Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA
Reload this Page >

Bay Area in California where is a good spot to live?

Bay Area in California where is a good spot to live?

Old Jul 1st 2003, 7:50 pm
  #1  
British/Irish(ish) Duncs
Thread Starter
 
Duncs's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2003
Location: Cambridge MA, via Mississippi and Belfast Northern Ireland.
Posts: 700
Duncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant future
Default Bay Area in California where is a good spot to live?

Planning to relocate in fall to USA from UK. Originally planned for Boston but having second thoughts so reseaching the next choice which is San Francisco Bay area.

Has anyone any experience of living in this area? Where is a good spot to look for rental apartments? What is commuting actually like here? What is the job market like right now? Bad i assume like everywhere else.

any comments useful,

thanks,

Duncan
Duncs is offline  
Old Jul 1st 2003, 8:58 pm
  #2  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Arizona
Posts: 3,113
Pimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond repute
Default

One word=Expensive. I have a friend that lives in San Francisco and one that used to live there. Be prepared for a high cost of living. This is in the city though, not sure what the rest of the bay area is like?

Around 4 years ago, my friend was living down by the beach on Great highway in a small studio apartment that you'd have difficulty swinging a cat in. The rent was close to $900 a month
Pimpbot is offline  
Old Jul 1st 2003, 9:03 pm
  #3  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Arizona
Posts: 3,113
Pimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond reputePimpbot has a reputation beyond repute
Default

There transit system is pretty good. The Bart and the Muni are both good systems with plenty of routes. Once again, I have never lived there, but have friends who do and I have visited the city 10+ times over the last few years.
Pimpbot is offline  
Old Jul 2nd 2003, 3:06 am
  #4  
Pagan Sex God
 
Patrick's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2002
Location: Living in Oblivion
Posts: 3,668
Patrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond repute
Default

I have been out there on business a couple of times and it crossed my mind to transfer out there until I looked at the cost of living. You cant buy a house for under a million and you cant rent a trash can for under a K. The commuter belt has moved further and further out of the city and everything is congested in the morning and evening. Unless you get offered a job I would consider it carefully. Boston is mega expensive but nowhere near that of SF and its surrounding area.

The other problem with SF is that Silicone Valley is hurting really bad at the moment so the job market there is really bad, there are already a large amount of people in the area out of work so think carefully

Patrick
Patrick is offline  
Old Jul 2nd 2003, 9:58 pm
  #5  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Mar 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,296
Taffyles has a reputation beyond reputeTaffyles has a reputation beyond reputeTaffyles has a reputation beyond reputeTaffyles has a reputation beyond reputeTaffyles has a reputation beyond reputeTaffyles has a reputation beyond reputeTaffyles has a reputation beyond reputeTaffyles has a reputation beyond reputeTaffyles has a reputation beyond reputeTaffyles has a reputation beyond reputeTaffyles has a reputation beyond repute
Default

Originally posted by Patrick
I have been out there on business a couple of times and it crossed my mind to transfer out there until I looked at the cost of living. You cant buy a house for under a million and you cant rent a trash can for under a K. The commuter belt has moved further and further out of the city and everything is congested in the morning and evening. Unless you get offered a job I would consider it carefully. Boston is mega expensive but nowhere near that of SF and its surrounding area.

The other problem with SF is that Silicone Valley is hurting really bad at the moment so the job market there is really bad, there are already a large amount of people in the area out of work so think carefully

Patrick

I heard a financial whizz on the radio the other day saying that Silicone Valley is going to be a ghost town within 15 years...
I love SF and have friends there but it is really expensive now to live. California is really hurting at the moment- what's the update on that, anyone know? Last I heard they couldn't come to an agreement and may go bankrupt unless they are baled out federally.
Taffyles is offline  
Old Jul 3rd 2003, 3:47 am
  #6  
BE Forum Addict
 
Dekka's Angel's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,350
Dekka's Angel is an unknown quantity at this point
Default

Right now, Silicon Valley is very cheap for Silicon Valley.

