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Stats Programming United States IT

America's Most Affordable Cities For Tech Workers: Seattle, Austin, and Pittsburgh (prnewswire.com) 127

"Seattle tech workers who own their homes can expect to have about $2,000 more in disposable income each month than tech workers in the Bay Area," according to a new study from LinkedIn and Zillow. An anonymous reader writes: "For technology workers who rent, Seattle, Austin and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania came out on top among the housing markets analyzed, with the Bay Area at #4..." the two companies reported. "Salaries for other industries don't hold up as well in the San Francisco area, though. Even highly-paid finance workers keep only about 32 percent of their incomes after paying for housing and taxes. In Charlotte or Chicago, they can pocket a median of 61 percent."

The Bay Area's high housing prices are apparently offset by the high salaries paid there to tech workers, according to the study. Even so, both home owners and renters pay roughly half the median income for housing on the west coast, "while a rental in the middle of the country costs more like 25 percent of the median income."

The report also identified the best cities for health workers -- Phoenix, Indianapolis, and Boston -- as well as for finance workers, who do best in Charlotte, Chicago and Dallas. The top 15 cities for tech workers also included those same cities except Chicago and Phoenix, while also including known tech hotspots like Denver, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. But surprisingly the top 15 best cities for tech workers also included Detroit, Nashville, St. Paul (Minnesota) and Tampa, Florida.
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America's Most Affordable Cities For Tech Workers: Seattle, Austin, and Pittsburgh

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 19, 2017 @05:53PM (#54070237)

    Silicon Valley is pretty much a wasteland now. A lot of the real innovation is taking place elsewhere in the country. Silicon Valley is full of companies built on advertising, which is a bubble that's bound to collapse. I can't see why anyone would want to move to Silicon Valley when there are far better options available now, including all of the cities listed in the summary and many others.

    • What is real innovation? The problem is that the VCs in SV have a narrow focus of what companies they want to get behind. The companies either spit out ads, suck as much data as possible, or both. This is why the Meitu app is such a media darling, even though it does so relatively little. Nothing else appears interesting to the VC people.

      Companies that build foundations (say a company that is looking at an offline messaging protocol as a secure replacement for E-mail internally) will never get funded.

      • Ads are tried and true so it's hard to argue against it. Technology is often overlooked but making a scalable product at low cost is still highly non-trivial and that has driven internet businesses more than anything else. Yes these inane apps started up in SF really suck off open source and scalable technology and don't contribute much back, but that just proves how low-cost they are and thus how easily they can be profitable as long as they get enough eyes... When it come to business models it's hard to a

        • What we get is a lot of people that have great stuff... but do we really need yet another fleshlight app in the store competing with many others, doing the same thing with spewing ads and slurping as much data as the device/user allows? What we really need are companies who pave more roads, be it writing new protocols, doing new peer to peer things, offering better bandwidth at the Internet's edges, etc. It may not pay more for the quarter, but it will be something for the long haul. A few things that co

  • by mattwarden ( 699984 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @05:57PM (#54070249)

    Article is wrong about Austin. It's very expensive. And there are no jobs for tech workers. And it's dirty. With marauding gangs of looters. Many reports of paranormal activity. High risk of pandemic or terrorist attack. No housing supply.

    And no Uber!

    No, no. You don't want to move to Austin. Don't even bother checking it out.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And don't forget that Texas college girls are universally unattractive.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Also, there's no bars or nightlife. And no weed either. Nosiree, there's definitely no weed.
      • I realize you jest, but a couple of points:

        1) If you're a tech worker looking at moving to a new city, unless you're a fresh-out looking for your first job, chances are you're far enough past college-aged that college girls are not at all a consideration in a new location.

        2) While American college girls can be very pretty, just wait until they pass the age of 30. They'll mostly turn into fat, unpleasant, entitled and spoiled women. No thanks.

