001 and 2007).

          • Posted by Dave

            The traffic is a region-wide problem and indeed the BA’s lack of a single cohesive transportation system is a big part of the problem. LA is leaving the BA in the dust in terms of public transportation and it is a far larger region than the BA. it can be done – just not here in the BA it seems.

            The deterioration in the quality of life throughout the region is taking it’s toll. Not that population growth is good per se, but the Seattle metro area is expected to add more residents than the SF/Oak metro area in the next 15, 20 years. More jobs too. The Bay Area Council poll is symptomatic of the region-wide malaise. When engineers working in the Valley have to live 1 plus hours away to afford a home and Google is purchasing pre-fab efficiency units for some of it workers who can’t afford housing here you know the area is in trouble. It’d be one thing if a serious region-wide effort was underway to solve the problems, but it is not.

          • Posted by E. Gonsalves

            Much of the problem is that SF is not a natural jobs center. Why put so many jobs in a small dense city dependent on two bridges and a under the Bay BART tube?

            Silicon Valley is a suburban area with huge corporate campuses and lack of public transportation.

            If the Bay were serious about congestion Oakland and its 9 central BART stops would be filled with dense housing and the downtown would be filled with massive office buildings.

            As far as LA leading in transportation, frankly I haven’t seen it. Recently it took me a nightmarish 2.5 hours to get from Beverly Hills to Anaheim. The LA traffic is still a nightmare and far worse than Bay Area traffic for most of the day.

  5. Posted by Cynthia

    Ha. If you’re part of the demographics that actually made Oakland what it is (hint: not wealthy, not white) Oakland is becoming more and more hostile to you.

    • Posted by E. Gonsalves

      I don’t see Oakland becoming hostile to anyone. I see Oakland becoming a more vibrant and safer city. The ethnic neighborhoods like Fruitvale and Chinatown are still thriving.

  6. Posted by another anon

    I can’t wait until I have a ton of funds so I can leave SF for a much more expensive and nicer place. It will happen, just a matter of time.

  7. Posted by Spencer

    I would be thrilled if 1/3 of millennials moved out of sf

  8. Posted by ramon sampredo

    this exodus cannot happen soon enough. public services have broken down. homeless everywhere. rude youths with enormous back packs text their way to perdition while cramming unsuspecting bystanders into corners on muni. don’t try to tell them to take off their packs and place it between their feet. they can’t hear you do to the loud music blasting from their dumb phones. these and other complaints fall upon deaf ears like jeff sheehy.

    ed lee: step aside. it’s time for someone who knows what s/he’s doing to take charge.

  9. Posted by pal

    I love SF. If you have lived here long enough, you have seen endless cycles of comings and goings – it’s just part of what SF is, though does not necessarily have to be what it is in the future.

    Transplants will often trash the city on the way out to try to make themselves feel better, and I totally get it – there is a great sadness to leaving SF. But this is (probably unfairly) part of why transplants are often treated in a flippant manner – we have seen so many comers and goers, the probability is you will not stick around. But I wouldn’t take any other place.

    You all are mistaken that we ‘don’t know’ about other places out there – I have travelled all over the world and actually love every corner of this country. SF is just my home. There are always people coming and going from SF – the phenomenon of moving away due to it being unaffordable is at least half a decade old. Many of your criticisms are very fair, which is why I chose to stay and fight for the SF I want.

    I don’t overhype or underhype SF – it just is what it is – I personally think it’s getting better.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      People have been moving away from SF because it became too expensive for 20 years, at least. They are always replaced.

    • Posted by Oaklandlover

      I totally agree with you!!

    • Posted by anon2

      “Transplants will often trash the city on the way out to try to make themselves feel better,”

      There are many great things about SF, but I find the opposite of what you say. I find new arrivals, either visitors or new residents, are often shocked at the state of some of the city’s problems.

      Many other places out there have much better transit and far cleaner streets and most people know SF from picturesque movie shots and national media coverage of it’s tech wealth and high housing prices. The contrast between people’s expectations and the reality of the streets is often quite stark.

      • Posted by primeminister

        We were visiting a winery in Sardegna, IT earlier in the week, and a Brit at the tasting, upon hearing we were from SF, immediately brought up how shocked he was by the homeless problem he witnessed on his visit to our fair city last year. We’re in Sicily now…haven’t seen a homeless person, roads are excellent, and let’s just say North Beach needs to up its culinary chops.

        • Posted by Brian M

          read a business paper or website. Italy is basically bankrupt. There are no jobs. Heck, they are trying to sell Fiat to the Chinese.

        • Posted by Brian M

          Is North Beach considered the repository of the best dining in the city (even Italian dining).

          I would guess that one could find mediocre tourist fair at resorts in Sicily without too much difficulty.

  10. Posted by bachman_erlich_overdrive

    31% of people think they are going to start losing weight next year too.

  11. Posted by Tim E

    I believe on a national average the rate of mobility has been on downward trend for several if not for several decades. Statistical A lot of people talk of moving, some move and but many more are staying put for one reason or another. All things are local, I would assume cities tend to be different from mid size to rural.
    ..
    Can’t speak for others but in a couple of years my oldest brother will move back to Minnesota and I i will be the only one of five that isn’t living within an hour of where we grew up, my two kids will be only 3 of 12 grand kids not in Minnesota and to show my age, but 22 of Dad’s of 24 or maybe 25 great grand kids are in Minnesota.

