We all know that San Francisco is the most expensive city in the country for apartment rentals, in part because of a strong economy coupled with low unemployment and high salaries. But does that mean that we should all pack up, move to a cheaper place—like Las Vegas—and commute back to the City by the Bay for work? Last week Reddit user yourslice asked that exact question and calculated that that it may be possible to save $715 a month on rent, even after flight costs, and upgrade from a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco to a two-bedroom apartment within 10 miles of Vegas.
Prices compiled by rental website Zumper show that the savings could be even higher. Zumper puts San Francisco at $3,620 per month for a one-bedroom and Vegas at $880 for a two-bedroom. According to yourslice on Reddit, roundtrip flights to Vegas clock in as low as $38 on Frontier Airlines up to $88 on Southwest. So assuming an average $70 round-trip fare four days a week (and assuming that your boss would be nice and let you work from home one day a week), that's $1,120 per month spent on flights. Another $276 spent to get from SFO to Montgomery Street on BART would cost $276. So that's $1,344 saved, even with the upgrade to a larger apartment. And it doesn't take into account the higher cost of living in San Francisco for things like groceries.
CityLab, which took a look at the Vegas suggestion, noted that the commute time between San Francisco and Las Vegas is about 90 minutes each way just for the flight, which would mean a very hellish commute of four to five hours a day when you add on ground transportation time. Commuting is hell on your health, CityLab reminds us, and although driving is the most stressful because traffic is unpredictable, heading to the airport twice a day sounds positively soul-crushing.
The Reddit post by yourslice was inspired by a similar post a few years ago, when blogger Sam Cookney wondered if he should move from London to Barcelona and commute back to London. According to CityLab, Cookney actually followed through on the plan and loves his new Barcelona home, although he's still working in London. So this isn't outside the realm of possibility for someone who really hates paying to live in San Francisco. It might be even more realistic for someone who now lives in the city and deals with commute times on 101 or trying to make use of the Bay Area's spotty public transportation system every day. Sitting on a plane where you can actually work almost sounds more appealing than sitting in traffic for an hour and a half a day, which is reality for some San Franciscans.
· Renting in Las Vegas and Commuting to San Francisco Would Save You $1,124/Month [Reddit]
· The Median Rent for an SF Two-Bedroom Hits $5,000/Month
· October National Rent Report [Zumper]
· Crazy or Brilliant? Commuting from Las Vegas to San Francisco to Save Rent [CityLab]