Survey: SF has largest share of people eager to move

18% of SF metro residents looking to relocate, 8% ready to leave town

People are moving out of San Francisco
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

San Franciscans are poised to load up the moving van and leave town.

More residents of the city say they’re likely to consider moving in the next year than denizens of any other major city in the U.S., the San Francisco Chronicle reported, citing a U.S. Census survey.

Nearly one in five residents of Greater San Francisco plan on moving within the next year, according to the American Housing Survey, conducted once every two years by the Census Bureau.

Of the 18 percent of residents who said they plan on moving, 8 percent say they plan on moving to a different city, the largest share of any major metropolitan area.

It’s possible they could consider a move from San Francisco to Oakland or San Jose, which could explain the difference between San Francisco and some other metros in the survey that have only one big city, like New York.

But overall, the survey shows that people in the San Francisco metropolitan area are more likely to consider major moves than other urban areas.

Only Seattle’s metro area came close to San Francisco’s, with 7.2 percent of residents planning to move to another city. While more residents in Seattle say they’re thinking about moving, more planned to move across town than residents of San Francisco.

Other large metros with populations with similar age breakdowns had far fewer residents pondering a major move last year. In New York, 3.2 percent were poised to pack their bags; in Chicago, 5 percent.

Reasons for San Franciscans looking beyond the Peninsula were unclear.

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The city lost nearly 55,000 people, or 6.3 percent of its population, from July 2020 to July 2021, erasing a 10-year, tech-fueled population boom. Many of them were young, white and rich.

Demographers say the region’s high cost of living, driven by an acute housing shortage, has collided with a new large share of remote workers eager to buy roomy, relatively affordable homes elsewhere, according to the Chronicle.

Others point to the city’s unsafe streets and rampant homelessness.

Hamid Moghadam, head of Prologis, the world’s largest industrial landlord, was mugged in June outside his Pacific Heights home. He urged city leaders to focus on public safety, before San Francisco ends up like Detroit or Cleveland.

“I recognize we live in an urban environment, but the level of crime, including violent behavior, has become absolutely unacceptable,” Moghadam wrote in a letter to San Francisco Mayor London Breed, the city’s Board of Supervisors and Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Presidio Bay Ventures founder K. Cyrus Sanandaji said the city’s social contract is broken – and took issue with San Francisco’s inability to rein in crime and homelessness.

“San Francisco is at a tipping point, where public safety, the cleanliness of our streets and the overall quality of life have become the paramount concerns,” Sanandaji said in an essay published last month. “Like many, I am worried about its future.”

— Dana Bartholomew

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