    • Posted by anon2

      I think the national mobility issue is more one of people being stuck in lower end areas due to stalled economic opportunities. Few people suffer an economic setback and get stuck in the SF’s and Manhattans of the nation.

      Which is actually a good thing that keeps housing downturns from becoming catastrophic in places such as SF. When a bust happens here, people just go home. If a bust happens in an end of the line locale, people have no where else to go and become a drain on government services.

  12. Posted by BTinSF

    A lot of these younger workers are absolutely correct. They are likely to be moving out because the tech industry that employs them has probably peaked for this sycle and they will lose their jobs as a previous generation did in 2000-2003. Then it will swing back up and a whole new group of recent grads will move to SF. And so it will continue.

    I’m older. I bought a second home where it was inexpensive to do so at the time near Tucson. Unlike those going to Palm Springs, and I know a lot of them, I wanted to have an option completely out of the state which suffers from some of the same issues as SF does on a smaller scale. But I kept my SF place because I love the big city . . . in small doses (and when the temperature in the southwest desert passes 100 degrees).

    • Posted by Sabbie

      Nationwide, total employment in the Information sector peaked a year ago is now back to 2009 levels, and percentage growth is now negative and back to 2010 levels (source: FRED) It is still down around 25% from the dot com peak.

    • Posted by Rillion

      I don’t understand the appeal of Palm Springs. Several of my friends have bought places there. Nevada with its 0% state income tax, lower sales tax, and lower vehicle taxes is better in my mind. Of course I grew up in Los Angeles so I see zero appeal of being close to LA. I prefer the 40 minute flight or 4 hr drive to SF from Reno, than any length trip from Palm Springs to LA. Perhaps it is also because I enjoy having winters and being able to ski.

      • Posted by Dave

        It’s a heat thing. One loves it or not. The tax advantages of Nevada are great. Many retired California first responders live in the Incline area for 6 months plus one day for that very reason. Reno is set to boom in part because of spillover from the Bay Area. Reno just annexed Boomtown where a lot of homes are planned. Targeted to Californians who want to be closer to skiing than in Reno proper. As to taxes – notice how the roads are better kept in Nevada than California – despite the lack of an income tax there. Same goes for Washington state.

        • Posted by Rillion

          Part of the reason the roads are good is the gas tax. The price of gas is slightly less, but not a real savings. Yes, the area near Boomtown has been rebranded, “West Sommerset” I think is the new name. Much fancy (snark). I’m looking more in the Old Southwest neighborhood to be able to avoid the spaghetti bowl to get to work or to get to my place near Kirkwood (so leave Reno to the south to go skiing at either Kirkwood or Mt Rose).

        • Posted by E. Gonsalves

          Sure, California sends our taxes to the Federal government and gets a fraction in return. We subsidize roads in Wyoming and other States while ours fall apart while also being filled with ugly weeds and trash.

      • Posted by frozentoast

        I don’t get palm spring either but that’s probably because I’d much rather grab a sweater and have SF summers than the unrelenting sunshine and heat. I just spoke to someone last week with a 2nd home in PS (for 12 years) and he said his community there was talking a lot about the weather and how it’s becoming unbearably hot even for them. One must think of climate change going forward when thinking of investing in a new place.

  13. Posted by KK

    While 1/3 likely to move out, 2/3 of non-residents are waiting to replace them. The only thing I know is population of SF keeps going up.

  14. Posted by frozentoast

    Yawn. Its the way it’s always been. Many should move out to make room for the many more who want to to come and the proof is the market look the housing price. Ofcourse the people who left will slam the city to justify their decision but it’s curious they still can’t seem to really break away since they’re still on this forum – kind of like obsessing about and social stalking your ex.

    • Posted by Rillion

      I won’t slam SF. It was a great place to live. I was there for over 20 years. As for not being able to leave the forum, I’ve still got my condo on the market, so SF real estate is a very real concern. More like staying in touch with my ex while finalize the split of the CD collection.

  15. Posted by Dave

    The housing stock, to the extent that it is a factor, is poor in SF. Sunset specials predominate . Of course the prices are not commensurate for what one gets, physically, in a home here. The new tech workforce is mobile and generally travels a lot. They are aware of how much more other areas offer. One reason the highest concentration of those saying they will move is in the millennial generation. The Bay Area Council poll had a similar number so it’s not just an SF phenomena..

    The Bay Area generally does not have the housing options and variety of LA, Seattle or Portland. LA is replete with beach front homes and townhomes – Huntington Beach is one center of this. It’s not just Malibu. Those types of residences really can’t be had in the Bay Area.

    Or a river front home on a two acres forest covered parcel in the Portland area. 20 minutes from the Portland tech center hubs. That type of home does not even exist in the Bay Are and, if it did, it’d sell for 5, 6, 7 million. As opposed to 550K.

