The Bay Area Exodus That Wasn’t

This week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported rents increased in the city in February.

Photo: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The trauma of the past year seemed to spark hyperbole even where it wasn’t quite warranted.

This past summer, news outlets around the country suggested that residents were fleeing the Bay Area with a passion not seen since “Escape from Alcatraz.”

It turned out, most people kept their hearts—and their homes—in San Francisco. In March, the San Francisco Chronicle tweaked the thesis, noting reports of an exodus had been “exaggerated.” Only 3.7% of Bay Area households and businesses filed for address changes between March and November of last year, the Chronicle reported, citing U.S. Postal Service data, and 72% of those who did only migrated as far as a different Bay Area county.

Already, it appears San Francisco may be getting desirable again. This week, the Chronicle reported rents increased in the city in February from a month earlier for the first time since the pandemic began.

Last year’s headlines would have you believe landlords were giving apartments away. Turns out, the median rent for a one bedroom in the city Americans loved to hate in 2020 is still well over $2,000.

Write to Laura Forman at

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the March 6, 2021, print edition as ‘OVERHEARD.’


Leave a Reply