Portland and Seattle: The New San Francisco Suburbs

What do some people do when they can't afford their soaring housing prices of San Francisco? They move to the suburbs. Guess what's constituting as a suburb of San Francisco these days? Cities as far as Portland and Seattle, 600 to 800 miles to the north.

In this age of telecommuting this type of scenario is now an outlandish possibility. Newly transplanted Pacific Northwest residents can keep their high-paying San Francisco jobs while enjoying such perks as a $350,000 home that can accommodate a small family. (Rather than living in a cramped Mission District apartment for the same price.)
"There has been a northward migration for years by Bay Area residents looking for everything from affordable real estate to better public schools," writes The Wall Street Journal. "But moving usually meant giving up their jobs, which are generally more lucrative and plentiful here than in the Pacific Northwest, especially for technology workers."

Now telecommuting has changed all that. More and more companies are loosening their policies on telecommuting, which allows employees to work from a virtual office. Technology now allows workers to stay connected to their companies 24/7 via a laptop. And convenient flights between the Pacific Northwest and San Francisco make it a breeze to pop into the Bay Area office when needed.

Living in a place like Portland or Seattle becomes affordable for middle management and other mere mortals. Check out these figures:
  • San Francisco's median home value in late February was $691,600, compared with $362,800 for Seattle and $236,100 for Portland
  • San Francisco's median home price increased 1.1 percent over the past year, while the average price fell 7.1 percent in Seattle and 9.9 percent in Portland
Simply do the math on the quality-of-life savings. And with that extra money saved, someone who works for Twitter in San Francisco can easily afford to fly down the coast from Portland for meetings. Virgin America has been offering Seattle-to-San Francisco fares of $79 each way. These "nerd-bird" flights are becoming very popular, especially with in-flight Wi-Fi Internet access and power outlets.

See homes for sale in Seattle, Wash. and homes for sale in Portland, Ore. at AOL Real Estate.

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