March 6, 2000
11:36 AM   Subscribe

Scary calculation of the day: I spend about $750/mo. on rent in LA, and while I was checking the price range on apartments in San Francisco, what I wanted was about $2500 per month. So in LA, I spend $9,000 per year on rent (actually it's half that, since I split it with my girlfriend), but in SF, it'd be $30,000 (!!!). For that cost, I could pay for a house in just a handful of years in any other state. Maybe Salon is right, or maybe they aren't.
posted by mathowie (18 comments total)
No! Please, no more people! I've heard Oakland is affordable, plus cable modems.
posted by milhous at 12:59 PM on March 6, 2000

For $30,000 a year, you could pay for a nice 3-bedroom house 10 minutes from downtown Minneapolis (in a nice, leave-your-door-unlocked-at-night sorta neighborhood) in about 4, 4 1/2 years. Minnesota has its advantages (and its disadvantages - it's just not SF, for example).
posted by jkottke at 1:02 PM on March 6, 2000

I put in my current LA criteria (2b/1b, $1100 max) and got 1 hit. It was probably a typo. I get plenty of listings for that range in LA, just nothing that a) is liveable and b) is still available 5 minutes after the listing goes up.

5 minutes is not hyperbole. New listings for Westside Rentals go up at 4, and I've called places at 4:05 only to be told the apt. is rented. "WHAT?!?" "Yes. They go fast." "AIEEE!"
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 1:07 PM on March 6, 2000

The move wasn't so bad for me. Between moving from Boston where rents are also high (though not obscene as they are in SF) and ditching my car and its payments, insurance, upkeep, parking, etc. expenses, it worked out about even.

Plus, I hated the place I had in Boston and I hated my landlord out there. Buttmunch did nothing about the leaking ceiling, the thrice-busted fridge, the non-woking heat in one bedroom.

And, after a while, I just got used to seeing exhorbitant prices for shoebox apartments.
posted by honkzilla at 3:16 PM on March 6, 2000

I hear Marin County is nice. And a little cheaper than SF. I live in Sonoma County. Even cheaper than SF. The commute, however, sucks.
posted by pb at 3:55 PM on March 6, 2000

for 30K you could have a house and 60 acres in VT. outright.

posted by jessamyn at 5:26 PM on March 6, 2000

The nice thing about SF is that after a year-and-a-half in your obscenely priced apartment, the costs have risen so much that all the sudden you start to think you're living some place affordable. I can't tell you how often I find myself saying to people, "Yeah, I've got a great deal: 1 bedroom, hardwood floors, on the MUNI, two blocks from the Park, *and* garage parking for only $1200!" (I lost my mind a long time ago.)
posted by megnut at 7:30 PM on March 6, 2000

If you live within walking distance of BART or work then you can bag your car, insurance, et cetera, get a decent place, and still save money. Maybe. Hey, I've got 20 acres in Eastern Washington, view, major hiway access to Spokane (it's on the map), skiing within 20 minute drive, airfield within 5. View of valley, woods, hunting, blah blah. All for less than a year's rent! No house tho. VT has the better deals I guess.
posted by greyscale at 7:35 PM on March 6, 2000

I'm pretty sure that 30k in Vermont will get you your own State Representative. Moving from NH to Boston, I'm also in apartment sticker-shock.

Yeah, 300sq.ft. for $975? Where do I sign up?!
posted by othermatt at 10:26 PM on March 6, 2000

A photographer at work sold his house this week. He got $270,000 more than his asking price -- cash. A photographer! He was smart enough to buy seven years ago at the tail end of a recession.This place is crazy.But, deals can be had, especially if you can compromise. I live in tony Palo Alto with a roommate who spends most nights at his girlfriend's. I pay $600.
posted by luke at 11:25 PM on March 6, 2000

Just got back from SF. Friends who bought just a few years ago in the city have doubled their investments. DC is still cheaper and boy is the spring nice!

My sister lives in Gilroy, CA, about 30 miles south of San Jose. Sold her house in Morgan Hill (a little closer to SJ) for about $290K (she bought it about 15 years ago for $99K). Bought her new digs for about $300K in June. An identical house is up for sale at $333K and there's a bidding war going on. Cisco is moving there within a couple years and the whole place is full of houses underconstruction.

I heard a radio report a few weeks back that said that people are commuting to Silicon Valley from San Fran because it's *cheaper* to live than the Valley!!
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 5:50 AM on March 7, 2000

Tell me about it. I just escaped from Sunnyvale. I paid $1750 for a 3 bedroom. Downsides: flat roof that leaked only when it rained, expensive, the neighbors with the Harleys were charmers. Upsides: $1750 was cheap for that area, we could have pets, we could have a garden, we got along with the landlords.

The whole neighborhood was filled with houses of that style which were selling from $350K to $450K. Most of the sales were torn down and replaced with monstrosities that fill the entire lot.

Lived in Morgan Hill from 1990-91 and was paying $700/mo for a 2br townhouse. The commute was awful. A year after I left, they opened the train line.

Am now living in western Mass and looking to buy a house on nearly an acre, 10 minutes from Northampton, for about $100K.

I don't miss Silicon Valley real estate. It pissed me off on a regular basis.

posted by plinth at 6:58 AM on March 7, 2000

interesting. here in houston i've got a 530 sq. ft apartment for $450/mo, and i'm in the *expensive* area, right next to downtown. the perks of living in a smog-laden eyesore.
posted by bluishorange at 7:35 AM on March 7, 2000

Yabbut, isn't the commute a bitch from western Mass to Silicon Valley?
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 8:20 AM on March 7, 2000

I'm glad this conversation came up because I've been looking at moving out of Columbus, OH and to either NYC or San Fran. Basically, the cost of living is so different that I need to save up half a year's salary to be able to feel good about moving there. I have no idea how I'm going to be able to accomplish this other than selling some organs.
posted by jbeaumont at 11:09 AM on March 7, 2000

Selling organs sounds like a great idea. Actually buying them sounds good too. I'd love to help you move to SF or NYC jbeaumont, how much you want for a Hammond?

posted by mathowie at 11:27 AM on March 7, 2000

I'm not sure Matt, but after reading that the Harmonium is also known as the orgue expressif and that it originated with a "particularly large sheng" I think I will stick with that.

Oddly, this page has midi files for the organ, as if that would somehow help you understand what it sounds like.
posted by jbeaumont at 11:48 AM on March 7, 2000

I've lived in the same rent-controlled apartment in SF for six years and pay $750 for a large 1 BR. The key to living here is moving in with a longtime resident and then taking over the lease when they move out.
posted by birdsong at 11:58 AM on March 8, 2000

« Older History lesson time.   |   He has more flair than Ralph Nader Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments