A recent article in SF Gate revealed the unfortunate truth about what is considered “wealthy” or even “financially comfortable” in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s based on a study from Charles Schwab. The TL;dr of the piece is that nearly everyone really shouldn’t be able to afford to live here.
More than half of the respondent felt as though the cost of living in the Bay Area was too high and affects their ability to reach their financial goals:
But even as people lament the high overall cost of living there is a recognition that the Bay Area economy is thriving:
And that even though the tech industry is a good economic engine it drives up real estate costs which is a bad thing:
Even though some of the national discussion is focused around the anger of people feeling as though they will never be able to dig themselves out of financial hole, the issues that face the Bay Area are largely self-induced. If the Bay Area had built enough housing to keep up with demand folks wouldn’t feel as though they were being pushed out because they were no longer able to afford housing.
But I’ll point out that fixing what ails the Bay Area does not require a wholesale change at the federal level. What it requires is a hard look at how local jurisdictions make it harder (or easier) to ensure that there is some level of affordability. For example the city of Mountain View elected a pro development City Council majority in 2014 after years of having slow growth City Council majorities like the rest of the Bay Area. Until we are ready to make incremental changes on the local level, it’s unlikely that any change — even “revolutionary” change — will make much of a difference.