San Francisco Bay Area, California
Take Advantage of a Strong Economy and Bustling Entrepreneurial Scene
San Francisco has a reputation for both counter-culture and being home to some of America’s most interesting history. As the birthplace of the Summer of Love, it retains its multicultural and welcoming atmosphere, punctuated by sights such as the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
While not as big as other cities like New York, San Francisco manages to pack a lot into its compact space. It’s one of the top 50 visited cities in the U.S. and has its own distinct and unique character. And, as a center for international entrepreneurs looking to begin their own American Dream, it’s hard to find a city in the U.S. that can offer so much. Here’s a closer look at what makes San Francisco an ideal choice for entrepreneurs looking to relocate to America…
San Francisco Bay Area, California
The City of Gold
San Francisco was first settled back in prehistory; archeological remains dating from 3000 BC have been found in the bay area, and it appears the area was lightly settled through to the 16th-17th centuries. In the 18th Century, a Spanish presidio and mission were established in the Bay area, and by 1808 the Mission San Francisco de Asis was a bustling spiritual centre, which drew more than 1000 neophytes from local tribal people.
During the 1820’s American trappers and hunters began to move towards the SF area from the East, and by 1847 the missionary era for the area was over, and the settlement of “Yerba Buena” was renamed San Francisco, claimed by Captain John B Montgomery – a famous commander during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.
During 1848 gold was found at Sutter’s Fort and within months San Francisco became a key player in the U.S. Gold Rush. The Gold Rush led to a rapid expansion of SF, with the population increasing in one year from 1,000 to 25,000. After the gold rush ended, silver was discovered and this led to industrial development due to the difficulty in extracting this precious material. A trans-continental railroad was completed in 1869. The city continued to expand and cable cars were added, to help resident navigate its steepest hills. During 1887 1,000 acres on the Pacific side of the peninsula were allocated for Golden Gate Park, which became a site of refuge for people who had lost their homes during the 1906 earthquake.
The 1906 earthquake was devastating, killing over 3000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. After the earthquake, SF quickly rebuilt, and saw rapid growth in subsequent years, including the construction of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay Bridges.
After playing a key role in the transition between WWII and the Cold War, hosting the 1945 conference where the U.N Charter was drafted, SF became well –known for ‘counterculture’. It drew writers like Jack London and Mark Twain and was known for 1950’s ‘beat Poets’ and 1960’s hippie counterculture.
Today SF has enjoyed the benefits of the 1990’s internet technology boom, drawing entrepreneurs to the area and improving on housing and infrastructure. For the busy international entrepreneur, SF Bay’s interesting and inspiring history provides a hotbed for creative vision and growth.
A Dream Economy for International Entrepreneurs
The economic outlook for SF is great news for international entrepreneurs – Business Insider has found that in 2018 San Francisco Bay comes top for strongest economies in the U.S., with some economists describing the economy as “defying gravity”. Considering that SF is home to the world-famous Silicon Valley, this is perhaps not surprising – companies like Apple, Google and Tesla have made the area worth an eye-watering $3 Billion.
San Francisco Bay Area’s bustling economy has an average income that’s significantly higher than the nationwide U.S. median – an impressive $96,667 per year, compared to $57,617 per year. This healthy wage rate is reflected in the Tax Rates for SF – with a Sales Rate Tax of 8.8% (U.S. Average 6.0%) and Income tax Rate of 8.0% (U.S. Average 4.6%). The job market is healthy, with an increase of 3.9% in the last year. Future job growth is predicted to be 44.2% in the next decade, much higher than the national average of 38.0%.
The tech-hungry entrepreneur would be hard pushed to find a better location for their business than SF Bay Area!
A Comfortable Climate for Those who Like Moderate Weather
The SF Bay Area has a Mediterranean climate, but with cooler summers than you might expect. This is because of cold currents that run from the coast of California, and fogs that tend to form in SF Bay. What this means in practice is that during the summer you get a natural air conditioning weather feature that leads to a pleasant high of around 70°F in the summer months and a low of 41°F in the winter, with the weather rarely reaching freezing. Precipitation can be increased during winter months but is never very high.
If you choose to live closer to the coast you are likely to experience more continental weather, with slightly warmer summers and cooler winters. Fog reaches its height during the months of June to September but usually clears by mid-morning. Overall the climate is moderate and pleasant with no extremes of temperature.
Pricey – so be Savvy When you Choose Your Housing!
San Francisco is an incredibly attractive place to live – and this is very much reflected in the housing market. Quite simply, living here does not come cheaply.
Median prices for San Francisco are around $4,680 per month for a 2-bedroom rental and $1.7 million for a single-family house. These median prices are reflected in the high rental rate of 65% of homes being renter-occupied, as opposed to 35% being owner-occupied.
