Trulia has published a report on tech-hub housing prices and rents which covers the top 10 tech hubs in the United States. The report lists San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Raleigh, and Austin among the tech hubs. From the report, it is easy to see that tech hub housing prices are too high.
Anyone looking to rent in those tech hubs should be concerned because rent is much much higher than in other cities. As an example, the report suggests if you’re paying $1500 in one city, you’re likely to be paying $2000 in one of the major tech hubs.
If you’re looking to buy, the picture is just as scary with homes costing up to 82% more in tech hubs than in other major cities. It’s especially bad with the price per square foot reaching $410 in San Jose, $577 in San Francisco, and $310 in Oakland.
Other tech hubs are much more reasonable, with the lowest price per square foot being $108 in Raleigh. For comparison, Trulia shows that the average price per square foot for Chicago is $190.
Innovation Can Happen Anywhere, Not Only In The Most Expensive Houses On Earth
According to the report,
Home prices in tech hubs are far above those in other metros, but in part, that’s because the modern tech industry has clustered in housing markets that were already expensive.
Venture capitalists and software developers who have struck it rich in the startup lottery do not have to worry as much about housing prices and rents in the tech hubs. That’s all well and good and we do not begrudge them for that.
However, for all other software developers, we want to make it clear that you do not have to move to the Bay Area or one of the other expensive tech hubs to make a difference in the world, to be innovative, or just to do excellent work. Other cities are more beautiful and more friendly, for example.
There are other places in the world where you can do great work as a software developer. There are many stories of excellent consultants being able to work from anywhere they wish, usually a sunny tropical resort.
The Broader Impact
The broader impact of paying more for a house or paying more in rent is that resources are being taken away from software developers. For every dollar you pay in higher rent, that dollar could have gone to an open source project that you use daily to complete your tasks at work.
Imagine being able to afford to pay other developers to help you work on your side project and turn it into a product. Or being able to support local user groups and developer meetups with pizza dinners.
Paying more in rent or buying an ultra expensive house lines someone else’s pockets. We would prefer it if your cash stays in your pocket or goes toward helping out the communities of software developers out there.