The Most (and Least) Affordable Tech Cities

Source: Trulia

Seattle was one of the most affordable places for a tech worker to live in 2015, measured by housing costs as a portion of income, new census data show. The least affordable metro area is Los Angeles, where software engineers paid higher median rents than those in Seattle but earned 29% less.

Despite the Bay Area’s costly housing, it’s closer to Seattle than LA as an affordable option for software engineers. That’s because the median tech salaries of Bay Area tech employees nearly doubled between 2000 and 2015, virtually matching the near doubling in monthly rents in the same period. As a result, tech workers devote about a quarter of their salaries to rent in the Bay Area, a percentage that’s considered healthy. The data was recently released by the American Community Survey, and compiled for The Information from real estate firm Trulia.

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The data shows that housing costs “can really hollow out the city” of teachers, police and retail workers, even as tech workers are still living comfortably, said Jeremy Liew, a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners who has invested in Los Angeles-based Snapchat and San Francisco-based Stitch Fix and Affirm. “We need to build more housing units and stop being so precious about our skyline and views I think.”

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