- A recent Bay Area Council survey revealed that more than one-third of San Francisco area residents plan to leave the area in the wake of increasing housing costs, tedious commutes and a steadily climbing cost of living, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported.
- More than 50% of surveyed San Francisco County residents said the region was "headed in the wrong direction," replied that it was — almost double those who responded that way last year to the same question.
- All respondents to the survey were most troubled by the cost of living issue, with 25% indicating that it is the region's biggest problem and 64% responding that it was one of the three issues they were most worried about.
Calling the study results a "canary in the coal mine," the council implored local officials to come up with solutions before a significant number of current residents leave. Council officials said the potential "mass exodus," particularly of younger families, would diminish the area's "economic vitality" and leave an empty space where the next generation should be. The survey found that 33% of millennials and 31% of Gen Xers feel threatened by the cost of living.
Jim Wunderman, Bay Area Council president and CEO, told the San Francisco Business Times that officials need to "remove barriers and obstacles" to building more housing and should invest in local transportation systems.
A Beacon Economics report released in March found that California lost a net 625,000 residents between 2007 and 2014, primarily due to rising housing costs. The residents most likely to leave were lower skilled workers with a relatively lower level of education making less than $30,000, and many headed to cheaper states like Texas, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Washington. In a time of surging employment, the report noted that the California was simply not able to accommodate all levels of income.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported last month that the area's building "boom" is not easing price appreciation or demand because most of the units being built are in the high-end, luxury side of the market. According to CityLab, much of the San Francisco area's housing woes can be laid at the doorsteps of the city’s wealthiest who simply don’t want new construction ostensibly spoiling the character of their neighborhoods.