    Or homes with spectacular views of Rainer and the ever snow covered peaks of the Cascade Range 20 minutes from downtown Seattle. The equivalent home simply does not exist in the Bay Area and, if it did, it would cost far more than it does in Seattle.

    Of course if hi-rise condo is your preference then, yeah, LA, Seattle and Portland have those and they generally live up better to their “luxury” appellation than do the SOMA equivalents.

    It is what it is – this coming from someone who grew up in a Sunset special.

    • Posted by Brian M

      Much of Seattle consists of bland (worthy of suburban Indiana) 1950s suburbia at a low, unwalkable density. Give me the Richmon over North Seattle’s strip mall horrors.

      Traffic is horrible. As you yourself in your pursuit of rentier profits repeatedly tell us, Seattle housing prices are skyrocketing. The homeless problem, while not as bad (the weather is colder and damper, so hobos are less drawn in) is still horrific in some neighborhoods. New housing near downtown is not as breathtaking or exciting in design as you keep claiming. It looks pretty bland and beige, actually.

      • Posted by Dave

        Never said Seattle or Portland, for that matter, don’t have bland neighborhoods. What I do say is the typical Seattle and Portland neighborhood (Pill Hill, Irvington, Little Hollywood) is significantly more attractive, resident friendly and affordable than the equivalent SF neighborhood. Is all new Seattle downtown housing breathtaking – didn’t say that – but it’s a far sight better than the equivalent SF downtown housing. Much more affordable too.

        • Posted by Brian M

          But that is changing.

          Anyway, if a house is $1,000,000 instead of $1.5 M, it may be “more affordable”, but it is still out of reach for most people.

          If you want 1967 ranch houses and commercial strips, then suburban Seattle will suit you just fine. Give me the awkward density of SF.

          “Livability” is a generic term that means different things to different people. Given the low suburban density of Seattle, many people may find it more livable if they prefer the drive in suburban utopia. Although, again, Seattle traffic is horrific.

          • Posted by Brian M

            In all honesty, though, Dave. What is your end game here? To be the Anti-E. Gonsalves, the portent of doom and despair? You don’t live here, I read. You don’t invest here anymore and you are divesting your local resources. What exactly is your role on the board? Is it just a hobby?

            I am genuinely curious.

          • Posted by Dave

            @Brian M – indeed I live in SF, Pneumonia gulch to be specific. Born and bred in SF. Fortunate to have a home here. Bought in the previous downturn. Indeed my investment RE was 1031’d out of the area in 2014. To the NW and mid-West.

            1 million instead of 1.5 million? My Washougal rental, 2 acres on the river with 2000K square feet, cost 450K. 1 million will get you an amazing home in Seattle and even more amazing in Portland. But 500K – you are good to go in those cities.

            My role? The canary in the mind shaft maybe? A native who has seen a rapid deterioration in the quality of life here in the past decade. who wants to try to resist – even if that is tilting at windmills.

          • Posted by Dave

            One more thing, if you think Seattle is all 1967 ranch homes and commercial strips then you don’t know Seattle. I am there four times/year and yes, there are ranch style homes and commercial strips but far more. Far more diversity than one finds in SF.

          • Posted by Dave

            BTW Brian, I’d take a suburban ranch house in Seattle over a Sunset Special in SF in a NY minute.

  16. Posted by stevenj

    I’ve lived in SF since 1969. It’s always been a transient city in a sense. If you read David Talbot’s Season of the Witch or Gary Kamyia’s Cool Gray City of Love, they’ve written about the groups that come and go. The Gold Rush was the first large scale influx and it’s been followed by many others. The largest mass migration out of the city since I’ve been here was after the dot.com bust. Rents actually got cheaper and people were able to move to new apartments.

    • Posted by Sabbie

      Just wait until the Startup Bust of 2018.

      • Posted by SFRealist

        Will it be like the Start Bust of 2017? The Startup Bust of 2016? Or of 2015?

        People have been calling this for years. Meanwhile, in the real world, Apple, Facebook and Google are at record highs.

        • Posted by another anon

          Again, it’s not the FANGs that anyone is talking about going bust. It’s the hundreds or thousands of never to be profitable companies just like Luxe, Juicero, Sprig, Jawbone. Jawbone alone was once valued at $3 billion.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            Most startups fail. A few of them succeed and drive the economy. Stripe, Airbnb, Uber/Lyft, Square….

          • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

            another anon, you forgot to mention Hampton Creek, which raised more than $220 million from VCs. Talk about “fake it ’till you make it.” And if you’re talking the wider Bay Area, then you should mention the notorious Theranos as well.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            You’re missing dozens of other failures. Most startups fail.

            But you also seem to be ignoring the successes.

        • Posted by anon2

          Apple & Google were around for the 2007 bust and didn’t prevent that. And they haven’t prevented prices now from going from straight up to flattening out.

          The issue is that you go from a demand set of Apple&Google+Many Unicorns+Positive price momentum to a demand set of Apple&Google-Negative Price momentum.

          You need not have every single company in an area collapse in order to have a housing downturn.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            In 2007, Apple’s market cap was about $100B, Google’s was $200B.

            Today Apple’s is $830B, Google is $650B.

