San Jose sits in the heart of Silicon Valley, with a backdrop of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It has a rich history, great entertainment and an enviable climate.
If you are considering moving to San Jose, the various costs listed below will help you make an informed decision on what costs are involved when moving and living in this innovative city.
Quick San Jose Facts:
- Population: 1,000,536 (2017 estimate)
- Official Language: English (de facto) with Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Hindi and Korean spoken by at least 1% of residents.
- GDP Per Capita: $80,028 USD (2015)
- Vietnamese: San Jose has the largest number of Vietnamese living in the city, more than anywhere outside Vietnam.
- Currency: US Dollar (US$). As of early 2017, £1 = $1.25, €1 = $1.08, $1 CAD = $0.75, $1 AUD = $0.77
1. Moving and Shipping Costs to San Jose
- New York City – $525+
- Los Angeles – $155+
- Canada (Vancouver) – $565+
- UK (London) – $1,508+
- Australia (Sydney) – $1,156+
- Ireland (Dublin) – $1,742+
- New Zealand (Auckland) – $1,823+
- Hong Kong – $1,195+
- Dubai – $3,030+
- Singapore – $2,003+
2. San Jose Housing Costs
As of August 2016, the median price of a house in San Jose was over $1 million. Property is expensive but salaries are high.
Monthly Rental Prices in San Jose
- 1 bedroom apartment in City Centre: $2,200+
- 1 bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: $1,750+
- 3 bedroom apartment in City Centre: $3,400+
- 3 bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: $2,900+
San Jose Home Purchase Prices
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy in City Centre: $5,400
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy outside City: $4,700
San Jose Housing Cost Comparison
This is how rents in San Jose compare with other cities around the globe.
How to Save on Housing Costs
- Share an apartment or house. San Jose is an expensive place to live but sharing a house or an apartment is a way to save on living expenses. There are lots of young professionals who are looking for roommates. You will probably have to share a bathroom but you will save at the end of the day. A cheaper option is to share a room. Have a look at the following sites to find your perfect room or flat mate: Easyroommate, Roommates, Kangaroom, For Rent and Yelp.
- Different areas – different prices. Like all cities upmarket areas attract high prices and San Jose has a lot of upmarket areas. Try and live just outside the city where purchase prices and rentals tend to be lower. Living and working in Downtown San Jose means saving on transport. It is close to many tech businesses, shops and entertainment. It has high rise apartments, Victorian houses and Californian style houses. Edenvale, Almaden Valley, Rose Garden, Burbank and King and Story are the cheapest areas in San Jose.
3. San Jose Food, Grocery and Restaurant Costs
There’s a great variety of restaurants and food stores in San Jose, each reflecting a different influence in the region. India, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Italy are just a few of the countries that are represented in the city.
- Inexpensive Restaurant: $12 – $20
- Takeout Coffee: $3.75 – $5.00
- Bottle of Coke: $1.00 – $3.00
- 1L of milk: $0.79 – $1.32
- Loaf of Bread: $2.20 – $4.41
- 12 Eggs: $2.80 – $6.00
- 1kg Chicken: $6.61 – $13.23
- 1kg Beef: $8.82 – $17.64
- 1kg Apples: $2.65 – $6.61
- 1kg White Rice: $2.20 – $6.60
This is how restaurants and food prices compare with other major cities in the world.
- London restaurants are 8.28% more expensive and groceries are 28.50% cheaper than San Jose.
- New York restaurants are 21.00% more expensive and groceries are 20.69% more expensive than San Jose.
- Los Angeles restaurants are 0.92% cheaper and groceries are 8.95% cheaper than San Jose.
- Toronto restaurants are 20.09% cheaper and groceries are 23.85% cheaper than San Jose.
- Sydney restaurants are 9.52% cheaper and groceries are 2.72% cheaper than San Jose.
- Paris restaurants are 0.67% cheaper and groceries are 7.42% cheaper than San Jose.
- Dubai restaurants are 22.34% cheaper and groceries are 30.23% cheaper than San Jose.
Bonus Tips for Cheaper Food, Restaurants and Groceries
- Know your supermarkets: San Jose has many independently owned grocery stores and ethnic stores as well as the usual supermarket chains. There are also lots of farmers’ markets and shops which sell health foods and organic foods. Popular supermarkets are Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Lucky and Safeway.