When it comes to renting, you might find that your money stretches further when it comes to amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts and gyms that are included with your rental. Generally speaking, it will be cheaper for you to rent rather than buy in the Bay Area.
What can you get for your money?
For the rental median of $4,680 per month, you can expect to get a rental with 2-4 bedrooms and 1-2 bathrooms with a wide variety of floor space – from 750 to over 1,200 sqft.
For the buying median of $1.7 million, you can expect to get a home with 3-4 bedrooms and 3+ bathrooms, with over 1000 sqft of floor space.
There are indications that a market correction may take place in the Bay Area, with home sale prices beginning to weaken during 2018. So it may well be worth your while to keep an eye out on the market for future developments into 2019.
A Worldwide Center of Educational Excellence
Public schools in SF Bay do not necessarily draw their students based on residential address, rather tries to maintain even demographics based on income, race and language skills. This helps to ensure public schools are a good mix of abilities, however, it might mean that children attend schools which further away.
Private school acceptance can be competitive and involve testing and interviews. It can be expensive and take some time to find a good private school, so researching early is recommended.
As you might expect from an area that has innovation and entrepreneurship at its heart, SF Bay Area has a wealth of renowned educational institutions. Its home to Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, San Francisco, which are all considered to be world leaders in education. SF is also home to the Art Institute of California, a leading liberal arts college.
When it comes to finding the best graduates for your business, SF Bay is a nationwide leader.
Choose From a Huge Range of Efficient Public Transport
When it comes to getting around San Francisco, most people advise you to use public transportation rather than relying on a car. This isn’t because gridlock is significantly worse in SF than other U.S. cities, but because the nature of the city’s hilly geography makes driving much more of a headache than using public transport.
If you do drive, you can expect to find parking tricky as well as expensive with many private garages charging up to $45 per day and little in the way of street parking available.
Luckily, public transportation in San Francisco is considered to be comprehensive, efficient and easy to use. There is a range of options for you to use, from buses and streetcars, through to cable cars and Bay Area Rapid Transport (BART) high-speed rail lines. There are ferries available for both sightseeing to areas such as Alcatraz and Angel Island, and also for commuting, with many residents taking advantage of services such as the Golden Gate Transit Ferry Service. If you prefer to cycle, the city has a network of more than 320 KM of bicycle paths, lanes and bike routes, making it a great way to get around.
Because public transport is so varied, it’s worth taking time to travel around the city using different methods to see which suits you best – and is a great way to learn the layout and vibe of the city.
Taxis can also be an option, as due to the compact nature of the city, fees tend to be reasonable. However, during rush hours you might find it difficult to secure a cab as there are not enough in service to meet demand.
Eclectic and Welcoming Community
San Francisco enjoys a reputation for having an international character due to the high-level of incomers taking advantage of the opportunities Silicon Valley has to offer, and a world leader in civil rights – especially as relates to LGBT culture. The large gay community has added many cultural events to the year, including the largest and oldest Gay Pride event, which regularly attracts over a million people.
SF has a bustling nightlife, with plenty of live music venues, theatres, and performing arts centers, as well as the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Ballet. The SF Rec & Park service operates over 25 recreation centers, ranging from swimming pools and sports centers to museums and tennis park complexes.
When it comes to sporting events, the Baseball Major League’s San Francisco Giants lead the pack, and SF has produced the most major league baseball players as a city than any other in the U.S. SF is also home to an NFL team – the 49ers.
SF is home to over 220 parks, the largest of which is the Golden Gate Park, which runs from the city center to the Pacific Ocean. The park also covers Ocean Beach which is home to a busy surfer community.
- Population: 1,657,200
- Major Industries: Tourism, Technology, Financial services
- Gross Metro Product: $217.8 B
- Median Household Income: $110,826
- Median Home Price: $1,240,000
- Unemployment: 5%
- Job Growth (2017): 3%
- Cost of Living: 73% above nat’l avg
- College Attainment: 1%
- Net Migration (2017): 1,190
(Source: Forbes https://www.forbes.com/places/ca/san-francisco/)
Starting a business in the U.S. can be both exhilarating and exasperating. There is much to know and even more to learn, and the pace of the information coming at you can be overwhelming.
That’s where Mount Bonnell Advisors come in.
Would you like to live your very own American Dream? At Mount Bonnell, we can guide you through the labyrinth of regulation and red tape and out into the blue skies of a dream come true – the dream of living and working in America.
Whether it’s technical issues around tax or residency, or strategic ones involving business formation and growth, the experienced team at Mount Bonnell Advisors are here to help.
So make that dream a reality by booking a consultation today with Mount Bonnell Advisors. Let the adventure commence!