San Francisco's out-of-control housing prices are causing residents to consider leaving the city in droves -- here's where they're headed

Getty Images/Justin SullivanThe San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge.
  • A Bay Area Council survey found that 46% of San Francisco Bay Area residents plan to leave the area soon.
  • San Franciscans cite the Bay Area’s high housing and living costs as the largest reason for wanting to move.
  • According to a new report from the real-estate company Redfin, Seattle is the top out-of-state destination for Bay Area residents. Other areas include Sacramento, California; Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon; and Las Vegas.

Fed up with the Bay Area’s high housing costs, 46% of residents say they plan to move elsewhere soon – up from 40% last year and 34% in 2016.

That’s according to a survey by the Bay Area Council that suggests the Bay Area exodus is getting even more dire.

When asked why they want to leave, 45% of residents cited high living costs and 27% said rising housing prices. Nine per cent said traffic and congestion, too many taxes, and overpopulation.

Census data shows that net migration to the Bay Area peaked in 2014 and has been declining every year since.

As Business Insider’s Melia Robinson has reported, researchers have for some time been concerned about a mass departure from the Bay Area. Earlier this year, the real-estate site Redfin found that San Francisco lost more residents than any other US city in the last quarter of 2017.

A new report from the same team may suggest where Bay Area residents could be moving. Redfin analysed searches from more than 1 million users looking for homes across 75 metro areas from January to March.

Nearly 21% of users searching for homes elsewhere came from Bay Area IP addresses, the report found. The top-searched destination for these users was Sacramento, California, and the top out-of-state destination was Seattle. San Franciscans also considered Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon; and Las Vegas.

All five of these metro areas generally have lower housing costs than the Bay Area, where the median price of a home recently hit a record high of $US820,000. In Las Vegas, meanwhile, people could find a home for about $US252,000.

Seattle – home to Microsoft and Amazon – is a slightly less expensive city than San Francisco that has seen an influx of tech workers in the past decade. But Seattle is not immune to high housing costs. From 2005 to 2015, Seattle’s median rent rose to $US1,280 from $US968, an increase nearly three times the national median.

Recent data also shows Seattle’s median home price hit an all-time high of $US777,000 in February – $US20,000 more than the previous record set a month before. According to Redfin, Seattle residents looking to leave mostly searched for homes in areas that are more affordable and less competitive, like Phoenix, Arizona, and Chicago.

The Bay Area, considered the nation’s tech capital, could also lose top tech workers if they can’t afford to live there, even on six-figure salaries.

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