Moving to San Francisco
Iconic hilly streets, a stunning coastline, and a city of high culture and fine dining make San Francisco one of the most desirable relocation destinations in the world.
San Francisco is a city of opportunity and optimism surrounded by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, one of the most visited areas of the National Park System in the US.
Living in San Francisco
The city limits form a “seven-by-seven-mile” square, surrounded on three sides by water and, home to a population of 837,442. Of this population more than a third were born outside of the US and over 44% of adults within the city limits have a bachelor’s or higher degree. The city has a reputation for being smart, cultured and diverse.
Source: Flickr | matt
Out of all of the US cities, San Francisco is considered the most LGBT friendly. Home to the first lesbian-rights organisation in the US; the first openly gay person to run for public office; the first openly gay man to be elected to public office; the first openly lesbian judge and the first transgender police commissioner.
The LGBT population has created and sustained political activism in the city for decades and San Francisco hosts one of the largest and oldest gay prides.
Throw into the mix world-class cuisine and wine, literary heritage, beautiful Victorian and modern architecture and of course the much-loved cable car. What’s not to like about San Francisco?
Well, the high cost of housing, the threat of earthquakes and the foggy summers should be taken into consideration before relocating to San Francisco. But all in all it’s a distinct and cultured global city on par with the likes of London and New York.
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It’s no secret that the tech industry is driving the economy in San Francisco with giants like Google, Twitter and Salesforce amongst the top employers.
San Francisco is currently beating Silicon Valley on growth in jobs and is ranked number 11 on Forbes 2014 list for Job Growth. It is ranked 18th by Forbes for Best Place for Business and Career.
Source: Flickr | Neil Kremer
The unemployment rate in San Francisco is currently 4.5%, which is still under the national average. The average salaries for jobs postings in San Francisco are 35% higher than average salaries for job postings nationwide. The average monthly disposable salary is $4,486.58.
According to Trulia, the real estate website, San Francisco is the single least affordable housing market in the US. Rent prices are approximately 67% higher than in Los Angeles and 74% more than San Diego.
The median home value in San Francisco is $993,100; the average rent price in San Francisco is $3,750. According to Zillow, San Francisco home values have gone up 15.6% over the past year, and are predicted to rise 4.8% within the next year..
Source: Flickr | Filipp Solovev
The threat of earthquakes has played a role in the city’s infrastructure development, but some neighbourhoods have still been built on areas of landfill. These areas include Marina, Mission Bay and Hunters Point. Such land is prone to be unstable during earthquakes so you might want to consider this risk before relocating to these areas.
If you are relocating to San Francisco with a job offer under your belt, your biggest problem is going to be finding somewhere to live. The economic boom has had a major impact on the cost and availability of housing, and put pressure on the transport infrastructure. To put it into perspective, 10,617 new residents moved to San Francisco in 2013, but only 2,277 new housing units were added.
Source: Flickr | Vjeran Pavic
Traffic congestion is reported to be getting worse in San Francisco as the economy continues to boom. One saving grace is that the city actually has a good public transport system. The San Francisco Municipal Railway, known as Muni, is the seventh-largest transport system in the US.
Once you have worked out your commute and housing budget, your next big quandary will be which neighbourhood to choose. There are five major districts in San Francisco: Central/downtown, Richmond, Sunset, Upper Market & beyond (south central) and Bernal Heights/Bayview & beyond (southeast).
- Family Friendly: Outer Sunset - Outer Sunset has the highest percentage of homes with children and excellent public schools.
- Hip and Trendy: Hayes Valley - Close to the opera, symphony and theatre district, Hayes Valley is bursting at the seams with hip boutiques and some of the best restaurants the city has.
- Upmarket: Pacific Heights - Pacific Heights hosts more than its fair share of mansions, stunning views of the bay and marina, and upmarket shops and boutiques.
- Up and Coming: NoPa (North Panhandle) - The restaurant of the same has helped to put this leafy neighbourhood on the map.
Source: Flickr | Roman Königshofer
Schools and Education
There are 112 public schools in San Francisco and they are run by the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). According to Great Schools the enrolment process is “fraught with confusion and frequent disappointment”. However if you manage to navigate the system the SFUSD boasts many quality schools.
There are 24 high schools within the SFUSD and according to Best Schools eight of these received gold, silver, or bronze medals in the US News Best High Schools rankings. One of the best high school is Lowell High School, which is also the oldest public high school in the US west of the Mississippi.
Source: Flickr | Katri
A higher number of children than the national average attend private school in San Francisco. The average private school tuition in San Francisco County, CA is $13,740 for elementary schools and $22,742 for high schools.
Universities in San Francisco
According to Forbes, San Francisco ranks 4th in the table for best Education. Home to several different universities and higher education providers, many students flock to San Francisco State University from elsewhere in California.
Though technically not in San Francisco, the famous UC Berkeley, one of the top universities in the country, is across the bay from the city. University of California, San Francisco, which is actually in San Fran, is ranked among the top-five medical schools in the US. UCSF is also a major employer, second to the city and county government.
San Francisco State University awards undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees in more than 100 disciplines.
San Francisco is also home to the largest institute of art and design in the US, the Academy of Art University, which has an enrollment of 13,000 students.
Cost of Moving
The average shipping cost of moving for a family of three from the following cities will cost approximately:
|Sao Paulo||$3,492 USD|
|Hong Kong||$3,741 USD|
A Day in the Life
Don’t leave the house without a sweater! Even if the day starts warm and sunny the fact that San Francisco is surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean means that weather can change rapidly throughout the day. The good news is that the city is made up of many microclimates so if it is chilly in Bay Street, for example, you could stroll a short distance south to North Beach, to enjoy the sun, protected by Russian Hill.
Once you have left the house, start the day with brunch. San Francisco is really, really good at brunch. Head to Maven in Lower Haight and start off proceedings with a Hires’ Hand cocktail (rye, maple, root beer spice, charred rosemary) paired with a Red Kuri squash soup. That should set you up for the day.
Source: Flickr | Lady May Pamintuan
Next head over to the California Academy of Sciences, which houses an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum and a 4-storey tropical rainforest. The museum was rebuilt in 2008 and covers 400,000 square feet. You will leave wiser and more connected to the natural environment on your doorstep.
Time for lunch! Take your pick from cuisine from all over the world. San Francisco is known as America’s best restaurant city and if you can’t decide between French, Italian, Malaysian, Greek, Russian or a fusion of the lot, you could always stick with a good old-fashioned burrito. Just what is it about SF and burritos? They are a treasured food, and San Francisco is home to its own version, the Mission Burrito.
You will probably need to walk off that burrito and luckily in San Francisco the hilly streets are perfect for working off excess calories. Take a walk around Chinatown, the largest outside of Asia, and get lost in the bustle of shops and galleries.
By the evening you will probably be ready for a fix of culture and you won’t be disappointed in San Francisco. Both the opera and ballet are internationally renowned companies, and playwrights such as Tom Stoppard and Sam Shepherd introduce their works in San Francisco.
Finish off your day with a walk to Embarcadero to watch the Bay Bridge (the less famous one) LED show which organisers describe as the world’s largest LED show.