            There’s also Facebook, which is now $500B. These three companies are much larger drivers than they were. They are in a much larger place to support prices, along with the huge mobile ecosystem, which didn’t exist in 2007.

            This is why I think it’s futile to pin expectations on an economic collapse. (We are now in a plateau, which is not the same thing as a collapse.)

          • Posted by anon2

            You have humdrum units here selling for 30-40x US median income. Plenty of room for a large correction without requiring a complete economic collapse.

            And before, the story was that Apple & Google would keep the boom booming. Now it’s that while they might let the boom flatten, they won’t let prices drop? (Well except for all the places selling for below 2015 prices. Those must have been the responsibility of the Google+ team!)

            The problem is that when prices are rising every buyer gets a nice chunk of equity each year. And the vast majority of people here are not highly compensated Google & Apple employees, but they still had a huge incentive to buy when prices were rising. Now with flat prices, all they are looking forward to is high costs. Might not matter to a few highly compensated Google & Apple superstars, but the quantity of those superstars who don’t already have housing is insignificant compared to the multi-million population of the bay area.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            Someone else must have said the boom would keep booming. I’m saying that housing prices are plateauing.

            I’m also saying there won’t be a collapse or crash, because these large companies, which drive the tech economy, remain healthy.

          • Posted by parksidemike

            Contrary to what 1 poster is always saying, the FANG companies do not keep the Bay Area economy going always no matter what. They are not the biggest employers locally and employees only own a small fraction of their oustanding stock. So, no matter how successful they are, a lot of the fruits of that success accrue to people and institutions that don’t benefit the local economy. To argue their success will somehow prevent or mitigate the Bay Area from being part of business or property cycle declines seems not real.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            That article geographically defines “Bay Area” in such as way as to include neither Google nor Apple. Both would be on the list if Santa Clara County was included in the Bay Area.

          • Posted by anon2

            Which just serves to highlight how extremely improbable it is that in the face of a downturn Apple/Google employees who don’t already have housing will buy a place 45 miles to the north of where they work in great enough numbers to make any difference.

          • Posted by Sabbie

            Apple and Google are not startups. Apple was founded 1976 and Google 1998. I am talking about all the recent local companies that were funded by VCs taking shots in the dark with cheap Fed Funny Money, thus minting thousands of overnight jillionaires who bought trendy Mission condos at silly over-inflated prices. I am talking about over 17,000 startup companies here. Some of them make pretty awesome products, but turning a profit is another story, and lots are running on fumes.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            Sure, a lot are running on fumes. Say it with me: most startups fail. They always have. Always will.

            Fortunately, a few of them succeed. Like I said above, Stripe, Airbnb, Uber/Lyft, Square, etc. have highly paid employees. Those employees will keep being highly paid and they keep supporting our housing market.

            (At the same time, the biggest real estate drivers in the tech economy are Apple/Google/Facebook. They are all healthy.)

          • Posted by Sabbie

            “the biggest real estate drivers in the tech economy are Apple/Google/Facebook” You keep saying this, with no evidence, while multiple people have provided evidence to the contrary. It’s high time to either back up this statement with some facts or put it out to pasture! And no, market cap does not back this statement whatsoever.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            Ok. Between them, Apple, Google, and Facebook have tens of thousands of well paid employees.

            They also are key drivers in the app economy. Companies built around smart phones enable tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of jobs. Stripe, Airbnb, Lyft/Uber, Dropbox, Pinterest, etc. are all in San Francisco and indirectly exist only because of Apple/Google.

          • Posted by anon2

            And yet after the 2007 introduction of the iPhone, one of the most successful tech products of all time, SF real estate had one of the biggest drops of all time. And now, leading up to the intro to the 10th anniversary iPhone and the staffing up that must have accompanied it, we’ve seen a dramatic turn in the market from shooting up to going flat.

            This Apple/Google effect you’re hanging your hat upon seems quite “elusive” to put it kindly!

          • Posted by SFRealist

            I don’t know if you were paying attention in 2007, but the world suffered its worst economic collapse in 70 years, although SF real estate held up better than most places.

            Good point about the iPhone. Or it would be a good point if one doesn’t pay attention to the annual global iPhone sales:

            2009: 20 million
            2016: 210 million

            Might a 10x increase have an effect on Apple’s profitability and employee headcount?

          • Posted by anon

            If iPhone sales go back to 20 million annually, I agree that could have ripple effects in the bay area economy. Of course, if that happened, it likely means that Android phone sales will go through the roof even more, which could offset the ripples because they’re both right here. Maybe Blackberry will take over again – bummer.

          • Posted by anon2

            Ahh, well that must account for all the Chinese manufacturing workers I see putting bids on homes in Noe.

            The 2007 bubble was much broader than this one, encompassing much of the country and parts of the rest of the world. When it burst the world economy was threatened. A SF real estate and tech bust poses no such threat to even the wider national economy.

            Do you have any evidence that Apple/Google employees tried to rush into the SF property market after the 2007 bust, but were unsuccessful in arresting the decline?

