“…less than $700K in the Bay Area.”
That’s what a caller said on Car Talk this morning–an airline pilot who lives in Alaska, has been transferred to fly out of San Francisco, and has decided to live in a van rather than trying to buy or rent a place…because, you know, “you can’t buy a place in the Bay Area for less than $700,000.”
To which my wife and I both impolitely responded, “Bullshit.”
Since the pilot plans to spend most of her free time back in Alaska, there’s no plausible reason for her to buy or rent in San Francisco itself: SF is a long way from SFO.
Housing prices around SFO ain’t cheap–but they’re nowhere near as crazy as she seems to imply. In practice, of course, for this kind of reassignment, she should rent, not buy–and rentals in San Bruno (adjacent to SFO) or South San Francisco (nearby, but maybe a 15 minute commute instead of 10 minutes) run as low as $950/month for a house, much less an apartment–I saw $985/month for a 1,330 square foot 3&1 house on Zillow. That may not be peanuts, but it’s not OMG HOW CAN ANYBODY AFFORD THIS! either.
As for houses, here’s what I see in San Bruno just looking casually:
$299K for a 2&1. $339K-$354K for other 2&1s. $410K for a 1,000 sq.ft. 3&1. $495K for what looks like a really nice 1,544 sq.ft. 3&2–that’s substantially larger than the house we lived in for the last 11 years…
In South San Francisco, I see $395K for a 1,500 sq. ft. house, $568K for a 2,220 4&3–that’s a pretty big house.
Those are just places that would represent really easy commutes. The “Bay Area” covers a lot more ground, including Oakland and Richmond, where $700K would go a LONG way. Neither one is Detroit-cheap, but neither one is all that expensive.
No real significance here. I’ve been amused by claims that everything costs a fortune out here, not just real estate–one post I saw claimed that even milk was super-expensive. Well, the daily price for gallon jugs of milk at our neighborhood market is $2.78. Same price at Safeway; your choice of whole, 2%, or skim. That’s the gallon price. Is it really that much cheaper where you live? (Ordinary bread? Frequently on sale at $0.80/loaf for Safeway 1.5lb. loaf. Is that super high?)