Homeownership Is Elusive Even for Tech Workers

Last week, we revealed that 61 percent of tech workers want more money because they believe they’re underpaid. We briefly mentioned one possible reason for this: Many tech workers are based out of Silicon Valley and San Francisco, the region with the highest cost of living in the United States.

According to the California Association of Realtors (CAR), a house in San Francisco now runs over $1.5 million on average and only 12 percent of San Francisco households were able to afford a median-priced single family home at the end of 2017. In nearby San Mateo County, 14 percent of households could afford similarly priced homes in the area. The number was 15 percent in Santa Clara County, home of the Silicon Valley. For context, CAR says that the statewide affordability rating was 29 percent for single family homes and 56 percent nationwide in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Even with an above average compensation that can total over $300,000 annually, tech workers have voiced that it’s difficult to own a home in the Bay Area, and according to a Bay Area council survey, 46 percent of residents plan to leave the area soon.

Because our app users are made up of many Bay Area tech employees, we wanted to find out where they stand in relation to the housing statistics listed above. From July 24 through July 28, we presented the following statement on the Blind app:

I can afford to buy a house in the Bay Area.

A) Yes

B) No

C) Does not apply / Don’t live in the Bay Area

The survey results below focus on 13 Bay Area tech companies. Each had more than 100 employees who participated in the survey.

Cisco employees, Oracle employees, eBay employees, Intuit employees, Apple employees, Intel employees, Airbnb employees, Google employees, LinkedIn employees, Uber employees, Lyft employees, Salesforce employees, Facebook employees, tech workers home ownership, bay area housing prices

Here are some key takeaways from the company results:

The majority of total participants (59.33 percent) say they can’t afford to buy a house in the Bay Area (answer B).

Over 50 percent of surveyed employees at all 13 companies say they can’t afford to buy a house.

Cisco has the highest percentage (72.07 percent) of employees who say they can’t buy a house, followed by eBay (70.63 percent).

Even the majority of surveyed Facebook and Google employees are struggling to own a home, but the two companies rank lowest for answer B with 51.74 and 51.39 percent respectively.

If homeownership is elusive for software engineers and product managers working at Google and Facebook, then that doesn’t leave much hope for the majority of Bay Area residents wanting to buy a home here. It’s not a surprise then that residents are moving away to more affordable cities. People have been leaving the area in record numbers since early this year, causing a shortage of U-Haul trucks. With an increase in demand and shortage in supply, prices for moving vehicles soared up to $2,000. Living in the Bay Area is costly but apparently so is leaving it.

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