        • You may not be from the US, so you may be unaware that we, the patriarchy, have burdened every attractive college age woman with many tens of thousands of dollars of student debt in an effort to make older men who can afford a Big Mac or better appear quite a catch.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's not quite right about Seattle. That was true a few years ago, but the housing market has blown up. I blame the cost of home ownership on a combination of large hiring sprees with vestments and housing speculation.

      I have a nice home not too close to the city, but the commute can be a terror without the motorcycle.

      I was considering some other tech cities, but everyone seems to suffering the same issues. I miss the sun ;)

      Also it's hard to find a place that will pay me gobs of cash. The up and downside to

      • Friend moved there. Has 4 kids, so 5 br house. He's looking at about $1.2M for a nice house. Yikes.

    • Haha, what did Austin do to you? :D

    • ...does it take to change a light bulb?

      A: Eight. One to change the bulb, and seven to talk about how much better the light bulbs were at the Armadillo World Headquarters...

      • by mattwarden ( 699984 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @06:20PM (#54070315)

        I don't get it. Everyone here was born in Cali or the Midwest, and they couldn't pick an armadillo out of a lineup.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Armadillo is that city in the North Texas Panhandle, it's where they serve 48 oz steaks.

          I saw it on Man vs. Common Sense.

        • I drove through parts of the midwest to visit family in Texas two years ago and started spotting Armadillo roadkill in central Missouri. You can find armadillos in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, as well as extreme southern Illinois and Indiana. Prior to ~1850 armadillos were not found north of the Rio Grande. That's not to say that much of the growth of Austin (and Houston and Dallas) isn't due to yankees though.
          • I drove through parts of the midwest to visit family in Texas two years ago and started spotting Armadillo roadkill in central Missouri. You can find armadillos in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, as well as extreme southern Illinois and Indiana. Prior to ~1850 armadillos were not found north of the Rio Grande.

            Quite a few armadillos in Florida as well. You do NOT want to hit one in a vehicle!! Hitting one is like hitting a rock the same size. For those unfamiliar with the infamous " 'Dillo", Google some images for size perspective. Damage to the tires, rims, and suspension and undercarriage as well as the engine are common and often quite severe, requiring a tow and major repairs. Hitting one while driving relatively fast can easily cause a fatal accident. Hitting an armadillo at any decent speed on a motorcycle

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nice try, but you won't keep people away like that.

      You should have said - Austin is in Texas, and you will be forced to watch football and go hunting.

      Watch the techies scream and run away.

    • by creimer ( 824291 )

      Article is wrong about Austin. It's very expensive. And there are no jobs for tech workers. And it's dirty. With marauding gangs of looters. Many reports of paranormal activity. High risk of pandemic or terrorist attack. No housing supply.

      I thought South by Southwest was over already.

    • by plopez ( 54068 )

      Why would I want to move to TX? Any state that slaughters its own citizens is a horrible place to live.

    • I concur, traffic is worse then Chicago, also the summers can reach 120 and North Korea is targeting Austin...

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new... [dailymail.co.uk]

      Don't move here, don't even come to visit... traffic is already a bitch.

    • by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @09:57PM (#54070945) Homepage Journal

      All kidding aside, I had to drive through Austin during SXSW... Took almost 4 hours. A family member lives in Austin, about 2 miles from the grocery store. It takes an hour each way by car on days of "normal" traffic, longer if there's a traffic jam. Much faster to walk to the store. And this is Texas. We don't walk up the isle to get married - we drive.

    • The article is also wrong about Seattle. It's freezing over there and really cold. You wouldn't like the weather. Unlike the bay area, the squirrels wouldn't even come out to bite your nuts. Not to mention the heating bills, they are very expensive compare to the bay area. The housing in Seattle is so expensive that you'll feel empty from all those mountains in the background.

      No, you don't want to move to Seattle. And don't google about it either.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seattle is expensive as hell, the internet is garbage, and the weather is cloudy every day. Your two major companies, Amazon and Microsoft, are constantly looking for ways to outsource you or get you to work extra hours for free.

