San Francisco’s median home value was $1.1 million and the median monthly rent was $4,547 in February, the highest among the 50 largest U.S. cities, according to Zillow data.
“We see relocations out of San Francisco increasingly,” said Mehul Patel, CEO at Hired Inc., a San Francisco startup that connects job seekers to employers. “If you actually factor in cost of living, there are much better places to live.”
Tech employment, which includes Internet, software-publishing and data-hosting companies, grew 5 percent in San Francisco in the year ending in February, down from a 10.3 percent increase the year before, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. In smaller markets, job growth is accelerating: 7.6 percent in Portland, 7.8 percent in Seattle and 4.6 percent in Los Angeles, the data show.
In the last year, there’s been a constant flow of workers moving from San Francisco to Seattle, Denver, the Los Angeles area and Austin, Texas, Patel said. Many tech workers start out in San Francisco to boost salary and establish themselves before moving to more-affordable markets, he added.
“They’ve become tech hubs in their own right in a way that they weren’t three to five years ago,” he said. “It’s a lower cost of living, high quality of life and a great tech ecosystem there.”
Home prices in those cities are far less than those in San Francisco, with median values at $351,700 in Portland and $569,500 in Los Angeles, Zillow data show. The median price in Seattle was $640,000 in March, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
A software engineer in Austin earning $110,000 would need to make $195,000 in San Francisco to maintain the same quality of life, according to a Hired report. Tech workers’ annual salaries average $118,243 in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, according to data from Dice.com, a technology-jobs website based in San Jose.
“A lot of companies are opening shops outside of the Bay Area because of the candidate shortage for the skill set that they need,” said Megan Slabinski, a Seattle-based district president managing Northern California, Washington and Oregon at Robert Half Technology, a tech-staffing firm. “Looking at Seattle and Portland, you’ve got large tech hubs of candidates. There’s a great pool of talent.”