San Francisco still somewhat appealing to outsiders, Zillow data shows
Although San Francisco lost 7% of its population during the pandemic, the city and its surrounding area has retained some of its appeal to people who live in places with similarly high costs of living, according to Zillow data shared with Axios.
Why it matters: Narratives about crime, homelessness and economic recovery from the pandemic have tainted perceptions of the city.
What's happening: The majority of Zillow page views for San Francisco-area listings came from local residents in Q1 2023, at 63.4%. That's lower than the same time last year (67.9%).
- Yes, but: There was still interest from residents outside of the area — primarily Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
On the flip side: While San Francisco-area residents showed interest in fellow California cities, their Zillow searches also recorded high numbers of page views for Honolulu, Las Vegas, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, among others.
Context: Last year, San Francisco proper reported the sharpest decline in median housing prices from May to November among top U.S. metros.
- The downward trend continued into 2023, but the city still has one of the highest median sale prices among major U.S. cities.
- Meanwhile, the average asking rent in the metro area increased 9.5% from 2021 to 2022 amid rising mortgage rates — even though apartments in the region rank among the smallest in the country.
The big picture: Since 2021, there's been an exodus from high-cost tech hubs along the West Coast — like the Bay Area and Seattle — for more affordable mountain region states and Texas, according to Redfin deputy chief economist Taylor Marr.
- Elizabeth Sharkey, who has worked as an educator in the Bay Area for over 20 years, told Axios San Francisco that teachers are increasingly moving out of California because they simply can't afford housing.
- The state of the market has funneled a homelessness crisis that has local officials scrambling to expand affordable housing projects.
What we're watching: Domestic migration has scaled back, but we're seeing a resurgence of immigration, Marr said.
- And a lot of these folks are looking to move to cities that saw big local population losses.
What's next: Growing environmental concerns will start to influence migration patterns, though affordability will likely still be the No. 1 driver, Marr predicts.
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