SAN FRANCISCO-The high cost of housing and a low tolerance for traffic has caused 40% of Bay Area residents to seriously considering a move, according to a new study by the Bay Area Council, which represents major employers in the region. The mid-January random survey of 600 residents is equivalent to 2.7 million people, according to the Council, whose membership represents 490,000 workers–one out of every six private sector employees in the Bay Area.

Of those mulling a move, 70% said that the high cost of housing is a major factor driving them. Housing is the second most important issue facing the region, behind only transportation, according to earlier results of the Council Poll.

As might be expected, 74% of respondents think a greater supply of affordable housing is “very important” to the overall health of the Bay Area economy. Another 17% described it as “somewhat important.” Very few (5%) think their city is doing an “excellent” job of providing affordable housing; 67% describe their city’s performance as somewhere between “fair” and “very poor.”

Most respondents (58%) see the solution being more affordable projects on infill lots. About 25% would rather have new homes built on land outside of existing Bay Area communities.

The survey was stratified to obtain representative samples in each of six Bay Area regions: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, and the North Bay counties of Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma. Findings are subject to a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

The Bay Area Council is planning to use the poll to support its legislative efforts, says Council chief executive Jim Wunderman. “The housing crisis has continued, without pause, through economic upturns and downturns,” he says. “If we are to affect it, it will require major legislation is Sacramento. Luckily, or perhaps ironically, since the housing crisis has spread like the flu from the Bay Area to the rest of the state, Sacramento is now paying close attention.”

The Bay Area Council’s five-point housing initiative calls for (1) an acceleration of new housing “in the right place” by having cities identify sites and zone locations today to meet future needs; (2) a synchronization of regional spending plans for transportation and affordable housing; (3) more efficiency in the regulatory approval process; (4) more money to states for related utility improvements, and; (5) a permanent public source for ultra-affordable housing.

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