It was a trend we were the first to forecast in March: people leaving densely populated cities to escape the coronavirus and fear of rising crime rates.
Almost half of San Francisco-area dwellers able to work from home would like to leave the Bay Area, according to poll by Zapier, a tech company supporting remote work.
Many are leaving already.
Home sales in Lake Tahoe, an outdoor vacation spot three hours from the Bay Area, have doubled this summer compared to last, one real estate firm said. In July alone, the agency sold 431 houses, compared to 167 in July 2019, many on the basis of a virtual showing. One house the agency listed had 17 showings in one day; another brought a bid $70,000 above the asking price.
One couple left a 700-square-foot San Francisco apartment for a four-bedroom Lake Tahoe house; their mortgage payment now is what they paid in rent in the city.
Several families with vacation homes in Lake Tahoe are turning them into primary residences, the real estate agency reported, based on new school enrollments in the five Tahoe-area counties.
At the same time, the number of houses for sale in San Francisco has doubled, compared to last summer, and the average listing prices has slumped 4.9 percent while, nationally, prices have bumped up 4.3 percent. Residents complain that stores and restaurants have closed, property crimes have risen, and 18,000 homeless people have flooded onto the streets.
“It’s gotten to a point where it doesn’t feel safe any more,” one fleeing resident said.
The $250,000 U.S. median home price would buy a 269-square-foot condo in San Francisco, compared to an 1,100-square-foot home in Austin, TX, or 2,300 square feet in Houston.
Andrew Edelman, his wife, and their four children moved from a 1,400-square-foot home in San Carlos, a San Francisco suburb, to Austin, doubling their square footage while cutting their house payment by a third.
“Living in the Bay Area… I don’t know how we did it,” Edelman said.
Metropolis Moving, a New York City moving company, reported requests for quotes for out-of-state moves ranging as far as Boston and Washington, D.C. tripled in May and June compared to a year earlier, and in July rose 165 percent year-on-year.
In July, home sales in Putnam and Duchess counties north of the city jumped 35 and 19 percent, respectively, compared to the same month in 2019.
Across New Jersey, home sales rose by a third in June and July against the previous year’s volume, dropping the number of available homes by 40 percent, according to the Otteau Group, a real estate analysis firm.
TRENDPOST: Some 54 percent of stores in San Francisco that were open before California’s politicians imposed draconian lockdown rules are now closed, according to the city’s chamber of commerce.
About 1,300 stores have closed, leaving 1,200 in business.
The city’s unemployed number about 193,000, or four times as many as during the worst of the Great Recession.

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