Moving Decisions: Is It Time to Leave San Francisco, CA?

September 4, 2020

Once upon a time, San Francisco was known as the “Paris of the West.” These days, it alternates in the news between stories about the disproportionately high homeless population and some of the most jarringly expensive real estate prices in the world.

Home to nearly 900,000 residents, it’s the hub of the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland region. All told, this larger metro area contains almost nine million people. With a huge population surge in recent years, the city faces major challenges when it comes to traffic congestion, public transit, homelessness, and more.

For these reasons and many more, a growing number of residents have decided to leave San Francisco. keep reading to find out why so many San Franciscans are relocating and where they’re going.

The Top Reasons Why People Leave San Francisco

Why are people leaving San Francisco? There are many reasons residents bid the “Fog City” farewell, from gridlock traffic to rampant crime. Among the most cited motivators are:

  • Astronomical real estate prices
  • Through the roof rental prices
  • Cost of living
  • Taxes
  • Inadequate public transportation
  • Homelessness and lack of public hygiene
  • Escalating property crimes
  • Traffic

Are you starting to wonder what life could be like if you left San Francisco? If so, you’re far from alone. Let’s deep dive into some of the most prominent reasons for leaving, so that you can take your heart with you when you move.

Moving Out of San Francisco: Astronomical Real Estate Prices

The median sold price of an existing single-family home in San Francisco is a whopping $1,805,000. Why the overvalued market, despite the glaring list of problems with the Bay Area?

These values are the result of various factors, including disproportionate buying power among some residents. Despite the economic and health issues caused by COVID-19, the housing market rapidly bounced back after March and April slumps.

The reason? The city’s most affluent buyers also proved least impacted by the economic downturn. As a result, they had the resources to jump on the momentary lull in housing prices and sinking interest rates to snatch up new properties.

The proof is in the pudding. In virtually every housing market, high-end luxury real estate remains in great demand.

Yes, Rental Prices Are Still Through the Roof

Over the past few months, numerous articles have announced the fall of San Francisco rental prices. As it turns out, the price drops are unprecedented, representing a 9.2 percent drop over the previous year.

Nevertheless, the city’s rental prices were initially so inflated that the average American would still have serious trouble swinging these reduced costs.

The average price of a one-bedroom in SF currently stands at $3,360 compared to $3,700 the year before. That said, the national median rent for a one-bedroom came in at $1,343 in December 2019, a substantial 5.5 percent gain over 2018.

What’s more, the average monthly mortgage payment in the US is $1,500. In other words, the rent that a San Franciscan pays for a tiny apartment in an increasingly dirty and crime-plagued city could garner a house (or two) in another US city.

San Francisco’s Cost of Living Will Make You Leave the Bay Area

Like mortgage payments and rent, you’ll also find San Francisco’s cost of living to be higher than the national average. For example, it costs $310.04 to park in San Francisco per month. Gasoline costs $4.20 per gallon, and public transportation runs $94 per month.

Because the city boasts some truly excellent restaurants, eating out proves an expensive venture. This fact also holds true when you’re not eating out at one of the uber-fancy spots. A meal for two at a mid-range establishment costs twice the national average, $80.

Many San Franciscans choose to eat at home to economize. But you’ll spend extra money there, too. The average cost for a trip to the grocery store in SF is $423.75, instead of $324.20 nationally. And that doesn’t even cover the taxes residents pay.

Golden State Taxes

For those living in SF, it’s impossible to escape California’s income tax rates, which happen to be some of the highest in the US. Individuals with taxable income above $572,980 pay 12.3 percent in taxes.

And if you make more than $1 million? Add a one percent surtax to that.

State sales tax comes in at 7.25 percent. Combined with city and county fees, you’ll pay a total of 8.5 percent sales tax in SF.

Inadequate Public Transportation

Public transit leaves a lot to be desired in the city. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) crisscrosses the city with bus lines and a pre-metro light rail system, Muni. It enjoys the distinction of being the slowest fleet in the US at just 8.1 mph.

Many residents agree that Muni requires a major overhaul. For years, it has provided lagging and spotty service. Recent strikes even led Mayor London Breed to issues a letter to SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin demanding reforms.

There’s also the BART Train connecting the Bay Area. While faster than Muni, it has a reputation for filthy stations and significant crime issues that have yet to be resolved. While you can get around with the current system, the Bay Area deserves better.

Homelessness and Lack of Public Sanitation

California accounts for 30 percent of all people experiencing homelessness and 49 percent of all unsheltered people. The state accounts for just 12 percent of the American population yet has a homeless rate that’s 2.5 times the national average.

Unfortunately, the “Golden State” has also shown a recent resurgence of what some have termed “medieval diseases” among these homeless populations. The hygiene situation is out of control.

Diseases such as typhus, tuberculosis, hepatitis A, and syphilis are now rearing their ugly heads along the West Coast. While most of the focus has been placed by newspapesr on Los Angeles, San Francisco is, by no means, off the hook.

San Francisco’s streets have become so strewn with human waste, trash, and heroin needles that one infectious disease expert has compared the city’s streets to “some of the dirtiest slums in the world.” No wonder so many have decided on moving out of state.

