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Tech Workers Consider Escaping Silicon Valley’s Sky-High Rents

After major companies announce their employees won’t need to come in, many are recalculating the cost of living near the office.

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Illustration: Patrik Mollwing for Bloomberg Businessweek

Sachin Dhar thought he and his fiancée had a great deal paying $2,650 per month for a one-bedroom rental in South San Francisco, a short commute from Facebook Inc.’s offices in Menlo Park, where she works. But when the social networking company announced that most employees would be working from home until the end of the year, their calculation changed. “It makes no sense paying Bay Area rent if we can earn our salary living elsewhere,” says Dhar, 25, who already works remotely for a New York advertising startup. They’re considering moving to Hawaii—or, to really save money, somewhere in the rural U.S.

Dylan Hecklau is thinking along the same lines. His ad-tech employer, Jelli Inc., was dubious about letting people work from home before the pandemic hit. Now that employees have proven productive, its attitude has changed. Hecklau, 32, is planning to take the money he would have spent on a Lake Tahoe vacation home and make a down payment on a permanent home in Sacramento, abandoning his $3,200-a-month rental in San Francisco. “With nothing keeping me here, I can’t justify paying the rent prices,” he says.