Earthquake risks (in St. Louis)

So, I don’t know exactly what my question is, but I’m looking at St. Louis houses and also the risks of the New Madrid fault:

I know many of you are kind of blaise’ about earthquake risk out here. Does the New Madrid fault freak you out when the local faults don’t?

Is there reason to believe that St. Louis houses are overall ridiculously more unsafe than what’s still standing in the Bay Area? After all, if it didn’t topple in the last 100 years in the Bay Area, it can’t be too bad right, but St. Louis hasn’t seen a New Madrid major quake since 1811? Plus wouldn’t the New Madrid fault see greater earthquakes than CA ever does?

What are your thoughts? Serious question, as I’m seriously considering moving to St. Louis, but I don’t particularly care to be moving out of the frying pan into the fire, so to speak.

Simple just rent…Or get earthquake insurance…Appreciation is low and so is the earthquake risk…Not a lot of risk…But rents are pretty stable, so renting at least for a year or two seems the most sensible.

Honestly, the whole purpose of moving elsewhere is to own. Not interested in renting anymore. I want control over my environment, from who is hired to fix things to whether or not I can renovate my house, buy solar panels, install whole house A/C, etc. etc.

Appreciation is irrelevant.

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St Luis? How is the job market there? Washington University is there

I don’t know–that’s my husband’s job to figure out, but I figure programmers are useful pretty much anywhere. He won’t get to get work for a company like Apple or Amazon unless he’s a remote worker (which I don’t think is a good match), but that’s the choice he needs to face when it comes to the question of buying a small house here, or a larger house in a cheaper city.

I’ve located a school district that should be good for our kids and a private option for the oldest if it would be a better match (still checking whether he can do dual enrollment, but there’s a university very close by). The private has a pretty good selection of programming classes, the public is high ranked in MO, has a math club and board gaming club and sent someone to the International Math Olympiad, so both choices have something significant to offer.

And there’s a Tech shop there for me.

Plus it’s in driving distance to his family (close enough to drive, but not close enough to have to come over when we don’t want to), and he has relatives in St. Louis itself whose company I enjoy.

I finally came to the realization that the question of where to move needs to take in accountwhat is happening with his family. His siblings and parents are all in C hicago, and they’re the kind of family that expects to get together for holidays, baptisms, funerals, and decade birthdays (for example, they went on whole family trips for both my husband’s 30th and 40th birthdays). Every time we go there, it’s about $3-4K. So if he’s going multiple times a year, it’s really adding up. It dawned on me that this is half the problem that needs to be solved as it’s causing about as much stress as the housing market for me to try to keep these trips down to once a year. Often his parents are paying for them, but I feel that this habit of them having to subsidize us encourages them to view and treat us as children, which causes a lot of friction. We need to be fully financially independent of them.

I would bet that your husband will stay in BA and also will buy a house in BA, probably at a higher price than today

I would also bet that the most likely places he would buy

Half moon bay

Interesting that you wrote this. Half moon bay is too far of a trek, but I have definitely considered Pacifica. And I was just looking at Piedmont listings yesterday. I just don’t know much about these areas especially the schools. I was also looking at right across the Dumbarton as I could do the bridge trek every day and the younger two could stay in their school/schools, and then I could go to Tech shop right after drop off. Drawback is that DS1 is very hesitant to ride Bart as one of his schoolmates was threatened (aka robbed) on Bart but I don’t know which line–I can’t imagine Daly City towards SF is that bad, but I don’t know about the line as it goes to Fremont.

Piedmont has superb schools. I would be glad to live there. Piedmont is still a bargain. Neighborhood is almost all white plus a small percentage of Asian. I considered investment in Piedmont, but rent is not proportionally high as the price

Berkeley is also a good place to live if you want convenience.

If you are ok wth St Luis, much of East Bay would be good.

If you don’t mind Bart, Pleasanton and Dublin are also really good places to live

Fremont, Union City also are good choices at low price

If fear of price drop, you can buy a house with zero down, or 5% down. In the beginning, you pay higher interest to enjoy the low risk of principal loss. When it appreciated by 20%, you can refinance to a good rate.

If the worst happens and the price drops 50% and you can’t pay mortgage, you can stop paying and enjoy some months of free living.

You have paid a lot of tax, why not let the system to shoulder a little bit of risk for you?


The best solution is to ask your husband go work for WorkDay in Pleasanton and buy a brand new house in Dublin. You’ll have a better life than St Luis


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Pleasanton and Dublin are too far away from Tech shop. Piedmont is probably fine though… Wouldn’t make the trip everyday, but that’s ok.

If you drive, DUBLIN/Pleasanton is about the same distance to peninsula as Piedmont. Piedmont is close to SF

If SF is important, you can consider Lomarinda as well. It’s safe and schools are good

There are Tech shops in SF and SJ as well. No parking at those though, so it’s a bit of a PIA. SF is important as my husband works in the city and DS1 goes to school there. But I wouldn’t move into the city at all.

Why do you dislike St. Louis, out of curiosity? Have you lived there?

I never visited St Louis and have no idea how nice or miserable to live there.

But numbers show that St Louis has 20% of houses vacant and it last more than 50% population from the peak. Ferguson is also widely reported.

But there could be great suburbs.

I’m open minded and think that many cities can be a great place to live. There must be great neighborhoods in St Louis. But overall, population decline tells some problems in economy.

Also Silicon Valley is actually the ideal place for white professionals. I think white professionals can get better career here and have much quicker path to promotion, simply due to the smaller percentage of white competitors. A white professional can have a better career in a company with 25% white than a 80% white company. Immigrants are facing more challenges at work

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@Terri, have you been to St Louis?

I have. In July 1991, I believe. Back then my lifestyle included daily running (5 miles or so). I recall that I felt the need to shower every 20 minutes when I was outside, regardless of whether I was running or just sitting around. The place where I was staid did not have A/C, just lots of ceiling fans. I think I lasted 4 days.

It was too warm and too humid.

East Bay is much better.

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Yes. I’ve been there multiple times, frequently at Christmas. I figure the weather is better than Boston/Chicago in the winter as it’s on the milder side. I’m not sure when/if I’ve been there in the summer–would have to think back through the trips.

If you want proximity to Chicago, I’d prefer Indianapolis or Columbus over St Louis.

No Tech shop in those cities though and we don’t know anyone in either of those cities.


Do not move to St Lou. If I were in tech and honestly didn’t have a lot of money to blow on a house, Fremont would be on my radar. Yes, may have to commute some but you can get a detached SFH with a decent sized lot. Will run you probably now in the 700k range but if you had bought when I was first on here you could have gotten something in the 600s easily.

Ok. Finally got the redfin search working (i swear-it wasn’t doing boundaries right last time I tried). Piedmont is out of our price range.

We need $350-450/sq ft and schools able to handle high-achieving kids (tests ranging 85-98th %ile).

Or we need to be able to commute to Redwood City [without it being super draining–ie Pleasanton with kids every day ain’t going to be pleasant]