    Fuck Seattle.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @06:06PM (#54070285)
    about the H1-Bs (and I know I'm being petty, but hey, I'm getting my ass kicked here financially). They're a captive audience for the renters. There's no way they're gonna buy a home while they're here on work visas. So they drive up my rent substantially. Maybe if I made enough to afford a down payment on a home but, well, with my wages depressed like this that ain't happening...
    • Come to Canada, guess what happens when they can buy houses(or family who can do it for them)? The price of housing goes through the roof, and now you can't afford a house or rent. It gets compounded because of the outside real estate investment that goes on too. Vancouver is one of the worst places for this double-whammy, and then there's the whole "empty house" problem(8.8% in Vancouver). Watch Seattle(and Toronto, Ontario), since Vancouver put in a foreign buyers tax they've started buying up there as well.

      • I made a mess of my life and don't have a college degree. OTOH if I'd graduated college I probably wouldn't have noticed how bad things are in America. I'd be making enough money I could have weathered the storms that hit me. OTOH again if I was the sort of person that coulda got through a college degree I probably wouldn't have had those storms (which were mostly caused by bad decisions made by family members I couldn't see myself abandoning. Shit happens).

        That's the trouble with there being no safety
  • I've been told it's quite expensive, although it's not San Francisco and Silicon Valley expensive.
    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      depends, if you want to live in a modest older house without a bunch of updates, and live more than a bike ride from your work, its not that bad... if you want to live in a fresh HGTV mcmansion then yes its very expensive (but again not like the bay area CA expensive)

      now I will tell you the traffic is horrible, I had to go to kirkland for a IPC training class last summer, which is the first time I set foot in the area in 10 years, so in 2006 that 20 min drive would have taken about 45min maybe an hour, it t

      • depends, if you want to live in a modest older house without a bunch of updates, and live more than a bike ride from your work, its not that bad... if you want to live in a fresh HGTV mcmansion then yes its very expensive (but again not like the bay area CA expensive)

        Please define "not that bad".

        I work at UW, but live an hour away (by train + light rail). A friend who lives in Seattle was recently telling me about her $1600/month rent for what is basically a studio, within walking distance of UW. Is that considered inexpensive nowadays?

        We bought our house (where I am commuting from now) in the 1990s, so it's been that long since I rented in Seattle - so my question is actually intended to be serious. But my house payment is less than half that. :-D

        • It's all relative to how much you make. I pay $1600 rent to live 15 minute walk from work (1 bedroom) and still manage to have 20K left over every year in my entry level job (that includes generous contributions to retirement). If I had a family, I probably would take that $1000 house rental that is an hour drive away.

          Protip: leave for work at 6:30, you can beat traffic that way.

          • It's all relative to how much you make. I pay $1600 rent to live 15 minute walk from work (1 bedroom) and still manage to have 20K left over every year in my entry level job (that includes generous contributions to retirement). If I had a family, I probably would take that $1000 house rental that is an hour drive away.

            Sounds like me and I was living right on Capitol Hill. Still, I realized my rent would only go up and $1600 is a mortgage. Now I have a 30 minute commute but have the $1600/month locked in, and extra rooms for hobbies, guests, parties, etc. I was tempted by condos closer to work, but HOAs scare me and I wanted that extra room for hobbies.

        • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

          Please define "not that bad".

          late mid - late 80's not updated but in good condition with of course mechanical upgrades over the years

          and shit even out here in the sticks of TN its 1500$ for a mcmansion 2 bedroom apartment ... or like 800 bucks a month for morgage + insurance + taxes in escro for a decent 3 bedroom house

          rent is not a realistic expectation of property value, its only a realistic expectation of how much a fool will spend to not assume the slightest responsibility

          • rent is not a realistic expectation of property value, its only a realistic expectation of how much a fool will spend to not assume the slightest responsibility

            I dunno, its all tradeoffs. I made out pretty well in one respect - bought my place in the mid-90's paid it off in 15 years, and now have no mortgage. But most people don't work that way. Most takt a whole 30 years to pay it off, or even more when they extract and extend through re-fi's.

