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Tech workers take to the mountains, bringing Silicon Valley with them

Tech staffers from the Bay Are are relocating across the country, bringing to their new locales the woes and upsides that go with some of America’s highest-paying jobs.

Employers including Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Stripe Inc. have liberated their staffers, allowing them to work from wherever they want. As a result, some are leaving the Bay Area to live in Western mountain communities that they had already been drawn to, like Boise, Idaho, and Park City, Utah. The transplants are adding more wealth and business to their new hometowns but also widening wage gaps and raising real-estate prices.

“You do see some California hostility here,” said Lauren Williams-Elstein, 32 years old, who works for the fintech firm Mosaic and moved from the East Bay to Boise last month.

In Bozeman, Mont., with a population around 50,000 as of 2019, the median home price has risen to $515,000 from around $432,500 in a year, with inventory shrinking sharply, according to the Bozeman-based Gallatin Association of Realtors.

Amy Alvarado, an agent with boutique real-estate company Engel & Völkers AG, said that around 95% of her clients since the pandemic hit are coming from the Bay Area. Many make all-cash offers.

Les Craig, a partner with the venture-capital firm Next Frontier Capital, sees both downsides and advantages of arriving tech workers.

A transplant himself from San Francisco in 2015, Mr. Craig said the arrival of tech-industry remote workers can complicate compensation in a place where there is already a gap of $20,000 to $30,000 between local workers in other industries and those who work in tech. “If you have out-of-state workers coming in that are making proportionally even more than that, it accelerates this problem even further,” he said.

But his firm, which focuses on early-stage investments in tech companies in several Western states, has invested more than $28 million in 19 Montana tech companies, which together have raised an additional $174 million. On the salary front, with the increased venture-capital spending, he said, “I think we’re going to start seeing some equalizing with out-of-state jobs.” Read more via Mint

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