Skyrocketing housing cost causing South Bay exodus

The skyrocketing price of housing is causing an exodus of South Bay residents. For the first time, more people are leaving, rather than moving to Silicon Valley. 

The difference is small, and not enough to tip the housing affordability scales in favor of first time home buyers. But it does signal a new demographic, as old and young head out because they’ve been priced out. 

Jeff Heuser has lived in San Jose for 40 years, and recently came to the painful conclusion that there will not be a 41st.

“It’s quiet an emotional decision. But for me, I had a line that I was approaching,” said Heuser, as he packed boxes and did some painting in his kitchen.

That line is financial, brought on by rising monthly HOA dues for his two-bedroom condo. Add in property taxes, and Heuser said he’s had enough.

“For me, it was evaluating the value that I get for my HOA dues, the value that I get from my property taxes, and what happens with that money,” said Heuser.

A new report from finds this is far from an isolated case. Of California’s top 10 counties with declining populations, Santa Clara ranks first, San Mateo second. NorCal makes up four of the top five spots. 

“Now the numbers aren’t huge, but it’s a huge shift that people are leaving. About 42 people a month are leaving Silicon Valley,” said Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

San Jose resident Kendrick Glynn, and his wife, are part of the out migration. In town just two years, they’re now moving south, where it’s cheaper.

“If you want to save, it’s extremely tough to save out here. You’re almost living paycheck-to-paycheck,” said Glynn.

Cost of housing is most commonly cited as the reason for people leaving. From 2010 to 2016, county officials say there was a 29 percent increase in job creation, but only a four percent increase in new housing. The squeeze sends many people elsewhere, while creating opportunities for new arrivals.

“The majority of the people moving into the area are foreign nationals. Many of them are from India, Vietnam and china. So we are seeing for everyone who leaves, there’s plenty of people coming in to take their place,” said Sandy Jamison, a broker-owner of Tuscana Properties in Morgan Hill.

For that reason, the problem of high cost housing won’t be solved anytime soon. The region is on a building binge, but relief won’t come until sellers such as Jeff Heuser have started a new life, away from California.