This means that a lot "normal people" with "regular jobs" (or high-wage people who have lost their jobs but have been unable to find one for upwards of year who have used up their unemployment benefits) are fleeing in droves. Or being pushed out through eviction/foreclosure.

What this means at a practical level is that there are "deals" compared to before. But I personally can't say things are "cheap". For example, the 2-bedroom cute townhouse you would have had to pay $2,500 a month in rent for in a "legoland complex" (what Dekka calls PUD's) in 2001 you can now get at a steal price of $1,500. My ex husband actually has a really nice one in San Jose. Renting a house is still around $2,250-$3,000.

Even from my Peninsula town of East Palo Alto (which is considered the "ghetto" because this is where most of us Black people live, although Latinos are about equal to us in population now; large concentrations of Mexican folk live in Redwood City and San Jose and Asian up in Daly City/Millbrae/San Mateo) a house is a $450,000+investment but the average working family brings home only around $35,000 a year. If you move to the "better" (read: exclusively white and Asian) areas, you are looking at $750K - $1M minimum for the same home I have (except mine is on 1/3 of an acre and theirs is on a postage stamp), which BTW I paid $98,000 for 18 years ago. Despite the depression-level economic state, homes are still appreciating more than 5% a year, as of April, so there aren't any homebuying bargains to be had.

Most families in SV who are looking for "better areas" or, these days, "affordable places to live", get around the high cost of housing by taking on 2-4 hour/day commutes. No I'm not kidding. There are people who live just outside Sacramento who drive down here (100 miles) to work every day. Just so that they can have an "affordable home". Commuting is a fact of life. The gridlock on the main highways, 101 and 280 and 880, is much better than 2 years ago, but it can still get rough. Bart is getting better, Caltrain is pretty good, and Valley Transit is OK. But other than Bart, all suffer from scheduling that New Yorkers like me riot over (I refuse to wait more than 10 minutes for a bus or a train, since I grew up never having to wait longer than that, even at night) so mass-transit takes a lot of time.

If you do not have a job lined up, however, I cannot say that I recommend moving to SF Bay area at this time. I'm not kidding about highly skilled folk -- including attorneys -- being out of work for a year plus at this point. Things are very bad, and many people are fleeing.

BUT if you have your financial house in very good shape and can ride out the storm for 6 months to a year, I think that Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay Area is the most fun, most energetic, most diverse, and most beautiful weather-wise part of the whole state.

Plus as of tonight, the State of California still has no budget. This happens every year, but this year we have a $38M deficit, the nation's worst bond rating, and can get no more funds on credit. This is going to be Very Interesting.

Last edited by Dekka's Angel; Jul 3rd 2003 at 3:49 am.
Dekka's Angel is offline  
Old Jul 3rd 2003, 1:54 pm
  #7  
British/Irish(ish) Duncs
Thread Starter
 
Duncs's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2003
Location: Cambridge MA, via Mississippi and Belfast Northern Ireland.
Posts: 700
Duncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant future
Default

Originally posted by Dekka's Angel
Right now, Silicon Valley is very cheap for Silicon Valley.

This means that a lot "normal people" with "regular jobs" (or high-wage people who have lost their jobs but have been unable to find one for upwards of year who have used up their unemployment benefits) are fleeing in droves. Or being pushed out through eviction/foreclosure.

What this means at a practical level is that there are "deals" compared to before. But I personally can't say things are "cheap". For example, the 2-bedroom cute townhouse you would have had to pay $2,500 a month in rent for in a "legoland complex" (what Dekka calls PUD's) in 2001 you can now get at a steal price of $1,500. My ex husband actually has a really nice one in San Jose. Renting a house is still around $2,250-$3,000.

