San Jose Slips from 3rd to 17th Best Place to Live … Could Housing be to Blame?

Last year, U.S. News & World Report ranked San Jose as the third-best place to live in the United States. 3rd BEST. In the entire country! That’s a solid position and one the city was über proud of… until this year, when the it slipped to 17th. Don’t get us wrong, 17th is still an admirable ranking out of (roughly) 20,000 or so cities nationwide. Still, why such a dramatic drop from one year to the next? What happened between last year and now?

Speculation across platforms — okay on Facebook — suggests that traffic woes combined with the cost of housing has had the biggest impact on San Jose’s ranking. We get it, we live here too. Traffic can be a bear and YES housing is costly, regardless of whether you rent or own. As with all “reports” it’s important to take the results with a grain of salt. Here at Sweet Home Silicon Valley, we like to look to the positive. Here are a two things we think will help San Jose pull itself back into the top 10 Best Places to Live.

Photo Credit: San Jose Mercury News

1) MOMENT at San Pedro Squared

Powered by San Jose Made, MOMENT is a set of four brand new retail spaces located in downtown San Jose’s San Pedro Square. MOMENT arose from a Knight Cities Challenge grant awarded in 2015 to San Jose Downtown Association (SJDA), who envisioned the amazing things possible in converting twelve parking spaces on the sidewalk level of the San Pedro Market Parking Garage into four dynamic micro-retail spaces, along with a sidewalk patio to add public space to the rapidly growing urban core.

Our very own Katie Ruddell and her husband, who live just steps away from San Pedro Square, were one of the shops first customers, having purchased a lovely plant from Fractal Flora. Better yet, all four businesses are women-owned and the micro units allows small businesses to dip their toe in the retail space, and possibly jump from part-time side hustle to full-time.

 Bobo Design StudioFractal FloraBlooms PrivéSea Senorita Studios

Courtesy of Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Crane Watch

2) So.Much.New.Costruction.

As we know, there’s not enough housing in the Silicon Valley – flashback to Econ 101 and you’ll recall the principles of supply and demand: a limited inventory can fetch higher and higher prices. One solution, of course, is to increase the supply and that’s exactly what’s happening in downtown San Jose. New high rise buildings seem to be going in left and right, with each facilitating hundreds of new condo/apartment homes. Here’s a quick rundown of construction of urban high density projects:

  • 25 under construction
  • 53 proposed
  • 13 completed since 2015

That’s a lot of NEW homes coming online in our near future. Here’s to hoping the supply eventually levels out with demand!

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