Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on January 30, 2024
Bay Area Exodus Slows, Tech Workers Stay as San Francisco Rebounds, Redfin ReportsSource: Cullen328, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Bay Area's status as a booming tech hub may be poised for a rebound, as new data suggests that the exodus of homebuyers is slowing. According to a recent Redfin report, only 26,000 homebuyers looked to leave the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland area in the fourth quarter, reflecting a 13% decrease from last year and a 50% drop from pandemic highs in September 2021.

San Francisco, a city once brimming with departure traffic, now witnesses its residents enlivening local hotspots and crowds filling its parks once again. In a statement obtained by Redfin, Ali Mafi, a San Francisco Redfin Premier agent, shared, "If San Francisco could talk, it would quote Mark Twain: 'The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.' The news says it’s a ghost town, but restaurant reservations at foodie hotspots are impossible to get, and Dolores Park is packed on the weekend with residents and tourists. With the big boom in AI and many tech companies requiring in-person work, San Francisco is as alive as ever." Mafi also hinted at a heating real estate market with properties receiving multiple offers.

The recent trends in the Bay Area's housing market indicate a shift, as local employees, many of whom are tech workers, choose to stay put instead of moving to more affordable locations. This change is partly due to tech giants like Apple, Google, and Meta calling their workforce back into the office. The shift sees cities like Sacramento and Austin, previously popular choices for Bay Area escapees, experiencing a 25% dip in incoming movers from the region, as per the fourth-quarter data mentioned in the Redfin report.

Moreover, it would seem the housing prices have moderated somewhat, possibly playing into homebuyers' decisions to stay in the region. San Francisco's median sale price is hovering around $1.3 million, near its lowest point since early 2019. Los Angeles overtook the Bay Area for the first time in more than two years, becoming the top metro homebuyers looking to leave, according to Redfin data, which relies on patterns established by nearly two million users seeking homes nationwide.

Redfin's methodology for determining the migration flow involves analyzing user activity and counting a user as a migrant based on the proportion of homes viewed outside their metro area. For instance, a user is counted as half a migrant if their home searches are equally divided between two metros. Such detailed tracking lays the groundwork for predicting market trends and capturing the pulse of city life post-pandemic.