Wealth Management

Forget San Francisco: 5 cities where Bay Area techies would rather live

View of homes in San Francisco from Alamo Square park.

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Why buy a house in San Francisco when you can snap up something more affordable in New York?

Bay Area tech workers are showing some sensitivity to the cost of housing in the region, according to a survey from Wealthfront, an investment management firm that provides robo-advisor services.

The firm polled close to 2,700 of its clients through the first five months of this year. All of the participants work in the Bay Area at tech companies.

Close to a quarter of clients think they’ll flee altogether and head for cheaper cities elsewhere in the U.S., including Chicago and Austin, Texas.

These potential buyers have set their sights on affordable dwellings, too, said Kate Wauck, vice president of communications at Wealthfront.

“People weren’t moving to other cities to buy these massive homes for the same price as in San Francisco,” she said. “Rather, they’re choosing more modestly priced homes.”

Participants expected to pay more than $1 million for a two-bedroom home in the Bay Area, Wealthfront found.

In comparison, those who said they were planning to relocate to Austin and Chicago have a price range of less than $400,000 for a three-bedroom house.

Here are the five cities where Wealthfront’s tech investors would rather be.


Photo Taken In United States, Chicago

Zouhair Lhaloui / EyeEm | EyeEm | Getty Images

Head to the Midwest to stretch your salary. The median list price of a home in the Windy City is $349,000.

Chicago is home to mutual fund research provider Morningstar, and it’s an outpost for Salesforce. The city has also set out to encourage additional tech jobs through a public-private partnership known as World Business Chicago.


Thomas Klinder / EyeEm | EyeEm | Getty Images

Home to tech giants Amazon and Microsoft, this northwest city is still on the pricey side, albeit cheaper than Silicon Valley. The median home price there is $699,950, Zillow found.

Los Angeles

Photo Taken In United States, Los Angeles

Ilja Mask / EyeEm | EyeEm | Getty Images

Some Bay Area techies hope to head south for Los Angeles, according to Wealthfront’s study. There, the median home list price is $840,000, Zillow found.

Companies located in the so-called Silicon Beach area include Ring, the home security company now owned by Amazon, and matchmaking service Tinder.

New York

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The median list price for a home in the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area is $525,000, according to Zillow. Within that region, Manhattan commands the highest median list price, which is $1.569 million, the real estate website found.

Tech companies in the area run the gamut, including website building platform Squarespace and streaming service Spotify.


Austin, Texas.

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This Texas city touts affordable housing — at least compared to San Francisco — and zero state income taxes. The median list price Austin is $ 399,990, according to Zillow.

Austin also hosts plenty of tech companies, including Apple and vacation rental service HomeAway. In fact, the area is known as “Silicon Hills.”

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