            Because the responsibility you avoid is all of the maintenance. When you need a new roof or have a plumbing problem or the furnace or AC needs fixed or replaced you don't get to call the super, you get to call someone w

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @06:17PM (#54070301) Journal
    Low cost housing, many distinct old ethnic neighborhoods and restaurants, good school districts. Rails-to-trails have created many wonderful biking walking trails. Will feel all the four seasons. Only negatives are the narrow single laned roads. Very pictureque and beautiful, as long as you don't have to go anywhere in a hurry, it is great.
    • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @09:44AM (#54072781)

      Low cost housing, many distinct old ethnic neighborhoods and restaurants, good school districts. Rails-to-trails have created many wonderful biking walking trails. Will feel all the four seasons. Only negatives are the narrow single laned roads. Very pictureque and beautiful, as long as you don't have to go anywhere in a hurry, it is great.

      It's an amazing place. The old smokey city is long gone, and in it's place a jewel was forged.

      My favorite way to come into the burgh is through the Fort Pitt Tunnel. You enter the tunnelfrom the south, with nothing but trees and a mountainside. Then when you exit - its like the Wizard of Oz, a city sprung up suddenly from nowhere, all scrubbed clean and pretty. In recent years they took to painting all of the bridges yellow - sounds odd, but looks cool, and yellow and black are the city's colors.

      And if you run out of things to do there, it's your fault.

  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @06:19PM (#54070311)

    Pittsburgh is a great place unless you want to see the horizon. With all those rolling hills the most you can really see in any direction is about a 1/2 mile. After growing up in a place where I could see the horizon I actually felt a bit claustrophobic in Pittsburgh.

    And it ranks just behind Seattle for cloudy days, so don;t plan on seeing much in the way of sunlight.

    https://www.currentresults.com... [currentresults.com]

    At the opposite end of the spectrum I loved living and working in Salt Lake City for the vistas and the sunshine (other things not so much)

    • Listing Seattle as affordable is also ludicrous, it's fast becoming San Francisco Norte. I suspect Redkirkland was included in those calculations, given MS's compensation everyone there can afford a McMansion. The housing price inflation covers the whole region and hits hard those who don't work for MSFT.
  • ...but yeah, even with that, $250,000 will still buy you a nice house in the Austin area. Good look finding anything like that anywhere near Silicon Valley...

    Just one of the many, many advantages Texas has over California [battleswarmblog.com].

  • by pipingguy ( 566974 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @06:22PM (#54070331)
    "about $2,000 more in disposable income each month"

    That's, like, almost 5 new MacBook Pros every year! If you don't count all the adaptors you'd need.
  • Seattle may be affordable for Amazon/MSFT employees, but that's only because Seattle is about 5 years behind SF. Housing prices, traffic are skyrocketing and if you have a job where you don't get options (teacher/fire fighter for example)... it's time to leave.

    • by afgam28 ( 48611 )

      +1

      There's so many people who seem to think that the solution to the crazy SF rental market is: move to Seattle, Austin or Pittsburgh! They're the best of both worlds; they've got big-city opportunities and small-town traffic/rents! The only problem is that if everyone does that, then Seattle, Austin and Pittsburgh will all become as expensive and congested as San Francisco.

      One of the things that annoys me is that none of these cities are making any meaningful effort to learn from the problems that the SF Ba

      • The problem is that there simply is no solution to the problems you complain about. The only thing you can do is enjoy the good times while they last, get out of it what you can (which perhaps could mean buying into the realty market before it explodes), and then get out when things go downhill and move on to the next green pasture.

        The problems you cite:
        1) congestion (including public transit)
        2) housing costs

        For congestion, there's simply nothing that can be done. You're always going to have lots of conge

    • Seattle may be affordable for Amazon/MSFT employees, but that's only because Seattle is about 5 years behind SF. Housing prices, traffic are skyrocketing and if you have a job where you don't get options (teacher/fire fighter for example)... it's time to leave.

