Thursday, February 6, 2014
According to a new report, rents in cities with booming tech industries are climbing faster than in the rest of the country. San Diego has seen some of the steepest increases.
Real estate company Trulia collected housing cost data on 10 tech hubs from around the country. The price of renting a two-bedroom unit grew fastest in startup-saturated San Francisco. But San Diego was a close second. Local rents shot up over 10 percent last year, compared with a national average increase of 3.3 percent.
"I'm not surprised by some of that information," said Efrem Bycer, manager of economic development for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.
"Generally, where economies are doing better, and people want to live, prices are going to go up. The question always is where's the threshold of when it becomes too expensive."
Bycer says tech industry growth may indeed contribute to rising rents. But other factors like housing supply and quality of life could be driving up prices too.
Tensions over tech sector growth and unaffordable housing are front and center in the San Francisco Bay Area. Protesters recently blocked Google's employee buses and many locals feel they're being pushed out of their neighborhoods by "techies."
Bycer says San Diego hasn't seen those sorts of confrontations. But he thinks the city will have to work at figuring out how to make housing more affordable in the emerging "hourglass economy."
"There are more people making higher incomes, but also more people making less. So you have that bifurcation in terms of who can afford to live here."