          • Posted by SFRealist

            As noted above, Apple is more than 8 times larger than it was in 2007. Google has more than tripled in size. They were medium sized companies then, today they are enormous. Facebook didn’t exist, and today its market cap is $500B.

            Today they are #1, #2, and #4 most valuable corporations in America. They were not close in 2007.

          • Posted by anon2

            There’s the obvious irony of using market cap as a measure when the Shiller CAPE valuation is at a point only hit three times before in history, one of which was black Tuesday. But you’re just speculating here and are saying that you have no actual evidence or plausible mechanism for this Google/Apple effect.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            The mechanism is that Apple, Google and Facebook are gigantic companies with tens of thousands of well paid employees. Those highly paid employees will need places to live.

            You may not think this is plausible. You may think the connection is too strained, though that would be news to the many people I know at those exact companies who live in SF.

          • Posted by parksidemike

            Hardly surprising to find the ‘tens of thousands’ of Apple, Alphabet and Facebook employees just don’t all work in the Bay Area.

            Actually the biggest employers are in government, with just San Francisco City and UC Berkeley having over 50,000 employees between them alone. It is these jobs through thick and thin that keep things going. Without government jobs (City, County, State, Federal) Oakland would be a wasteland. This has always been the case, whether Banking was in ascendance here or when aerospace (Locheed, etc) was formerly in ascendancy in Silicon Valley.

            Tech jobs are a necessary part to the local economy but have hardly ever been sufficient to carry the full load or even the greater part of it.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            They don’t all work in the Bay Area, but doesn’t this show that the big 3 have 55,000 employees in the Bay Area? Is this not tens of thousands?

          • Posted by anon

            And that’s just 3 companies. Don’t forget Salesforce and Oracle and Uber and Lyft and AirBNB and Dolby and Twitter and LinkedIn and Yelp and Pinterest and hundreds of other well-paying companies with loads of employees who are SF residents. SF, and the bay area generally, are not suffering from any dearth of high-income residents.

          • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

            Apple may be more than 8 times larger than it was in 2007, but it simply does not follow that all, or even most, of those new employees will be located in the Bay Area and also decide to purchase real estate in San Francisco. Hell, last I heard Apple was expanding head count in Austin, Tex at a faster rate than in the Bay Area. So saying that Apple “is healthy” doesn’t necessarily mean much for the Bay Area economy in general, much less the S.F. real estate market.

            Apple does have lots of highly-compensated employees, but they have many more middling-to-not-very-well paid employees and contractors as well. Apple, based on its consultants’ report for the new headquarters building that at the time it was seeking permission to build, expected to be indirectly responsible for nearly 18,000 jobs in Santa Clara County by now at an average pay of about $56,000 a year. Good luck saving for an S.F. town home on that income.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            That earlier article said that those three companies have 55,000 people employees in the Bay Area. Apparently you don’t trust their purchasing power. Good luck with that assumption!

            (Great first comment in the Apple article from four years ago advising people to sell Apple stock immediately!)

  17. Posted by aerel

    “The new people ruined my city, it’s so unlivable now, I’m going to leave” has been a curmudgeonly San Francisco tradition since the Gold Rush. Nothing new here…

  18. Posted by Joy

    City of renters!! I love San Francisco with all my heart. I have met some of the most wonderful people. People just don’t take care of their properties (renters and landlords) People don’t take pride in keeping their streets clean, houses painted, gardens lush. City of renters moving in and out. It is sad it should be as progressive as Amsterdam. They are building mostly cheap building that have no historical value. So much wealth in the city but so much poverty also. People need to care more and stop waiting for everything to be done for them. Get some new people in office please.

  19. Posted by Vancouver Jones

    It would be good to raise the bar a little for the recent arrivals. The recent arrivals, by all accounts, are highly educated, talented and hard working. I don’t think it’s asking too much that we expect that the city should be better place to live because of their presence. That’s whole point of living in city: a constant mix of ideas, dreams and cultures that makes life more interesting and fulfilling for everyone ( generally speaking). Or, perhaps that’s the fatal flaw for SF: Its just a place stop, make a few bucks and move on. I’m afraid that San Francisco may be
    like a Heismann Trophy winner an NFL first round draft pick ends up having an unsuccesful pro career. All the right ingredients are there: located in california, on the bay, smart people, interesting (past) culture, money, universities etc.. But something is missing …

    • Posted by Dave

      Today especially SF is a place stop for techies. Waiting for the next better paying job or opportunity. There is little pride in the neighborhoods – few take ownership. The ones who are young couples are just waiting on their second kid to move to Lafayette or to the mid-Peninsula. Too few see SF as home. Visiting other cities on the West Coast the sense of community is much stronger and people take ownership much more than here. It can be a bit off-putting – one friend who moved to Portland was in Forest Park. Drinking a soda, he left the can on a bench. Walking away he heard an ‘excuse me’ as a nearby person reminded him to put trash in the bins – saying in a nice way you must be from out of town.

      Contrast that to yesterday morning at Lake Merced where overnight a ton of trash had been dumped in and around the trash bins – it was littered everywhere and a mess. Way too few care but a lot of that comes from the city PTB who don’t really care either.

