Many of San Francisco workers are being priced far out of the city due to the housing shortage. But how far? According to one person’s calculations, rents are so high, it would be worth it to move to Las Vegas and fly back to San Francisco for work.
Supercommuters—people who live in one city and fly to work in another—have been growing in numbers due to the seemingly incongruous trends of dirt-cheap airfare and outrageously high costs of living. These choices usually have to do with family situations or job changes; it rarely pencils out economically. But sometimes, when cities are really expensive, it does.
In 2013 I wrote about a blog post by Sam Cookney which pondered a supercommuter scenario for London, the San Francisco of Europe. Cookney reasoned he could live in Barcelona, fly to work in London four days a week, take the Tube to the office, and still save money compared to what he was paying just for his London flat—about $440 a month. (He then moved to Barcelona and actually does this.)
Reddit user yourslice did the math for San Francisco and reasoned that for the same price one might pay for a one-bedroom apartment in SF, you could live in a two-bedroom apartment in Las Vegas, fly from LAS to SFO four days a week, take BART from the airport to your office, and still save about $715. Plus, the cost of living is so much lower in Vegas, reasons yourslice, that you’ll probably end up saving at least $1000 more a month.
Does it make sense? That’s a good question. Eric Jaffe points out some excellent hidden costs, like the fact you’d probably need a car in Las Vegas (maybe not?). But let me ask you this: Does it sound any crazier than finding a place to live in San Francisco these days?