      It seems that is because, unlike SF, Seattle is tearing everything down and building new housing. Luckily, most all of our historic old buildings are in Pioneer Square. Old housing and commercial spots though most of the city are being replaced with giganormous dual use complexes. However, while this does provide lost of new housing, it's all expensive because it's brand new. All the cheap housing of Seattle have disappeared.

  • Cleveland has a growing technology sector. It's highly affordable, we have awesome restaurants and breweries and fantastic cultural sights (art museum, PlayhouseSquare, etc.).
  • by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @08:41PM (#54070765)
    Oh ... by "tech workers" you meant "people who work for big name tech companies".
  • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @10:50PM (#54071099)

    If you're going to list Pittsburgh as a city for tech workers, you might as well list Detroit too. And it's very cheap.

    And yes, Quicken Loans has quite a few tech workers there.

  • Who gives a shit what percentage of your income you spend in a rental? More important is how much absolute money you have left after paying for housing (e.g, the amount you spend on food, entertainment, retirement savings, etc). Seems to me that optimizing for housing percentage of salary is totally bogus.

    However, more important is quality of life and the metropolitan area you live in is generally less important than exactly where you live in that city and what you like to do with your spare time. For ex

  • When? 10-20 years ago maybe. Have relatives that live in Kirkland (near Redmond) They say it's NUTS to live IN Seattle.
  • I live in Charlotte, and a large chunk of people live in South Carolina (Fort Mill, Rock Hill, etc) and drive to Charlotte to work. Do these get factored in to the "market" or is it specifically focused on the Mecklenburg county metropolitan area?

    The SC locations would certainly depress the average cost of living if they're factored in. You can get a lot of house for very little money, ~$100/sqft for average acommodations and $150-200 for luxury accomodation. However, there's definitely appears to be a ho

    • HB2 has done quite a bit of damage to commerce in NC, no matter how loud the idiots in Raleigh want to scream that it hasn't. The guys in Asheville have been hit the worst but I see it here as well.

      So anyhow, have the good people of North Carolina hired their peen and vagygy inspectors yet?

      All of their moral idiocy aside, the rank stupidity of people who think such a thing is enforceable tells the rest of the world that it will be really hard to find anyone competent, or that they're spending all their time thinking about peens and vagygy's, and conflating places to take a dump with sex. Damn - they're dumb perverts.

  • by kilodelta ( 843627 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @09:09AM (#54072595) Homepage
    I work in Boston, live in Providence. Best of both worlds - salaries higher, costs lower in home city.
  • No, Seattle is not one of the most affordable cities for tech workers.

    Maybe Bellingham or Spokane.

    Next fake claim you'll make is that Vancouver BC is one of the most affordable cities for tech workers - and it's always cost twice as much for housing in Vancouver BC as in Seattle, where apparently I can rent my spare bedroom for $2200 a month.

    I claim Fake News.

  • So much is being done to attract people to the region that it is making it unbearable for those of us who have always been here. We're giving up lanes on major city streets to make room for bike lanes that are only usable for 5 months out of the year.

    The city just removed the chairs from Market Square to make more room for the patrons of the upscale restaurants that surround the place.

    The glut of well-to-do out of towners has led to the gentrification of several areas like Homewood, The Hill District and Ea

    • So much is being done to attract people to the region that it is making it unbearable for those of us who have always been here.

      That's called survival for the city. Its also the normal reaction that many people have as they age. I have a childhood memory of going to Forbes Field with my father and uncle to watch the Pirates play. Some time in the 1960's Must have been the last year before it was torn down. I remember the burgh was about as grim a place as I could imagine. Shuttered steel mills. Dreary run down houses, and there was that big black skyscraper that looked like something that the devil would live in (Cathedral of Lear

  • I've worked in Austin, and the traffic wasn't terrible for me. Waze made a huge difference. YMMV.
    IMHO, it's worth living in this city solely for the ATX hackerspace and the fantastically well equipped TechShop.

    I live in Nashville and I love it here. IT is in strong demand and the cost of living is low. No state income tax on wages is fantastic. I wish our airport was still a hub though. Always having to make connections sucks.

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