  20. Posted by Rillion

    Just moved to Reno from SF in May. OMG it sucks here. Please no make the same mistake! Stay out of Reno, the city has nothing to offer anyone. If for some reason you do have to move here please wait until I’ve bought a place, too many damn Californians here already!

  21. Posted by Amewsed

    The old adage applies: Leave NYC before you get too hard, leave SF before you get too soft. For every person who leaves, another will come. That’s how life works.

  22. Posted by SFLandlord

    In other words most folks can’t afford to live here for the long haul unless they are willing to rent permanently or forgo having children.

    • Posted by anon2

      Many many folks can afford to live here from the bottom of the cycle up to the top. Most can’t afford to live here long term at bubble top prices and very very few can afford to buy in on the down slope and stay.

      This is a big factor in creating and accentuating the RE cycle.

    • Posted by Dave

      Assuming they have been under rent control for a while. With vacancy de-control renting for newcomers is outrageously expensive. My neighborhood is full of techies renting out rooms as they don’t want to pay 4K/month for rent. One friend lives in a large one bedroom with enclosed parking for 1200/month. She has been there for 20 plus years. New neighbors moving into the same unit type are paying 4.5K/month. That gets old as one gets older. This is one reason there is so much churn – many, I’d say most, of my techie friends have put in transfers for other regions – if they are lucky enough to work for a company with offices in Seattle, Portland, LA…..

  23. Posted by anon2

    If you need a little bit of irony to get yourself through the week, consider this: San Francisco CEO flees to Oregon, can’t afford Bay Area home

    “It was a gut-wrenching decision, but economics are driving us away…”

    The irony here, is that he was the CEO of the SF Credit Union which led the charge into 0% down home loans this time around.

    “Last year, San Francisco Federal’s membership jumped 15 percent to more than 39,000 members today. Membership growth got a boost from courting young savers and, ironically, offering mortgages such as the PoppyLoan, which provides 100 percent financing for home buyers who can afford a hefty mortgage payment but not the downpayment”

    I’ll leave it to the imagination of the reader to think about whether a renewed interest in saving or access to high leverage was the largest factor in boosting membership.

    And another good thing to ponder, If you were compensated like a bank CEO and had obvious access to 100% financing and thought prices would keep rising, why wouldn’t you buy?

    As with many other bubbles, as prices rose it became more rational to have DP standards fall from 20% down to 0%. Banks compete for customers and more customers means larger exec bonuses. If prices are going up 15% in a year you’ll get your equity cushion soon enough.

    But with flat prices, even those putting 5% down are effectively at or under water after selling costs. And if bank execs are perceiving that they shouldn’t put their own money at risk in the market, won’t they eventually come to the same conclusion with their bank’s money and start to require larger equity cushions?

    • Posted by Dave

      Thanks for posting this. It’s a real threat to the viability of the Bay Area as a business center when CEO’s and engineers can’t afford to purchase here and move, with their acumen, to other areas. A friend who underwent prostate cancer treatment at UCSF last March and was due for a September follow-up just found out his physician has transferred to UCLA due to not being able to afford a home here for his large family.

      It’s incredibly hard for younger workers who grew up in the Bay Area and have middle level type positions – there is no way they will ever be able to afford here. The option of leaving “home”, family and friends is the only way out for many, but it’s a tough, tough decision to make that move.

      • Posted by Ohlone Californio

        This guy could have stayed. He wanted a really big house is all.

        The main topic of this thread is a sizeable portion of SF transplants don’t tend to put down roots, water is wet, fire is hot, seasons change, Karl the Fog is a dumb name, La Lengua is a dumb name, etc etc

        • Posted by anon2

          But if he thought prices would be rising a big house would equal big profits.
          ‘Buy the most house you can afford’ was the mantra of the boom times.

          • Posted by Dave

            Not sure what is meant by a big house. I suspect it’s more not having to move his family into a Sunset special. The fact is the variety of housing and quality thereof is poor in SF. A big house might just mean something “normal” by many metro standards. Front yard, backyard, detached. To get that in SF one is talking 5 million plus at least and he may not, despite being a CEO, be able to afford such a home.

          • Posted by Ohlone Californio

            I don’t really follow what either of you are talking about. But if you walk around like Laurelhurst in Portland you’ll see a bunch of houses for sale that are 3000+ feet and well under a million. It’s pretty simple in that there’s no comparison.

          • Posted by Dave

            Yes, there is no comparison. That is the point. Not just that prices are much lower in Portland, but that what one gets for their money is much more. Cedar Hills and Raleigh Hills are magnificent neighborhoods on the Beaverton/Portland border. Estate like homes in some cases (3000K feet) for 700K. Still, plenty of Portland homes are in the 2K footage range – and quite affordable don’t you know.

          • Posted by Ohlone Californio

            So you do know what is meant by a big house.

      • Posted by anon

        If we’re sharing anecdotes, here’s another. Son of a family friend, 25-year-old engineer at Uber, just closed on a 1BR condo. Makes $150,000/yr plus bonus with a likely IPO windfall in 18 mos. – 2 yrs. Saved half the $150,000 down himself (in 2 years) and parents gave him the other half. Literally tens (or hundreds) of thousands of people like him in the buyer pool in SF for the few thousand units that come on the market each year. There is no “real threat to the viability of the Bay Area as a business center.”

