As many as 89,000 households have left San Francisco since March, the latest sign of an exodus spurred by the pandemic

Avery Hartmans
·3 min read
San Francisco
San Francisco. JOSH EDELSON / Contributor/Getty Images
  • As many as 89,000 households have left San Francisco since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to San Francisco-based site Public Comment.

  • Public Comment worked with the United States Postal Service to track requests for a change of address between March 1 and November 1, 2020.

  • The data showed that 124,131 households requested a change of address during that period with at least 34,803 of those requests for moves to a different neighborhood within San Francisco.

  • That means as many as 89,328 households left the city altogether. Those who left relocated to Las Vegas, Florida, the Denver region, and a city near Portland, Oregon, according to Public Comment.

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As many as 89,000 households have moved out of San Francisco since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

That's according to San Francisco-based site Public Comment, which worked with the United States Postal Service to track requests for a change of address between March 1 and November 1, 2020.

The data showed that 124,131 households — which can mean an individual, a couple, or a family — requested a change of address during the seven-month period, with at least 34,803 of those requests, or 28%, for moves to a different neighborhood within San Francisco. The USPS didn't include data from zip codes with 10 or fewer requests, so that amount could be higher, according to Public Comment.

Still, the data shows that as many as 89,328 households left the city altogether.

Some households relocated to neighboring areas like Marin County and Oakland. For those who decamped the Bay Area entirely, they spread to cities and towns across the country. According to Public Comment, Las Vegas was the No. 1 destination, followed by Palm Beach County, Florida; Seminole County, Florida; the Denver region; and Beaverton, Oregon, a city just west of Portland.

San Francisco has been one metro area most impacted by the secondary effects of the pandemic due to its high rents, home prices, and cost of living. As offices closed down and employees began working from home — some on a permanent basis — the need to live in an expensive city diminished.

Other data has shown something of an exodus from San Francisco. Housing inventory in San Francisco has risen 96% year-over-year, which means there are about twice as many homes listed for sale this year than there were last year, according to a Zillow report from August. At the same time, rents for studio apartments are decreasing: Realtor data from October showed that the median rent price in the city has decreased 30% since this time last year.

Read more: The tech elite are abandoning Silicon Valley in droves because of 'monoculture' and high taxes — here's where they're headed

The migration out of San Francisco may be due, at least in part, to some tech companies shutting their offices and no longer requiring employees to live nearby. In August, anonymous workplace chat app Blind surveyed 3,300 tech workers about living in the Bay Area — the survey found that 15% had already left the area and 60% said they would leave if they could.

Companies like Twitter and Slack have said their employees may work from home permanently, and Facebook is allowing employees to work remotely full-time with their manager's permission. And Stripe is even incentivizing employees to move: Employees will take a pay cut for leaving New York, San Francisco, or Seattle, but they'll also reportedly receive a one-time $20,000 bonus for making the move.

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