6 Reasons Why You Might Think Twice About Moving to San Francisco

San Francisco tends to be a city of contrasts where paper millionaires mix among the homeless, while lifelong residents attempt to adjust to the ever-changing political and social dynamics. It’s no secret that it’s a pricey place to live, but that doesn’t stop hipsters from lining up for a slice of $9 avocado bread at their favorite weekend hotspot.

Think you can handle living in SF? Consider these potential deal-breakers before you do.

1. It’s oppressively expensive.

San Francisco is consistently ranked a close second to New York City as one of the most expensive cities in the United States. This really isn’t something to brag about, particularly when the cost of living is nearly 93 percent above the national average. Ouch.

So, if you want to move to San Francisco now, be ready to pay top dollar for a rental or to buy a house. According to a recent Kiplinger article, the average rent for an apartment is now $4,023 a month, and the median home value is $858,800. Double ouch. A big chunk of The City’s 870,887 population is under rent control, which leads to folks living in often-subpar environments that the landlords won’t update. That said, some can look past their walls’ peeling paint when they have a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

2. You might not make enough.

Of course, you gotta bring in the bucks to afford the housing prices. Kiplinger said the median income in San Francisco is $87,701, while Business Insider pegged it at $96,677. Either way, a solid income is key.

The upside to the high cost of living is that San Francisco’s unemployment is at a mere 3 percent (Kiplinger), so those in tourism, finance, tech, and other hot industries might just find the right financial fit to swing a move here.

3. Seasons? What seasons?

If you don’t like to shop for clothes, San Francisco might be the ideal city for you. With consistently mild temps, locals can get away with wearing pretty much the same wardrobe year-round. The lack of seasons shifts a bit in the summer when the fog rolls in to blanket the city causing a cooler atmosphere. Overall, the 60-something average temperatures, calls for layers and patience. “Summer” in San Francisco lasts for about two weeks in the fall. If you want warmth or seasons, you gotta hop back in the moving truck.

4. The big one is coming.

San Francisco’s great unknown is when the next big earthquake will strike. At least hurricane- and tornado-prone cities have some warning before possible disaster hits. Experts say we’re overdue for a significant shake as seismologists closely monitor the Hayward Fault and San Andreas Fault. The potential loss of life and structures could be significant, since the densely populated Bay Area is home to around 7.68 million people.

The last big earthquake happened during the 1989 World Series and registered a whopping 6.9 magnitude. So, if The City’s high dollar signs haven’t deterred you, be sure to pack an earthquake emergency kit to bring with you.

5. Dating is a disaster zone.

Pushing high rents and weather aside, you gotta have time to relax. Cue your dating life. San Francisco is rich with all types of folks – free spirits, serious intellectuals, artsy types, movers and shakers, and everything in between – all jammed into a 7×7 square mile space. So, it should be easy to find a match, right? Think again.

For the most part, people are working pretty darn hard here in often high-pressure jobs leaving few hours in the day for dating. And, although, dating apps make it easy to explore your options, some folks choose to “keep looking, there’s someone better” even if a photo catches their eye.

Plus, if you’re living with someone and you break up, it creates a double whammy of bad news – someone’s going to lose his or her rent controlled apartment and will have to look for a new crash pad ($$$) while mending his or her heart.

6. It might even be easier to find a mate than it is to find a parking spot.

Looking for parking in San Francisco can be a real headache for locals and tourists alike. Some apartment buildings offer garage or covered parking for an extra cost. If you can swing that, along with your rent, you’ll be breathing easier. But, you might be stressed out if you drive to work and have to look for parking after getting home late. If you park your car on the street as a local, you gotta make sure you have an up-to-date street parking permit.

Overall, parking is at a premium here, and The City now has started charging some hefty prices at the meters during peak times. So, savvy tourists should triple check the meter prices and the street signs to be sure they are in a legal spot. There are plenty of parking apps to help ease the pain of finding parking too. Of course, you don’t necessarily need a car — there is always public transportation, Uber, or Lyft.

Janet Haney