Even from my Peninsula town of East Palo Alto (which is considered the "ghetto" because this is where most of us Black people live, although Latinos are about equal to us in population now; large concentrations of Mexican folk live in Redwood City and San Jose and Asian up in Daly City/Millbrae/San Mateo) a house is a $450,000+investment but the average working family brings home only around $35,000 a year. If you move to the "better" (read: exclusively white and Asian) areas, you are looking at $750K - $1M minimum for the same home I have (except mine is on 1/3 of an acre and theirs is on a postage stamp), which BTW I paid $98,000 for 18 years ago. Despite the depression-level economic state, homes are still appreciating more than 5% a year, as of April, so there aren't any homebuying bargains to be had.

Most families in SV who are looking for "better areas" or, these days, "affordable places to live", get around the high cost of housing by taking on 2-4 hour/day commutes. No I'm not kidding. There are people who live just outside Sacramento who drive down here (100 miles) to work every day. Just so that they can have an "affordable home". Commuting is a fact of life. The gridlock on the main highways, 101 and 280 and 880, is much better than 2 years ago, but it can still get rough. Bart is getting better, Caltrain is pretty good, and Valley Transit is OK. But other than Bart, all suffer from scheduling that New Yorkers like me riot over (I refuse to wait more than 10 minutes for a bus or a train, since I grew up never having to wait longer than that, even at night) so mass-transit takes a lot of time.

If you do not have a job lined up, however, I cannot say that I recommend moving to SF Bay area at this time. I'm not kidding about highly skilled folk -- including attorneys -- being out of work for a year plus at this point. Things are very bad, and many people are fleeing.

BUT if you have your financial house in very good shape and can ride out the storm for 6 months to a year, I think that Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay Area is the most fun, most energetic, most diverse, and most beautiful weather-wise part of the whole state.

Plus as of tonight, the State of California still has no budget. This happens every year, but this year we have a $38M deficit, the nation's worst bond rating, and can get no more funds on credit. This is going to be Very Interesting.
That all sounds very negative. Neither my wife nor I have jobs right now to go to so we would be taking a risk. I am a lawyer in the Uk and i can re-qualify in CA without taking another 3 year law degree so thats the attraction for me, whereas in boston i would need to go back to school for 3 years. Although it will still take me 6 months to read the Bar exam and get approval from the state board.

We were thinking maybe east bay area, that was on the BART circuit, my wife likes Richmond but if the transport is badly organised then commute times could be awful. It sounds like London with Sun and more unemployment at the moment.

Thank for your advice though we will think hard about it.

regards

Duncan
Duncs is offline  
Old Jul 3rd 2003, 2:08 pm
  #8  
Pagan Sex God
 
Patrick's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2002
Location: Living in Oblivion
Posts: 3,668
Patrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond repute
Default

The hard truth is that with the economy the way it is there is probably no good place to move to in the US at the moment. But somewhere with the unemployment and cost of living like the bay area is suicide. Have you thought about San Diego.

Originally posted by 17782023
That all sounds very negative. Neither my wife nor I have jobs right now to go to so we would be taking a risk. I am a lawyer in the Uk and i can re-qualify in CA without taking another 3 year law degree so thats the attraction for me, whereas in boston i would need to go back to school for 3 years. Although it will still take me 6 months to read the Bar exam and get approval from the state board.

We were thinking maybe east bay area, that was on the BART circuit, my wife likes Richmond but if the transport is badly organised then commute times could be awful. It sounds like London with Sun and more unemployment at the moment.

Thank for your advice though we will think hard about it.

regards

Duncan
Patrick is offline  
Old Jul 3rd 2003, 2:11 pm
  #9  
Forum Regular
 
superpat's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2003
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 148
superpat is a name known to allsuperpat is a name known to allsuperpat is a name known to allsuperpat is a name known to allsuperpat is a name known to allsuperpat is a name known to allsuperpat is a name known to allsuperpat is a name known to allsuperpat is a name known to allsuperpat is a name known to allsuperpat is a name known to all
Default

Originally posted by Dekka's Angel
Plus as of tonight, the State of California still has no budget. This happens every year, but this year we have a $38M deficit, the nation's worst bond rating, and can get no more funds on credit. This is going to be Very Interesting.
I'm sure you mistyped 'M' for 'B' - it's a $38 BILLION deficit... Or about $1000 for every man, woman and child in the state.

