Review of Sunnyvale, California


high tech jobs -vs- high cost housing
Star Rating - 9/20/2019
At this point, I would only recommend moving to silicon valley for the job market. Sure, the weather is great and the restaurants offer huge variety. But the costs of EVERYTHING are among the highest anywhere in the country.

After you've landed that amazing job at Apple, Google, or Facebook you'll be confident of handling the increased costs of food, haircuts, doctors, clothing, taxes, etc. However, you'll suddenly realize your enormous salary doesn't go very far when it concerns one thing: housing.

Like all the other cities in silicon valley, Sunnyvale housing prices are mind-boggling. $3000/month for a 2-bedroom apartment; more if the place is less than 20 years old. Even with a salary of $250k/year you'll spend more than 1/2 your after-tax income for 30 years to buy an old 1600 square foot shack on 7000 square feet of dirt in the nicer parts of Sunnyvale. Even after paying it off, you'll be hit with property taxes of $20k/year — that's the cost of renting a similar shack in much of the country.

The west part of Sunnyvale (94087 zip code) is most desireable. As you go east it can get a little dicey. You could buy in the eastern part for less and hope for gentrification. In any case, renting a house is financially a better proposition than buying with the single exception being if the stratospheric prices continue to increase when you own the place.

Many people opt to live farther from work for better housing at lower prices. Many people also have commutes significantly more than an hour long each direction. Just as the increasing population has driven up housing prices, it has also driven up traffic congestion. That's part of why people are willing to buy in Sunnyvale — they can walk to Apple.

There has been a lot of apartment construction. Some completed and some ongoing. That'll improve supply of apartments, but it's not going to help the congestion. Congestion is not just on the roads... completely full parking lots, restaurants with hour-long wait times, 12 people in checkout line at Safeway. Don't even think about going to the DMV. (Pro tip: line up outside at 6:00 AM on a cold rainy day in February for a DMV that opens at 7. I was out by 8:30 !)

Being an area for high-tech geeks, there are a lot of young, single men just out of college. If you're single and male, this is a dating desert. You're unlikely to meet our wife in Sunnyvale! You can date women in San Francisco, but remember that's a 2-hour commute after work and there's nowhere to park when you get there.
Peter | Sunnyvale, CA
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