- Find Cheap Eats: There are lots of restaurants and takeaways in San Jose where you’ll find good, inexpensive food. Have a look at the following websites for inspiration – TripAdvisor, Four Square, Zomato and Serious Eats.
4. San Jose Alcohol Costs
There are bars and clubs to suit all pockets. It is a city that is full of places to have a quiet, or not so quiet drink.
- Pint (0.5L) domestic beer at a restaurant/bar: $3.00 – $6.00
- Bottle of imported beer at a restaurant/bar: $5.00 – $8.00
- Pint (0.5L) domestic beer at a supermarket: $1.50 – $3.00
- Bottle of imported beer at a supermarket: $2.00 – $3.50
- Mid-range bottle of wine at a supermarket: $10.00 – $15.00
How to drink for less in San Jose
- Keep an eye on the local papers and websites for specials over weekends and public holidays.
- People working in San Jose are known for working flexi time, so it’s always ‘happy hour’ somewhere in the city. Try the Britannia Arms between 3.30 and 6.30 pm and get a pint of draft beer for $4 and $5 and mojitos for $3.75 (Britannia Arms). E & O Trading’s happy hour is between 3.00 and 7.00 and they offer beer at $3 and $4, wine and cocktails at $5. Have a look at Four Square, Total Happy Hour and Drink Owl for other ideas.
5. San Jose Transportation Fares
The rail and bus system in San Jose is run by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. It operates all over San Jose but, as the city sprawls so much, it is often necessary to change busses or trains many times if you live a long way from where you work.
Here are some example ticket costs.
- Adult Single – $2.00
- One day ticket – $6.00
- Monthly season ticket, unlimited – $70
- Annual season ticket, unlimited – $770
How to save money on public transport
- Buy a Clipper Card to get the best daily, monthly and annual deals
- Buy a bike. San Jose is in the process of developing more cycle lands and depending on where you live and work, cycling to and from work may be an option.
- If you live relatively close to where you work, try walking.
6. Cost of Internet in San Jose
Internet prices in the States are expensive compared with many other countries in the world. Here are some sample broadband internet prices from early 2017 for unlimited downloads, based on a 12-month contract:
7. Cost of Clothing, Personal Items, Gym and Leisure
San Jose’s hottest month is in April where the temperature reaches an average high of 77°F (25°C). Its coldest month is in January, where the average temperature plummets to 72°F (22°C)! September is the wettest month with an average rainfall of 9 inches (240mm).
San Jose enjoys around 300 days of sunshine a year.
Here are some clothing prices, together with other useful prices.
- Pair of Jeans: $34 – $60
- Summer Dress: $25 – $75
- Running Shoes (Trainers): $50 – $85
- Business Shoes: $60 – $130
- Short Doctor’s visit (15 mins): $94
- Deodorant: $3.40
- Shampoo: $5.21
- Toilet Paper (4 rolls): $3.12
- Gym membership: $20-$50 per month
- Movie (cinema) ticket: $12-$15
8. Cost of Owning a Car and Driving a Car in San Jose
Lots of people drive in San Jose and the traffic gets very congested throughout the day.
If you’re moving to San Jose from within the US, you’ll be able to keep your license but need to update your address to your new one.
You can drive on a foreign license for up to 12 months as a tourist but after that you will need to get an American license. If you are working or studying in the US, you can drive on your foreign license for 30 days. If you want to exchange your foreign driver’s license you have to follow the process here.
Here are some other sample costs of owning and operating a car in San Jose:
- Volkswagen Golf: $22,000
- 1 litre (¼ gallon) of gas (petrol): $0.76
- Other fees (if any): The average cost of state and local taxes, license, title and registration fees is $665 per annum
Ways to save money driving in San Jose
- Car sharing or pooling is one way to save money. Try Car Pool World, Ridesharing and eRideshare.
- Taxis can sometimes be a cheaper option, especially if you are going to have to park all day. Try Uber and Uberpool and Lyft.
Need your car/vehicle moved to San Jose? Then read our guide to: Car Transport & Vehicle Shipping
9. Taxes in San Jose
Sales Tax in San Jose is 8.875% and is added to most goods and services. Generally, the price you see on an item does not include sales tax.
