Americans are racing to flee the big cities, most of which are run by mayors sympathizing with the Marxist/Communist radicals most recently fronted by groups like Antifa and BLM. Steven Greenhut details the flight from San Francisco at The American Spectator, writing:
As my daughter recently searched for a new apartment in San Francisco’s typically overheated market, she experienced an unusual situation: Falling rent prices, less competition for available units and – get this – landlords who were calling her to sweeten the deal. Prices still are astoundingly high, but the supply-and-demand dynamic has noticeably shifted. Rents are down 5 percent in the city and even more in some nearby communities as people leave the area.
The outmigration has been evident long before COVID-19. “Real-estate site Redfin found that San Francisco lost more residents than any other city in the US in the last quarter of 2017,” according to a recent report in Business Insider. “A 2018 survey from the Bay Area Council advocacy group found that 46 percent of residents said they planned to leave the region.”
Myriad news stories provide anecdotal evidence of people of all age groups fleeing for greener, lower-density pastures. The softening urban real-estate markets suggest there’s more to this than hype.
The unraveling social order in many big cities is another likely cause of the exodus. There’s nothing wrong with peaceful protests against police abuse and racial inequality, but the riots, looting and creation of wacky “autonomous zones” in downtown areas add to the already sprawling homeless crisis that makes urban life increasingly intolerable.
Given the generally incompetent elected leadership of San Francisco and most other major cities, there’s a ballpark-zero chance that they will adopt the right policies to improve the quality of life. In fact, urban residents in California can expect yet another wave of tax increases to help clean up the mess. Anti-eviction ordinances will discourage people from maintaining rental properties. The recent shutdowns are obliterating small restaurants and businesses, which undermines one of the pleasures of living in urban environments.
Steven Greenhut is Western region director for the R Street Institute. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Escaping the City from E.J. Smith here.