Escalating Property Crimes

Larceny, burglary, shoplifting, and vandalism…

San Francisco leads the nation in property crime. Car break-ins alone get reported, on average, 51 times per day.

Low-level offenses also plague the city. They include:

  • Public intoxication
  • Indecent exposure
  • Drug dealing
  • Street harassment
  • Encampment
  • Simple assault
  • Disorderly conduct

Why the upshoot in crime? Many in law enforcement cite Proposition 47 passed in 2014. Prop 47 downgraded possession of illegal narcotics for personal use. It also made the theft of anything under $950 in value a misdemeanor instead of a felony.

While the pandemic and Governor Newsom’s stay-at-home orders have led to an overall drop in crime, this represents a temporary solution to a dangerous problem.

Traffic in the City by the Bay

Ranked the city with the fifth-worst traffic globally and the third-worst nationally, SF traffic congestion gets downright appalling. San Franciscans spend about 12 percent of their driving time dealing with gridlock.

And during rush hour? People spend 79 peak hours stuck in traffic. What’s more, many residents now report that the congestion never  lets up, making driving around the city anytime, day or night, a hair-pulling experience.

Where Are San Franciscans Moving?

Do you want to know what the silver lining of moving out of one of the most expensive cities in the world is? The realization that everywhere else is more affordable.

So, where do SF exiles go? It depends on their income level. Well-off individuals in the tech industry tend to go to other high-cost markets, such as Seattle and New York.

For those who want to reap the benefits of life in a smaller city, however, destinations include:

  • Austin, Texas,
  • Sacramento, California
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Phoenix, Arizona

Newly relocated San Franciscans report how amazing it is to realize you can swing a full mortgage for the price of a one-bedroom rental in the Bay Area. What’s more, they enjoy escaping gridlock traffic, pollution, and unhygienic downtown conditions.

Checklist for Moving Out of San Francisco

Now that we’ve covered all of the reasons that people choose to get out of SF, let’s go over some tips to make your move go more smoothly. After all, an interstate move can feel overwhelming, so we’ve created this checklist to help.

As you prepare for and go through your move, remember to:

  • Calculate a budget for your relocation
  • Check out the city you want to live in
  • Explore the city’s job market and the types of jobs you could fill
  • Make some decisions about the neighborhoods where you’d like to live
  • Research and purchase a home
  • Hire a reputable professional moving company
  • Transfer your medical records
  • Transfer your utilities
  • Change your address
  • Enlist the services of car transport professionals
  • Apply for a new residency
  • Visit the DMV to get an updated driver’s license
  • Register your pet(s)

As you can see, a move from state-to-state comes with many moving parts. So, ask for help, and don’t be afraid to hire professionals. What’s more, keep a copy of the checklist above nearby. That way, you won’t forget any of the essential details associated with your move.

Car Moving: San Francisco

What do you envision when you hear the word “moving”?

Perhaps empty boxes scattered around your house? Maybe packing materials and personal belongings in piles to facilitate speedy packing?

Many of us tend to think about packing the items inside our homes, and that’s fine. But you don’t want to neglect other critical elements of a move, either. These include deciding how you’ll have vehicles transported to your new address.

Consider hiring a car hauling service to move your vehicles more efficiently and affordably. This step will also help you avoid complicating an already-hectic scenario by adding a road trip into the mix.

There are also practical matters to consider. For starters, driving your car thousands of miles to a new home places unnecessary wear and tear on it.

But you can avoid this hassle altogether. How? By working with a reliable, experienced car transport company. They’ll make moving out of state a breeze.

What about economizing by moving it yourself? You’ll end up with more than you bargained for in gas prices, lodging, food, vehicle wear and tear, and maintenance expenses. These costs add up quickly.

Why Auto Transport Makes Sense

What are some other things you should consider when it comes to driving a vehicle cross-country versus letting professional movers handle it? You’ll want to think about issues such as:

  • Safety for yourself and your family
  • How many cars you need to haul
  • How to find the right company for your unique needs

Annually, 38,000 Americans die in traffic accidents, and an additional 4.4 million sustain injuries requiring hospitalization in many cases. These are sober statistics, but they’re an essential consideration when planning an interstate move.

And if you have multiple cars? Then, you’ll require the services of a car transport company. Fortunately, hiring professionals will save you time and money. It’ll also mitigate unnecessary stress and risk.

But how do you find a great company to work with? It starts with online research and educating yourself about how car moving works. Here’s an excellent article about car transporters to help you get started.

What if you’re afraid that car shipping will get too expensive? You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the affordability of having a vehicle shipped. Get a direct quote now to see what we mean.

Leaving San Francisco

Are you tired of exorbitant real estate prices, filthy streets, and lack of clean and safe amenities like public transit? Then, it might be time to leave San Francisco.

Fortunately, desirable cities exist in the US. Smaller cities like Las, Vegas, Nevada, and Phoenix, Arizona, come with an escape from high crime, gouging taxes, and exorbitant real estate prices. And they represent just the beginning when it comes to fantastic options.

Follow the checklist above, and you’ll be well-positioned for a drama-free move.

Do you want the inside scoop on shipping your car from state-to-state or coast-to-coast? Keep reading for seven important questions to ask before hiring a car transport company.