Monday, August 03, 2009

People Leaving San Franciso-Oakland Area

America's Abandoned Cities
[...] San Francisco boasts balmy weather, seaside diversions and the best baseball stadium in the country.

But despite the perks, the Bay Area is losing people at an even greater clip than Miami--and ranks second on our list. Rental vacancy rates swelled from 4.7% to 7.1%; homeowner vacancies more than tripled from 1.1% to 3.4%. Why the dramatic change?

"One of the things we're noticing is that rents are still high," says Ken Shuman, a Bay Area-based spokesman for real estate data provider "What we're also seeing is the economy. San Francisco, of all cities, is the most transient. People flock here when times are good--they don't mind paying high rent as long as pay is high. Now, in many cases, wages are frozen or reduced."

And that's if you're lucky enough to still have a job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest reports, Bay Area unemployment has more than doubled since last year, up from 4.6% to 9.4% as of April. Many laid-off workers aren't sticking around.

"People are migrating. It happened after the dot-com bust too," says Shuman. "As much as it's a beautiful place to live, you really have to think about lifestyle. There's no point in being here if you can't enjoy it." [...]

It's funny how prices in the SF Bay Area never seem to go down, regardless of how the economy is doing. The cost of living is so high there, it's difficult to drop the price of anything, because none of the other prices ever drop. It's just plain expensive. Overpriced and overcrowded. I'm glad we don't live there anymore.

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