‘It’s housing, stupid:’ Most Bay Area residents plan to split

Survey finds 90 percent concerned about housing, cost of living

‘It's housing, stupid:’ Poll shows over half of Bay Area residents plan to split
San Francisco (iStock)

Most Bay Area residents say they plan to leave the region in the next few years — or, at least that’s what they told a survey by a San Jose think tank.

Joint Venture Silicon Valley questioned more than 1,600 residents in five Bay Area counties and found 56 percent are eyeing an exit, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. A 2018 survey of all nine counties in the Bay Area showed 46 percent of residents were considering moving.

While California wildfires and remote work opportunities surely contributed to the increase, Joint Venture Silicon Valley CEO and president Russell Hancock cited one factor in particular.

“It’s housing, stupid,” Hancock told the Chronicle. “That is driving almost all of the results we see in this poll.”

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The latest survey, which was conducted by Embold Research in September, found that 90 percent of residents in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties have concerns about housing and the cost of living.

While 71 percent of those polled said the Bay Area is a “good” or “excellent” place to live, only 11 percent said they were optimistic about buying a home in the area. Additionally, less than half of those polled said they believe the region is “moving in the right direction.”

The percentage of residents who tell pollsters they plan to move is typically higher than the percentage that actually do. Still, changes in survey results help gauge sentiment in an area. And few deny that housing costs are costing California some of its once-surging population.

In March, a study by the California Policy Lab found that 267,000 people left California from October to December 2020, while only 128,000 moved into the state.

The future of the Bay Area’s population depends on several external factors that are hard to predict, such as the number of new, young people who will move to the area and whether local and state officials raise limits on housing development. Rents in Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose have been back on the rise recently after price declines triggered by the pandemic.

[SFC] — Victoria Pruitt 

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