        • Posted by SocketSite

          And yet, despite “Literally tens (or hundreds) of thousands of people like him in the buyer pool in SF,” the actual recorded sales volume for homes in San Francisco is down over 7 percent in 2017 YTD with an average of 3 percent more listed inventory and contract signings for new construction are down as well.

          • Posted by anon

            Again, recorded sales volume ≠ demand. Basic Econ 1.

          • Posted by SocketSite

            And yet, despite all that “demand,” actual sales are down. Perhaps you shouldn’t have skipped Econ 2 (or paid more attention to the material in 1).

          • Posted by anon

            Point you’re missing is that sales volume has essentially zero correlation to price trends. Sales volume does not equal “demand.” Rather, it’s a function of supply, demand, and prices (and a ton of smaller factors). Sales volume can decline even when demand increases, or vice-versa. Thus, comments like “despite all that ‘demand,’ actual sales are down” reflect a complete lack of comprehension of the topic.

        • Posted by anon2

          But with unremarkable condos going for $1M+ people like your friend are looking at buying at 9-10x income. And there are indeed many many people who were buying at such large levels of leverage.

          For someone who complains constantly about cherry picked anecdotes, you certainly seem to provide quite a number of them yourself so you may want to look at some stats. While they seem not to have updated it yet this year, the economist has a great interactive graph.

          If you click on ‘Price to Income’ you can see that the price/income ratio of SF has been bubbling upto about 2/3’s the height of the 2007 bubble.

          Many people are indeed levering up to get into SF RE. But as your compatriot likes to point out, most start ups fail. So most people who lever up to very high levels to get into SF RE will not get the pot of gold and instead just lose their job.

          And this doesn’t tend to be a purely random phenomenon. There are periods of exuberance where many startups are created along with accompanying jobs, stock option dreams provide a strong wealth effect and rising housing prices make RE look like a sure thing. Then there are periods where reality starts to hit, many startups fold, large companies retrench, jobs go away and people go away as well, and declining RE prices provide a strong disincentive to jump into the market.

          • Posted by anon2

            And even the term ‘startup’ needs examining. In the past startups were essentially a handful of college kids packed into a cheap rental house. Now there are companies with billion dollar valuations losing hundreds of millions (or in the case of Uber billions). This doesn’t change the nature of the boom bust cycle, but it is a factor increasing the magnitude of the cycle.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            When their startup fails, what happens? Do they never work again?

            No. They get a new job at a different company.

          • Posted by anon2

            In fact in 2000 and in 2007 many people did pack up and leave. Because when many uber for ‘x’ startups fail around the same time, there’s a surplus of that type of labor and a deficit of jobs. And many of these ‘startups’ do not have real technology and thus their workers have limited desirability to companies intent on delivering profitable successful products.

            The ‘endless summer’ shtick is going to get harder and harder to defend as we move though the tail end of the cycle.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            Which is why it’s relevant that Apple, Google and Facebook have grown so huge. They are still hiring, as are the many healthy startups.

            But maybe you’re right. Maybe you know more about the underlying technology in Airbnb, Uber/Lyft, Stripe, Dropbox, etc. Maybe they don’t have any technology after all and are all doomed.

          • Posted by anon2

            Maybe this is the one boom cycle that doesn’t bust.

            But you have decades of previous boom-bust cycles against you. You’ve quite literally lost momentum, as in price momentum. You have even realtors talking bubbles and busts and you have bank execs getting out at the top.

            There’s a reason they call ‘It’s different this time’ the most expensive words in the English language.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            So, are you predicting that we’re all going to stop using smartphones? Will we all delete Airbnb, Uber/Lyft, and all other apps?

            I’m not so sure you’re right about booms and busts. Real estate in the Bay Area has had occasional dips but has been an incredible investment over the last 70 years. Are you saying that it’s going to stop now?

          • Posted by anon

            anon2 — see, you posted one anecdote about a guy who purportedly moved away because it was too expensive to buy a home (if you read the actual article, appears pretty clear that he moved because he got a job in a different place, and it says nothing about his being unable to afford a home in SF despite the attention-grabbing headline). To which Dave responded this was “a real threat to the viability of the Bay Area as a business center (!!!)”

            I just posted one equally valid (i.e. not very) anecdote that paints a very different picture. You can’t seriously be criticizing the use of an anecdote to counter your own anecdote. But agree with the general principle that anecdotes are pretty useless to make a broader point. Hence, posts like “unit sells for less than 2015 price!!!” are pretty meaningless without trying to at least get a representative sample.

          • Posted by anon

            “In fact in 2000 and in 2007 many people did pack up and leave.”

            In 2000, yes. Not so much in 2007. A lot of people in SF lost their jobs in 2008-09; not many left.

          • Posted by anon2

            “posted one anecdote about a guy who purportedly moved away because it was too expensive to buy a home”

            First off, putting an article about a CEO of a bank doing 0% down loans with a direct quote from him: “but economics are driving us away,” on par with your anonymously sourced anecdote about one rank and file Uber engineer just reveals the extent of your bias. Secondly, your anecdote doesn’t even show what you think it shows.