If you own your home, you will be subject to property tax based on the area in which you live and the size of the property you live in. Learn more about property tax in San Jose at Property Tax.
Finally, if you decide to buy an apartment or house in San Jose you’ll have to pay real estate transfer tax.
10. Flight Costs from San Jose
If you do make the move to San Jose, here’s approximately how much it will cost to fly to other major world cities based on lowest, one-way fares from Skyscanner as of early 2017:
- London: $346
- Los Angeles: $59
- New York: $125
- Toronto: $163
- Vancouver: $89
- Dubai: $626
- Sydney: $590
- Melbourne: $582
- Cape Town: $942
- Hong Kong: $389
Other San Jose Relocation Tips
The costs and pricing above should give you a good idea of the cost of living in San Jose but perhaps the following extra tips will make your move go smoothly.
11. Relocating to San Jose Alone
Moving anywhere can be a lonely experience, but moving to a new city can be rather daunting. Here are a few tips about settling in San Jose.
- Meetups: San Jose has lots of Meetup groups to ease you into your new life in a new city. There are groups for most people’s interests, from Pilates through to gaming, baseball or languages.
- Attend local events: There’s always something going on in San Jose, so whether you are interested in the theatre, sports or just socialising with like-minded souls, you’ll find something to do in San Jose. Have a look at San Jose Events, 10 Best, TripAdvisor and Things to do and find an event you’ll enjoy.
12.Moving to San Jose with a Family
San Jose has a lot to attract families. It is close to the mountains and the sea and is great for those families who love the outdoor life. There are lots of parks, museums, the zoo and much, much more.
- New parents (or parents to be): Check out PAMF or Thrive for advice, courses and ways to meet other parents or parents to be.
- Live in a family friendly area: San Jose is considered a safe and friendly environment for families. The best areas are Willow Glen, Cambrian Park, Blossom Valley, Almaden Valley and Santa Teresa. Read in depths accounts of these areas
- Find things to do with the kids: San Jose has lots for kids to do and see on all those sunny days. Have a look at the following sites to get ideas – San Jose, Family Days Out, Trip Buzz and Vacation Idea.
13.Moving to San Jose for Work
San Jose and Silicon Valley are the ultimate places to work for those people who love anything high tech. Moving to San Jose for work is one of the most common reasons people choose to move and many of the companies treat their employees like royalty.
While it is possible to move without a job, it makes sense to ensure there are jobs in your field before you make the move.
Here are a few things to consider when moving for work:
- Salary: Salaries in San Jose are high. The costs we outlined above should give you a rough idea, how much more you’ll want to be making to make the move worthwhile. You can also check salary ranges on sites such as Glassdoor and Payscale.
- How to find work: If you want to have a job lined up before you move to San Jose, but aren’t sure where to begin, the following sites are good places to start: Monster, Indeed, Snagajob, Craigslist and Career Builder. You may also want to google recruiters in your industry, as they can often help land you some initial interviews as well.
14. Moving to San Jose from Australia
There are around 60,000 Australians living in California, so you will definitely be able to meet up with some of them and talk about home. If you are thinking of moving from Australia to San Jose, here are a few things to consider.
- Size comparison: If you compare the population size of San Jose with a city in Australia, then the closest would be Adelaide.
- Join expat groups: Internations, Meetup and Aussies Only Club offer ways of meeting up with other Australians in San Joe.
15. Moving to San Jose from Canada
California has attracted well a large number of Canadians so if you’re considering joining them, here are a few things to consider.
- Size: Edmonton, Alberta is the nearest in size to San Jose if we look at population sizes of the two cities.
- Expat groups: Meeting up with fellow Canadians helps the moving process. Link up through sites such as Meet Up and Internations.
16. Moving to San Jose from the United Kingdom
San Jose attracts computer geniuses from the UK, so if you’re considering joining them, here are a few bonus tips:
- Size: If you look at the population size of San Jose, Birmingham is the closest to it.
- Expat groups: If you want to get together with others from the UK who are experiencing those 300 days of sunshine per annum, then go to Internations and Meetup.
Hopefully, the tips and costs above are helpful. If want to get started pricing out how much it will cost you to move to San Jose you can start by comparing moving quotes here.
Guides to other cities in the Bay Area & Silicon Valley
Guides to other cities in California
Guides to moving and living in other American cities