It is indeed possible to have a city full of low-rise buildings that is still compact enough for excellent transit service—but only if most side streets are used for mid-rise buildings instead of houses.
Kathleen Pender, business columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, points to two reasons why home prices rise amidst a Bay Area exodus to other states. On a state level, out-migration shows California's strong but dysfunctional economy.
Homeowners in almost every corner of the United States are making more off the accruing value of their homes every hour than minimum wage workers. In some cases, homeowners are even making a lot more than decent middle class wages.
Vancouver is famous for high-rises and a decidedly urban quality of life, but housing prices are still skyrocketing. A new ten-year housing strategy proposes a few drastic measures to rebalance the market's scales.