            The fact is that the majority of people in SF don’t even have a job in tech and among tech firms few get to the level of Uber. But even then you have someone who would have to lever to 9-10x income to get into a moderately nice condo. And this is at a company that lost over $3 Billion last year!

          • Posted by anon2

            “A lot of people in SF lost their jobs in 2008-09;”

            And if you’re counting on people losing their jobs and staying here paying bubble top rents or overbidding on pricey condos…

        • Posted by Dave

          For starters, most middle class parents can’t afford to give their child 75K for a down payment. The average saving per households is significantly below 75K. It’s also extremely unusual for a 25 year old to have saved 75K in two years. I know plenty of techies 25 – 35 and very few of them have parents who can or will give them 75K. Their savings are minimal. The situation most millennials find themselves in regarding housing and the ability to purchase a home here is not at all similar to your friend’s situation.

          Also, this will indeed impact business viability here as more educated and talented individuals “flee” SF. But more importantly, talented individuals in other areas are growingly reluctant to relocate here because of the housing costs. UCSF is building housing near Mission Bay in part to make it easier to attract top talent to the school. And Google is doing something similar.

          Speaking of UCSF, when I was visiting my friend there while he was being treated several nurses mentioned the flexible hours situation – to the extent UCSF can, hours are adjusted for some of the nursing staff as so many of them live across the Bay and an hour away. These highly paid professionals can’t afford homes in SF.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            Like the chart above shows, people have talked about fleeing San Francisco for decades. Nothing new.

          • Posted by Sabbie

            The 1BR condo market is an outlying segment. A 20% down payment for the median priced home in SF is upwards of $275k, not $75k. The monthly nut is around $6000, which means you should be in the top 5% of earners nationwide. This assumes that the typical property in SF is purchased with money earned working at a job, which is a questionable assumption for the higher end at any rate.

          • Posted by Dave

            @Sabbie – correct insofar as SF affordability is the worst in the nation and has gotten more so in the past few years. The affordability index is based on income, home prices and average down payment. No need for anecdotes – though I am fond of them and so post.

        • Posted by Notcom

          And for enders, the median wage in Metro SF for 2017Q1 was $28.03, even the 75th percentile was only $48.62 (~100K/yr) so while anon’s anonymous friend is not unicorn-special, he/she isn’t one of “hundreds of thousands” either. “Ten”s – i.e. about 5-10% of the market is a more plausible number.

        • Posted by Brian M

          Yet Uber is a scam that will never break even or make a profit. eventually, like most unicorns, it will fail.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            Really? I thought that new CEO sounded like a pretty knowledgeable person about such things. Maybe he was completely fooled.

          • Posted by anon2

            The about the difference in downside risk between a CEO likely with a golden parachute and a rank and file employee likely going $1M+ into debt to buy a condo.

          • Posted by SFRealist

            Maybe you are better at analyzing businesses than the CEO of Expedia. Maybe.

    • Posted by Dave

      The leveling of appreciation in SF to near the national norm impacts a fair number of drivers which have created the frenzied market here these past years. The small investor pulled out a while ago. I got out in 2014. The moderate sized investor (usually group as in LLC) is pulling out now – hence so many entitlements put up for sale. The large scale investor is going to look to markets with large appreciation coming over the next decade – that is not SF.

      As to the individual, if one can afford a home here without going to unrealistic financial ends to purchase it and if one plans on staying 5, 6 7 years, then it makes sense. For those here “temporarily” – less than 5 years – it’s a big risk to purchase now. Not that prices will collapse, but that the national average appreciation coupled with the turnaround costs (buying, selling, upgrading) make a home purchase problematic.

      That said, SF will remain pricey and, even after the coming decade of sluggish appreciation, it will remain more costly than boom cities like Seattle and Portland. But the gap will shrink which is a good thing for SF and for SF residents.

      • Posted by Ohlone Californio

        “The moderate sized investor (usually group as in LLC) is pulling out now – hence so many entitlements put up for sale.”

        Your logic flawed there. “So many entitlements put up for sale”? really? There are some. Most resemble development groups seeking an end-user type buyer

  24. Posted by Jim Z

    Wow. So many bashers of SF here. I moved out in 1994 thinking enough was enough. Well, I moved back in 2004 and have zero regrets. In the burbs for ten years and that was all good but the 2nd time around is even better. The city is growing with more services and resources. Ain’t moving out. If anything, I will have another place outside of SF but will keep my place here. The city is still way too popular, globally.

  25. Posted by Brisket

    Is this any different than other large US cities? Seems the same thing is happening in NY.

    I think a large percentage of young people that move to the city have always done so on a temporary basis and that there are also always a core group of urbanists that like city living and stay put. Personally, I’m in the latter camp. I spent 9 years in Manhattan and SF is as suburban as I am willing to go, I couldn’t imagine living in the burbs. The public elementary school my daughter goes to has been great. Middle schools are looking a little less so, but I think the cultural opportunities we take advantage of regularly are worth the trade off.

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