What Makes San Francisco Such An Expensive Market?

by 09 Jan 2013

What attracts people to San Francisco?

Yes, it’s a very expensive area to live, but the city has a lot to offer, as San Francisco is one of the most culturally-diverse cities in America. Plenty of people spend big money on rent to live in a fantastic place like this.

Where else can you take a cable car ride to have an amazing evening near the bay?

San Francisco is very compact, so living in this environment doesn’t require you to own a car to travel around. Gas doesn’t take much $$$ away from your monthly budget. The city offers great weather all year-round, as San Francisco doesn’t get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter.

How Does San Francisco Compare?

Every couple, family or individual is looking to live in a city that offers them an inexpensive lifestyle, yet still provides a wide variety of cultural amenities to suit their entertainment needs.

Unfortunately, San Francisco has surpassed other U.S. cities for having the highest median for residential living costs, and that number will continue to skyrocket for quite a while. According to the top real estate websites, the average property price in San Francisco is over $702,000 and that’s three times more expensive than the national average. A person living in San Francisco must have a yearly salary of at least $76,000 to afford all of the expenditures the city offers.

What are the causes to this ever-growing median average?

It’s a combination of strict zoning laws that makes housing scarce and drives rent rates through the roof for prospective buyers. San Francisco and its surrounding areas is the Mecca of the computer technology community, as many Fortune 500 companies are housed in Northern California. Thus, they have an influx of employees that needs a place to live, so you create an imbalance in the housing community. This forces individuals to deal with unfriendly landlords that will not meet their housing request. Too much leverage in the market.

Government Assistance

Certain agencies have concluded that individuals should only pay approximately 30 percent of their salary on housing. If you look hard enough, you will find a neighborhood that provides moderate rent prices for a two-bedroom apartment. Usually, they aren’t too far away from the downtown scene, yet they still have a feel of a quiet community. Fortunately, a quarter of San Franciscans pay under the median average due to rent control.

People living in the city of San Francisco choose to pay high rent over making house mortgage payments that comes with living in the suburbs. This approach helps to afford a more disposable income to travel in your free time. It’s all relative, especially if your rent or mortgage is half your take-home pay. You’re in a pickle no matter where you live.

Some individuals will allow themselves some time living in a city like San Francisco to see if they can earn the type of salary needed to live in a high-cost city before moving to a more affordable location. Some will hold on to their dreams for as long as possible until harsh reality becomes real.

Once you decide to move away from San Francisco, you will miss the daily breeze off the bay or the breathtaking bridges that seem to overlook the city.

This piece was contributed by Paul Nickerson, a freelancer who focuses on finance, real estate and current issues; this particular piece was written for the Woodlands Spring and east shore the Woodlands.


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