The Great Bay Area Techodus: They’re going to Austin to ruin that place
Silicon Valley companies are shipping jobs to places like Texas in droves. That isn’t new news, places like the ‘Silicon Hills’ of Austin Texas (God save them), and the ‘Silicon Mountain’ in Denver, have been opening new offices for Bay Area tech for years now. But there is a stark difference these days, because for the first time since the ‘great recession’, people are actually moving out of SF, and this time it’s in droves. So much so that the average rent in SF has gone down by -22%, and rent costs across the peninsula have all plummeted.
Dozens of Tech CEO’s have already fled the Bay Area, many moving to places like Austin, La and Denver, presumably to ruin their housing markets as well. Tech CEO’s typically announce they are moving for ‘cultural reasons’, whether it’s Drop Box, Splunk, or SpaceX…but the real reason is money. It’s always money.
California has some of the highest taxes in the nation and San Francisco one of the most expensive cities for homebuyers. Its median rental price is 2.5 times the national average, making it the most expensive city in the US for renting a two-bedroom apartment. This week a silicon valley staple name Hewlitt Packard let everyone know they are moving their HQ to Houston. SpaceX is building its new factory in Austin, Apple is opening its next billion dollar campus there, and nobody is opening anything in San Francisco.
If you work from home in 2020, and you have no emotional connection to the Bay Area, why stay? You can pay less for the same work somewhere else. And as for the rest of us San Franciscans we say, “Good riddance!”
The San Francisco Bay Area (including San Jose) has a GDP that is bigger than most states in the union. If the Bay Area was it’s own country, it would be the 19th biggest economy in the world. The Bay’s economy is bigger than the entire oil rich economy of Saudi Arabia.
So to those who say, “losing companies means losing jobs, means losing your tax base”, you are correct, but I think we can spare it. The Bay Area has become an insanely rich and increasingly disconnected place. Let other cities get a piece of that tech pie. Let their housing costs soar, let their traffic gridlock, let their small businesses and locals get priced out.
Meanwhile in Austin, the cost of a home has gone up 9% in just one year…and that is during a pandemic. Unfortunately for that town, as long as Tech CEOs keep moving there, it’s only a matter of time before a burrito costs $17 there, too.