Silicon Valley exodus: Where’d everyone go?

Workers, companies leave the tech hub behind as work-from-home trend continues

As companies leave Silicon Valley, Austin, Texas is becoming a top destination. (Getty)
As companies leave Silicon Valley, Austin, Texas is becoming a top destination. (Getty)


As the pandemic rages across the U.S., it’s unclear when employees will be able to return to their offices. That’s led to a huge shift in San Francisco real estate that may impact the city for years to come.

While companies try to figure out what the future of work looks like, some of their employees have abandoned the Bay Area, the New York Times reported. Now, those firms are following suit.

Some of the companies that are fueled San Francisco’s most recent tech boom — including Twitter and Airbnb — are trying to get out, or at least substantially decrease their footprint in the city. Twitter and Dropbox have sought to sublease their San Francisco offices as they allow employees to work from home forever. (Facebook has also given employees that option.)

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And Pinterest paid a staggering $90 million to cancel its 490,000-square-foot lease at 88 Bluxome, an in-the-works development project.

The result: The city’s office vacancy rate in the city has jumped to nearly 17 percent.

Moreover, rents in San Francisco have dropped substantially — by 27 percent compared to the same time last year — and Zillow reported more homes for sale in San Francisco than a year ago. And 90 percent of the searches involving San Francisco were for people moving out, the newspaper reported, citing data from MoveBuddha.

Other states have emerged as strong Silicon Valley contenders. Austin, Texas, has proven popular with those leaving the Bay Area; plus, Alphabet, Amazon, Oracle and Facebook have all either expanded their footprints in the city or have plans to.

Elon Musk, the Tesla founder, also said he has moved to Texas.

[NYT] — Sasha Jones