San Jose residents pay more each month for common household bills than residents of any other major U.S. city, according to a new report.
Seattle-based bill management company doxoInsights analyzed the 10 most common monthly bills paid by people living in the 50 largest U.S. cities based on the number of households. San Jose is the most expensive, edging out New York City, Boston and San Francisco.
The report looked at mortgages and rent payments, based on U.S. Census data, along with bills for utilities, car loans, health insurance and cell phone plans, among others, based on anonymized 2021 bill pay data the company tracks.
In San Jose, the average resident is paying $3,248 each month for these recurring bills, a whopping 62% above the national average of about $2,000, according to the report.
High housing costs are the major contributor, as most San Jose renters can attest. For example, rents in San Jose average about $2,112, while in New York City—the second most expensive place on the list—rent payments average $1,832, the report said.
“There’s no surprise here,” Russell Hancock, president and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, told San José Spotlight. “Virtually any measurement you use, any method you use, will bring you to the same result which is that the Bay Area has the highest housing costs in the nation.”
Though the California Association of Realtors recently forecasted there will be some relief next year as home prices are expected to fall nearly 9%, mortgage payments likely won’t become more affordable on the whole due to “stubbornly high inflation” and rising interest rates, the association said in a statement this month.
Trying to get out
While some people like South San Jose resident Kim Richman might want to leave in hopes of making money go further, the costs of living locally makes it hard to save for a move.
“We want to get out of California because it’s too expensive to live, but in the same respect, we really can’t save anything because everything is going to all our other bills,” Richman, who wants to move to Texas, told San José Spotlight. “We’re kind of stuck here.”
Richman and her husband both make “decent money,” she said, but renting a two-bedroom townhome for $2,500, plus all the other monthly bills like utilities and increasing grocery costs, makes money tight.
“We’re literally living paycheck to paycheck,” she said.
The trend of people wanting to leave the region or the state is not new. In fact, it may be picking up steam, as past polls and annual city surveys have shown a growing discontent with housing costs in San Jose, while the wealth gap and other inequities grow. Experts say the region could be at a tipping point.
“The successes, the growth of the economy, has not been matched by a corresponding growth in housing and now we have supply and demand problem,” Hancock said. “It’s just become too much.”
Hancock said in Joint Venture’s most recent Silicon Valley Poll, conducted in conjunction with the Bay Area News Group, more than half of the people who responded said they plan to leave the region in the next few years, with housing costs driving their decisions.
The region offers economic opportunity, cultural institutions and diversity, natural beauty and open spaces, professional sports teams and much more, but at a high price.
“Everyone makes their own calculations (about whether to stay in the region),” Hancock said. “Sometimes it’s a harrowing calculation and people feel on edge.”
Joint Venture’s 2022 Silicon Valley Index showed that of about 40,000 people who left Silicon Valley in 2021, a third headed to cheaper Bay Area suburbs, another 25% moved to the Sacramento region and the rest moved to areas including Seattle, Portland, Dallas, New York and Las Vegas.
“Folks like me are wondering if it’s a major shift, if this is a tectonic shift, or if it’s just an adjustment around the margins,” Hancock said of people leaving the region. “It’s too early to tell.”
The doxo report only considered the top 50 largest cities, but the data analyzed shows some smaller Bay Area and California cities with at least 40,000 households have even more inflated monthly bill costs than San Jose.
San Mateo’s monthly bills ranked the highest at $3,521, with Sunnyvale just behind at $3,468. Carlsbad near San Diego was third, and Fremont and Santa Clara, in fourth and fifth in that ranking, both have slightly higher monthly bill costs than San Jose, the report said.