Business & Real Estate

Nearly half of Bay Area residents want out, poll shows. The reason why is no surprise

'If we don't get started...we will have more than a crisis on our hands'

State Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and other lawmakers supported a package of bills that seeks to encourage more affordable housing construction in California.
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State Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and other lawmakers supported a package of bills that seeks to encourage more affordable housing construction in California.

The idea of a Bay Area "exodus" is no joke, and appears to be growing more vivid and real with each year.

A poll released Sunday by a local advocacy group showed that 46 percent of Bay Area residents surveyed said they want to move out of the area within the next few years. That number is up from 34 percent in 2016 and 40 percent last year in the same poll.

The survey was a joint effort by advocacy group Bay Area Council and public opinion data firm EMC Research. The poll involved 1,000 registered voters in the Bay Area.

The reason for the urge to leave might be pretty obvious, at least to anyone knowledgeable on California: It's just too expensive. Cost of living (45 percent) and housing prices (27 percent) were the main reasons cited among the 461 residents who said they want out.

On top of that, 42 percent of survey respondents called housing costs/availability the most important problem facing the area, beating out traffic (18 percent) and poverty/homelessness (14 percent).

They may be the highest there, but housing prices aren't just booming in the Bay Area. A statewide poll conducted by UC Berkeley last year showed 56 percent of voters have considered moving due to the housing crisis — and 1 in 4 of those residents said they'd leave the state. Some are already making good on that promise.

But of those 461 hopeful movers, 24 percent said they'd likely stay in California, and 5 percent indicated they'd likely move to Sacramento.

Recent data confirm that Sacramento is experiencing its highest rate of domestic migration in over a decade. While Los Angeles County sent the most residents to the state's capital in 2016, Santa Clara, Alameda and Solano counties took the next three spots.

Bay Area median home prices hit $850,000 in April, The Mercury News reported based on data from real estate firm CoreLogic. In Sacramento, that number has trended more toward $300,000.

Many residents in the Bay Area Council survey expressed pessimism for the overall economic health of the Bay Area. About 60 percent said they think an economic downturn is coming within the next five years.

The Bay Area Council is a public policy advocacy group. Most of its recent publications are related to the topics of housing prices and real estate.

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