I think this is my top favorite question to answer when I pick up passengers from my rideshare job (not going to mention if I work for Uber or Lyft). I moved to San Francisco back in 1995 when the bridge toll was still $2 and muni bus fares was only 35 cents. So rent must’ve been anywhere from $600-$900 living in downtown area. That was over 20 years ago. So if you can find an apartment or house to rent in the city for $2,000 that’s already a “good deal” for this current year.
“What makes it so expensive to live in SF Bay area?” they asks me.
And Its all really simple. Its a modern Ripple Effect. Its people and what they choose to put their money on. Technology runs the world right now. Facebook, Google, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, iPhone, iMAC, etc. Even our own president can’t keep himself off the twitter with his small twitter fingers. In over the span of 10 years, I’ve seen nothing but full of IT techies move into the city because the IT Tech demand is high here. And with all the “techie” families moving here with their high salary pay, the rent goes up (also there’s no rent control here). It’s not about new people moving into the city, its the companies they work for.
They are creating more work spaces than affordable living spaces.
Over the years, I’ve noticed no change in homelessness. If anything… it has gotten worst. You think a city that has a minimum pay wage of $15/hour is a lot. But that is barely enough to get by living here in SF bay area. Its a competition out here. You got to work harder and got to be wise with how you manage your income. And if you stress easily or get too caught up with the crowd, you can easily find yourself into a drug addiction, mental problems, and worst case; be homeless.
Another passenger I had in the past, is a social worker for the city. And I got to commend them for their choice of career. Because I’m pretty sure they deal with real daily struggles of different type of hurt or mental people; addicts and the homeless. So they must be really challenged and stressed. But also, good enough people to wanting to do better for their own community and the people around them. He mentioned getting close to landing an affordable housing for the homeless but a techie business had offered more $ and bought out the property. So where do they go now? The shelters are always full and have to go through lines in Tenderloin. The tents set up basically anywhere in the city, even in Berkeley, Emeryville, and Oakland. You start to notice them frequently under the bridges and off the sidewalk and we just pass along with our daily lives. Thinking, that will never be me… or maybe it can. One bad thing, one bad choice, and its all shit from there.
If you’re wise, you would know by now that renting long term is just like throwing your money away. Save up ASAP for a down payment or hope you’ve built a really good enough credit in order to get a loan. Rental property is also profitable, Airbnb or rent out the house when you’re done paying it off. Or sell the house completely after 5-10 years when its marketable and have enough profit to buy another property. Profit off the space or live in it. This is one of the main reasons why I wanted to get a tiny house instead, shits too expensive to be living. Got to think of other ways to live comfortably long term, of course. So another good industry to work for; Real estate.
And if you’re just a regular shmegular gal like me who’s just trying to get by with a regular shmegular public job service position, try working for the city or medical field. So even with a shitty hourly pay, you can still get by with decent health benefits. Having a sense of humor and real supportive family/friends helps as well! lol
But for real, I get this question asked so many times. Maybe I can prevent others from thinking of moving here. Might save them the time to think it all through. Because I’m sure they are not “all about this life lol just keeding! No but really. I guess I really don’t know how “expensive” it is to live here because I’ve lived here most my life. I don’t know how “cheap” or affordable it must be to live elsewhere, but others like to tell me and compare. I do love knowing the fact that we can be living in a mansion in Nevada, Texas, or elsewhere with the mortgage up here.
When it comes down to it. I didn’t choose my home/city. I was brought to this city and was basically forced to grow up in this type of community. When people think of San Francisco, they think of all the nice things they see or notice or how “wonderful it must be to live here”. They don’t think of the; 2 bus commutes to school/work in the morning, thin walls in the apartments, overpriced living expenses, no backyard space, meth/crackheads as your neighbors or city dwellers outside in front of your building, and never-ending parking tickets. In order to live here comfortably, you need to be earning more than $80,000 per year. If your choice of occupation/career doesn’t match your choice of lifestyle, you would need to consider getting another job. In the bay area, that’s a pretty norm thing, having two jobs or three, sometimes just having paid gigs here and there if you’re a kick ass bartender (another job position to look into prolly not good for long term though).
And so that’s it. It’s really the choice of your lifestyle that determines how hard you should be working. You want to continue driving that Cadillac, then yes please proceed to pay at least $600 down on lease payments. You want to continue living in that four bedroom house with a lovely spacious front and backyard, then yes please proceed to pay $4,000 in mortgage payments. If you want your child to have the best education/daycare in one of the best cities to live in, then yes please proceed to pay at least $2,000 a month. You’re a tool. A slave to this type of economy. If you know better, you’d humble yourself and don’t let work or $ make up of what’s left of your life existence. Yeah you just want the best life and outcome for all your hard work. But is this lifestyle really worth it?