Nearly half of San Francisco Bay Area voters plan to leave the region in the next few years, fed up with exorbitant housing costs and the long commutes caused by the lack of available homes near their workplaces.
Less than 48 hours before polls open for the California election, the business-sponsored Bay Area Council advocacy group released its annual survey of registered voters in the nine-county Bay Area showing that 46 percent are likely to move away, the highest percentage in three years.
Bay Area employers are losing talent and many companies are relocating to more affordable housing venues in the state, or much more likely, leaving California altogether, the Council says, as rising housing costs far exceed the compensation to cover monthly payments. Housing costs topped the list of issues for the fourth straight year. Not surprisingly, 42 percent of those polled in an open-ended question said the housing crisis was the most troubling issue.
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Just two weeks ago, the California Association of Realtors said a San Francisco household would need to make $333,270 a year to afford a median-priced home of $1.6 million using a 20 percent down payment and a 30-year mortgage with a fixed rate of 4.44 percent. The monthly payment would be $8,330, which includes property taxes and homeowner's insurance. Only 15 percent of current S.F. households reach that compensation level, the Realtors said. For renters, the average rent for a one-bedroom unfurnished apartment in the city is about $3,258 per month.
Most troubling for the future of the regional economy, is that millennials plan to flee; 52 percent said they will depart vs. 46 percent last year, the Council poll says.
Despite full employment, only 25 percent of those surveyed say the regional economy is going in the right direction; in 2014, 57 percent said the economy was favorable.
This year, 47 percent said they expected "a significant economic downturn" within three years, the Council said.