Originally posted by 17782023
We were thinking maybe east bay area
This is purely anecdotal (maybe someone has actual experience), but apparently the east bay is really bad for pollution - the traffic fumes etc are blown from SF and the peninsula east across the bay and hang around the east bay towns.

We're lucky enough to be moving to SV later this year on an L1 (assuming all goes well at interview 29 July!). My office is in Santa Clara, and the house is 10 miles south, in a San Jose neighbourhood called 'Cambrian Park' - just north of Los Gatos. DA is right on the money concerning rents - we're paying $2250 a month.

We spent a lot of time weighing up different areas - it basically comes down to a balance between cost, commute and 'location' (a mile can double the value of a house!).

Given that you have a 6 month period in which you'll be studying anyway, it might be worth a gamble - move into a cheap (for SV!) place, study, and hope the economy has picked up by the time you're done. I guess you could even move anywhere in CA to do that, and move to SV when you have a job.

Cheers,

Pat
superpat is offline  
Old Jul 3rd 2003, 2:15 pm
  #10  
British/Irish(ish) Duncs
Thread Starter
 
Duncs's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2003
Location: Cambridge MA, via Mississippi and Belfast Northern Ireland.
Posts: 700
Duncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant future
Default Re: Bay Area in California where is a good spot to live?

So having effectively dissed the SF bay area and Boston is turning out to be less attractive then i had first thought where would be the place to go?

I am a 32 yr old lawyer/politician from UK my wife is a recent college grad having just finished her first masters in international relations and conflict resolution and working on the second one in human rights law. I can retrain as lawyer in CA or in NY but most states require a new law degree so 3 years at school ($90,000 in costs!).

We have little money and my wifes family are all in MS where we dont really want to go.

So any ideas then? where is the best spot in the USA to move to? and dont say stay in Uk as i need to move and have no job here either and my wifes student visa ends in jan and would probably take 12 months to convert to full spouse visa so she couldnt work either.

Bright ideas on a postcard please (or just a message actually).

regards,

Duncan
Duncs is offline  
Old Jul 3rd 2003, 2:33 pm
  #11  
Pagan Sex God
 
Patrick's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2002
Location: Living in Oblivion
Posts: 3,668
Patrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond reputePatrick has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Bay Area in California where is a good spot to live?

Your leaving the UK with zero money and no jobs, one of you doesn't want to work - your buggered!

The problem is not america, it is you. It seems to me that your escaping bankruptcy and running to the US and want everything now. You may have to bite the bullet and move to MS with her parents, pass the bar and then start your new live. You can't expect to come here and have everything laid out for you, espcially as you will no money (and if you plan on selling your assets and running as a solicitor you know you have to pay your debters with any money).

The spousal visa for the UK doesn't take that long (it took us 2 months) - my advice. Get over this dip in fortune you are going though, get your wife to finish school and get some money behind you and then come over! You are going to have to sacrafice something. At the very least your pride!

Patrick


Originally posted by 17782023
So having effectively dissed the SF bay area and Boston is turning out to be less attractive then i had first thought where would be the place to go?

I am a 32 yr old lawyer/politician from UK my wife is a recent college grad having just finished her first masters in international relations and conflict resolution and working on the second one in human rights law. I can retrain as lawyer in CA or in NY but most states require a new law degree so 3 years at school ($90,000 in costs!).

We have little money and my wifes family are all in MS where we dont really want to go.

So any ideas then? where is the best spot in the USA to move to? and dont say stay in Uk as i need to move and have no job here either and my wifes student visa ends in jan and would probably take 12 months to convert to full spouse visa so she couldnt work either.

Bright ideas on a postcard please (or just a message actually).

regards,

Duncan
Patrick is offline  
Old Jul 3rd 2003, 2:58 pm
  #12  
British/Irish(ish) Duncs
Thread Starter
 
Duncs's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2003
Location: Cambridge MA, via Mississippi and Belfast Northern Ireland.
Posts: 700
Duncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant future
Default Re: Bay Area in California where is a good spot to live?

