San Francisco is nothing if not a city with character. For many it is still considered the capital of the counterculture movement of the 1960s as well as the LGBT capital of the United States. However, in recent years the iconic city has gained a reputation for being prohibitively expensive. In 2012, only about 20 percent of homes in San Francisco were valued at one million U.S. dollars or more, a share which had grown to 66 percent as of 2017. Much of this increase can be attributed to the increase in housing demand with the explosive economic growth of Silicon Valley combined with the limited amount of physical space on the peninsula where San Francisco is located. The volume of homes sold in San Francisco has decreased from over six thousand in 2015 to approximately 5,500 in 2018. If one prefers to rent an apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area, the average rent in cities such as Berkeley, Redwood City, and Mountain View is over three thousand U.S. dollars per month.
Unlike San Francisco, which is constrained by the peninsula it is located on, Los Angeles is an enormous sprawling metropolitan area, consisting of Los Angeles proper and dozens of smaller cities blending into one another and spreading out across the desert of Southern California. The volume of homes sold in Los Angeles remained stable at around 82,000 every year from 2015 to 2017, before falling to 74,500 in 2018. There is considerable variation between housing prices within different areas of Los Angeles. In Downtown Los Angeles, one million dollars could buy one a 140 square foot home, while in Beverly Hills, the same amount of money could only purchase a 90 square foot home.