13 mind-blowing facts that show just how expensive San Francisco really is

Sean Pavone/ShutterstockSan Francisco is mind-blowingly expensive.

Home to tech workers, a public poop problem, and a high cost of living, San Francisco is in a league of its own.

The city’s economy ranked at the top of an analysis of local economies in the US’s 40 largest metro areas conducted by Business Insider. San Francisco’s close proximity to Silicon Valley, considered the tech center of the world, has caused the city to become one of the wealthiest cities in America.

But that’s resulted in an expensive life for Bay Area residents, including a housing crisis in which most can’t afford homes.

The cost of living could increase even more if several tech companies go public this year as expected, something that could make San Francisco home to thousands of new millionaires, Nellie Bowles of The New York Times reported.

Here are 13 mind-blowing facts that show just how expensive San Francisco really is.


1. The Bay Area is home to more wealthy people than any other of the most populous US metro areas, according to the US Census.

The median household income in San Francisco is $US98,710 – about 63% more than the national median household income of $US60,336.

The city has the third-highest number of billionaires in the US thanks to its technology sector, according to Wealth-X’s 2019 Billionaire Census report.


2. The typical rent in San Francisco exceeds $US4,500 — more than 2.5 times the typical national rent.

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The median rent price in the US is $US1,700. In San Francisco, it’s $US4,506. San Francisco is also the most expensive city in the US to rent a two-bedroom apartment.

Even co-living spaces, created for affordability, run $US1,900 a month for a room with a bunk-bed, Business Insider’s Katie Canales reported in January.


3. The typical price of homes listed in San Francisco is $US1.3 million — 4.4 times the typical national price of homes listed.

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The national median price of homes listed is $US289,900.

Eighty-one per cent of homes in San Francisco cost $US1 million or more, according to a Trulia report.

San Francisco’s housing market is so dire that nearly half of its residents said in a 2018 survey from the Bay Area Council advocacy group that they planned to move away soon.

Single-family homes could cost as much as $US5 million in five years, Nellie Bowles of The New York Times reported.


4. One of the city’s cheapest neighbourhoods, Bayview, has an average home listing price of $US890,000.

Open Homes Photography

But some homes go for less than that – a 480-square-foot “fixer” recently sold for $US600,000.

According to the listing, it could “easily expand” to a two-bedroom, two-bathroom house as it sits on a 2,500-square-foot lot, Canales reported.


5. To buy a typical San Francisco home with a 20% down payment, residents need to earn $US303,000 — what it takes more than six years for the median US worker to earn.

The median US worker earns $US46,696 annually, according to data by the Bureau of Labour Statistics.

Only 12% of households can afford to buy a home based on this estimation, Melia Robinson reported in August, citing a report from Paragon Real Estate.


6. To live comfortably as a homeowner in San Francisco, residents need to earn $US230,286 — what it takes the median US worker to earn in nearly five years.

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As a San Francisco renter, you need to earn $US164,214 to live comfortably, according to a GoBanking Rates study. It takes the median US worker 3 1/2 years to earn that much.

Even the $US142,000 salary of the average Bay Area tech worker isn’t enough; nearly 60% of tech workers can’t afford homes in the area, Robinson reported.


7. Some residents are also living in houseboats and vans as a housing alternative.

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A tech worker lived in his startup’s office for a year because he couldn’t afford rent.

A tech worker named Jonathan Gaurano said in a YouTube video that he lived in his San Francisco startup’s offices for an entire year, after his landlord abruptly quadrupled his rent, Business Insider’s Nick Bastone reported.


8. Even tech moguls and startup founders are having trouble finding homes in San Francisco, where real estate goes to the highest bidder.

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A 1,000-square-foot home with no working plumbing and a pile of rotting mattresses stacked in the kitchen sold for more than $US520,000 in 2018, Business Insider’s Hilary Brueck reported.


9. The number of San Francisco residents living in vehicles has increased by 45%.

This has caused San Francisco’s homeless population to increase by 17% to 8,011 over the past two years, Business Insider’s Katie Canales reported, citing the San Francisco Chronicle.

The region’s tech boom and housing shortage are behind these increases, which indicate that San Francisco’s long-standing homelessness crisis is worsening, Canales said.


10. San Francisco is the most expensive US city for raising a family; a family of four needs to earn $US148,440 a year, nearly triple what the median US worker earns in one year.

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That’s $US12,370 a month, according to Quentin Fottrell of MarketWatch, citing the Economic Policy Institute.

More than half of tech workers, who typically make a six-figure salary, said the increased cost of living in the area had caused them to put off having kids, according to a survey by the app Blind.


11. A family of four earning up to $US117,400 in the area is considered low-income — the highest threshold of its kind in the nation, according to the federal government.

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development determined this number based on median income and average housing costs, Karen Zraick reported for The New York Times.


12. A single person in San Francisco can expect to spend an annual total of $US69,072 on necessities — nearly 50% more than what a median US worker earns in one year.

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That’s $US5,756 a month, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Costs in this calculation include housing, food, transportation, healthcare, other necessities, and taxes, not including savings or discretionary spending.


13. San Francisco residents think it takes $US4 million to be wealthy — nearly twice as much as what the rest of the nation thinks.

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Charles Schwab’s 2019 Modern Wealth Survey has found that Americans on average believe it takes $US2.3 million to be wealthy.

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