A $100K Salary In The Bay Area Means You Can Afford Rent An Hour-Plus Drive From San Francisco

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Written by Dana Sanchez
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San Francisco homes. Photo: Ken Lund/flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenlund/

For the 2 million-plus people who work in San Francisco or the South Bay, it’s a long commute.

Rents in Silicon Valley have risen so much since 2012 that apartments, condos and townhomes are unaffordable in 72 percent of ZIP codes in the nine-county area.

On an income of $100,000 a year, you shouldn’t be spending more than 30 percent of your pretax pay on rent, according to financial advisers. That amounts to about $2,500 a month, Mercury News reported.

Rent in San Francisco

Rent in San Francisco’s most affordable ZIP code, around San Francisco State University, is $3,450.

There may be a tiny glimmer of hope in sight. Bay Area home prices fell in March year-over-year for the first time in seven years, according to a report by research firm CoreLogic, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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The last time prices fell year over year was in March 2012. Then they rose for 83 consecutive months.

Estimated population growth in the Bay Area slowed dramatically in the past two years compared with the previous six, according to census data. The region’s astronomical housing prices are at least partly to blame, according to the Chronicle.

But rents have risen so sharply since 2012 that rental units in even the most affordable neighborhoods are increasingly hard to come by — even for those earning close to the region’s median household income. 

So where can you rent if you work in San Francisco and earn $100,000?
Solano County, 30 to 60 miles from San Francisco and jammed with traffic, where homes in the North Bay city of Vallejo and parts of Fairfield rent for about $1,600 to $1,800 — a bargain compared with San Francisco. 

Or Vacaville, a biotech hub about 50 miles from Oakland with an Amtrak stop that gets very hot in the summer, or even farther to the farm town of Dixon, near UC Davis. Both have neighborhoods with rents of $1,700 or less.


About Dana Sanchez

Dana Sanchez was born in South Africa and is a U.S. citizen. After working in advertising, she went back to school and earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. As a business writer, she won regional and national writing awards. As editor of a daily newspaper, she coordinated staff writers, freelancers and photographers in the fast-paced environment of daily news. Dana was an editor at Moguldom Media Group for four years, helping to build and manage a team of staff and freelance writers. She works now on Moguldom.com for Nubai Ventures. A long-distance hiker and cyclist, she writes about the business of technology.