Originally posted by Patrick
Your leaving the UK with zero money and no jobs, one of you doesn't want to work - your buggered!

The problem is not america, it is you. It seems to me that your escaping bankruptcy and running to the US and want everything now. You may have to bite the bullet and move to MS with her parents, pass the bar and then start your new live. You can't expect to come here and have everything laid out for you, espcially as you will no money (and if you plan on selling your assets and running as a solicitor you know you have to pay your debters with any money).

The spousal visa for the UK doesn't take that long (it took us 2 months) - my advice. Get over this dip in fortune you are going though, get your wife to finish school and get some money behind you and then come over! You are going to have to sacrafice something. At the very least your pride!

Patrick
You trying to start a fight again?

Nobody said anyone doesnt want to work. I have no job here and i am looking but no joy so far. My wife doesnt have UK visa that allows her to work. No i contacted the Home office IND dept and because my wife entered as a student her change of status to spouse is special case and would be slower, curent wait time upto 18 months. IND is in chaos and i have no faith in their ability to process any application quickly meanwhile we are both unemployed. I already have a USA perm res visa so if we move we can both work.

I am a barrister not solicitor and have no intention of running thats why we have no money because my debtors get it all. All we have is a few K my wife has saved up. I am aware that this will be a tough time no matter what we do i am just trying to think ahead to get us set up for the future is that so bad. I expect to have to take a job in Wal mart on minimum if that is what it takes so no one expects it to be easy.

Honestly Patrick would you ever wind your neck in, move from NC and get a job yourself maybe it will cheer you up a little,

regards,

Duncan

Last edited by Duncs; Jul 3rd 2003 at 3:00 pm.
Duncs is offline  
Old Jul 3rd 2003, 4:34 pm
  #13  
Banned
 
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 1,933
Ranjini will become famous soon enough
Default Re: Bay Area in California where is a good spot to live?

Originally posted by 17782023
I expect to have to take a job in Wal mart on minimum if that is what it takes so no one expects it to be easy.
Duncan
Patrick does, however, have a good suggestion in there. In your particular situation, it may be best to bite the bullet and move in with your in-laws until you have things sorted out. How far would you both get working at minimum wage to start out? The economy in the US right now is the pits...
Ranjini is offline  
Old Jul 3rd 2003, 5:00 pm
  #14  
British/Irish(ish) Duncs
Thread Starter
 
Duncs's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2003
Location: Cambridge MA, via Mississippi and Belfast Northern Ireland.
Posts: 700
Duncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant futureDuncs has a brilliant future
Default Re: Bay Area in California where is a good spot to live?

Originally posted by Ranjini
Patrick does, however, have a good suggestion in there. In your particular situation, it may be best to bite the bullet and move in with your in-laws until you have things sorted out. How far would you both get working at minimum wage to start out? The economy in the US right now is the pits...
yes and its been considered, but family is a funny thing and my wifes inlaws dont want us to live with them so its just not do-able.

Maybe a cheaper initial location would be best, like Texas or something. austin has alow unepmployemt rate but still rents for $600 month for one beds so maybe thats a good start location.

regards,

Duncan
Duncs is offline  
Old Jul 3rd 2003, 5:39 pm
  #15  
Banned
 
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 1,933
Ranjini will become famous soon enough
Default Re: Bay Area in California where is a good spot to live?

Originally posted by 17782023
yes and its been considered, but family is a funny thing and my wifes inlaws dont want us to live with them so its just not do-able.

Maybe a cheaper initial location would be best, like Texas or something. austin has alow unepmployemt rate but still rents for $600 month for one beds so maybe thats a good start location.

regards,

Duncan
Totally understand about the family thing
I was going to suggest a cheaper location. Low unemployment rate and reasonable rents. You could both flip burgers at McDonalds for a start, if worse came to worst. They do pay more than Walmart. But yes, you could get by. And look to ways and means to get back to school. Not easy but do-able....
Ranjini is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.