As costs rise, alumni may not be able to afford pricey Silicon Valley

March 15, 2018 — by Rahul Vadlakonda

According to the Mercury News, about 44,100 residents of the Silicon Valley left from July 2015 to July 2017, in pursuit of cheaper housing and living conditions in other areas like Oregon and Idaho.

Ever since the early 2010s, the Valley has been experiencing a steep, sustained rise in housing prices which, according to Zillow, has resulted in the median home value in Santa Clara County being about $1.2 million as of February. Pairing this with the continually rising competition for good jobs, it’s not hard to see why people are leaving for more promising areas.

The amount of competition in the area for housing and jobs has proved to be brutal and will likely grow worse over the next few years. Although the Mercury News finds that there has been a deceleration of job creation in the Valley, individuals continue to come to this area, without prior knowledge of how competitive the job market really is or how steep the housing prices.

Despite the median pay for a tech employee in the area being over $100,000, according to the Huffington Post, far above the national household average of around $50,000, according to CNBC, the high housing prices offset the higher pay. As many other parts of the country generally have lower costs of living, a job with a lower salary in a different area would still give workers a better quality of life than in the Silicon Valley.

With this surge of people comes rising prices, a phenomenon that is exemplified by housing costs in cities like Saratoga. According to Zillow, the median housing price in Saratoga is about $2.9 million as of February, a 19.3 percent increase over the past year.

Many families also travel to the Silicon Valley to take advantage of its excellent schooling system. However, for young adults without children, the public education system only means higher property taxes, which further adds to the ridiculous costs of living in the Silicon Valley.

Even apartments, which many younger people in the area have turned too to avoid the expensive nightmare of trying to buy a house here, have ridiculously high rents. In the city of Cupertino alone, monthly apartment rents have hit the range of $3,000 to $5,000, according to Apartment.com.

Instead of alumni aiming to make it here, where an empty wallet might soon be a norm, it is in their best interest to aim for cheaper areas. Cities such as Sacramento, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and San Diego tend to be targets for former Bay Area residents due to costs in those areas being generally lower. With a smaller rate of immigration to these areas, housing prices are cheaper while job prospects are higher.

With an already competitive environment at hand, it seems somewhat less likely for alumni from schools in the Silicon Valley to live here after graduating college. As the rising prices discourage possible hope that is had by many of them, alumni should look for cheaper areas in order to find themselves in a place where success will seem more attainable.