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As San Francisco goes, so goeth Metro Vancouver?

Almost 16,000 people left the U.S. tech hub because of affordability challenges, report says
San Francisco
High housing prices and taxes see thousands of people choosing to leave San Francisco, Redfin says.

Housing prices and taxes are driving residents out of San Francisco in droves — and their exodus is even driving up the prices of U-Haul rentals, Business Insider is reporting.

Citing data from Redfin, the tech capital saw a net loss of 15,849 residents — the most of any city in the United States.

The resident drain was 24 per cent higher than the second-place city, New York.

“People leaving coastal hubs in search of affordability has been a consistent trend for the last five years,” says Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson when the report was issued in February. “Late last year there was a twist. Many of the popular migration paths that we saw users exploring yielded tax benefits along with increased affordability.”

So many people are leaving that it now costs $2,000 to rent a U-Haul from San Jose to Las Vegas — even though it costs only $100 to do the trip in reverse, Business Insider says.

The story also quotes the public-relations firm Edelman, which says that almost half of Bay Area residents might leave the area.

Business Insider says that while the cost of living in San Francisco has always put pressure on people, “the recent tax reform has made life even more expensive for residents, pushing entrepreneurs (and their ideas) toward fast-growing metros.”

Ironically, technology is making it easier for people to work remotely from different cities. The article mentions Slack, the Vancouver-based company, that makes communicating with co-workers easy, even when your cubicles are next to each other (as the Courier can attest.)

The New York Times is reporting that other cities in America are trying to lure tech companies and start-ups away from the Bay Area.

“I’m a little over San Francisco,” said Patrick McKenna, the founder of High Ridge Venture Partners, told the New York Times during a bus tour through the Midwest. “It’s so expensive, it’s so congested, and frankly, you also see opportunities in other places.”

Here in British Columbia, the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission is boasting that the Okanagan is the province’s fastest-growing metropolitan area. Its website boasts an average commuting time of 15 minutes, extensive bike paths and an abundance of wineries.

Housing starts were up 63 per cent in 2017 compared to the previous year.

The district’s median home price is $619,500 while the average cost per square foot of Vancouver condo is nearly $1,000. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the Okanagan is $1,151 compared to the City of Vancouver’s “affordable” two-bedroom rental pegged at $2,505.