Laura and Rochelle both lived in Livermore -- less than six miles from each other – for almost 15 years, but they didn’t meet until a few months ago after both of them had moved to nearby small towns in Idaho.
Laura says most of the people she’s met in her new community are from California.
In fact, a growing number of folks are leaving the Golden State for The Gem State, especially the Boise area, where Laura, Rochelle and their husbands have settled. Some, like these two couples, are looking for an affordable place to retire. Others are moving to be close to family or to take a new job.
About 1 million more people moved out of California than arrived here between 2007 and 2016, according to data from the American Community Survey, and the trend appears to be gathering steam.
One key reason is housing: the median price of housing in our state is about double that for the nation, and the median in the Bay Area is almost double that again.
But it isn’t just cost. Even for those making high salaries, there are not enough homes available here to purchase.
Even with increased development, economists predict the statewide shortage will reach 3 million homes by 2025, which likely will push up prices even more.
Boise is a popular destination, but it isn’t the top choice – in fact, it isn’t even in the top 10. That distinction belongs to Las Vegas, followed by New York City, Phoenix, Dallas, Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago and Denver.
Tucson and Miami rank as the cities most searched on the Internet by Californians, so they may be top destinations in the near future. And about 75 percent of people searching for new homes in Reno this year are from California, with just under half from the Bay Area, according to Redfin.com housing search data.
The top 10 states Californians are moving to include neighboring states, states with significant economic hubs and traditional retirement destinations. They are, in order: Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Florida, Colorado, Utah, New York and Georgia.
The states Californians are least likely to move to are Maine, North Dakota and West Virginia.
In the Bay Area, about 80 percent of homesellers stay in their same county. Among those who don’t, most move to other parts of the state. The most popular state to move to for folks from this region is Oregon.
Of course, not all the migration flows out of state. People moving into California from other states are coming here most often from New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Michigan, followed by Florida, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland and Wisconsin.
In addition to housing concerns, people move in or out of state for a variety of reasons, including career or educational opportunities, family, traffic, taxes, climate, recreational activities, health and adventure.
While much has been made of the fact that large numbers of people are leaving, a very small percentage of Californians move to other states.
In fact, California’s retention rate of 1.66 percent is the third best in the nation, after Texas and Michigan.
With nearly 40 million people, California is by far the most populous state in the union, so it makes sense that both of these facts can be true.
What we are seeing, though, are significant shifts in demographics, with more young people and retirees moving away. Those in the middle – especially highly educated folks – are coming here, often for jobs in the tech industry.
Despite the chatter about how high taxes will drive the wealthy out of California, those moving here from other states tend to have significantly higher incomes than those moving out, according to information from the U.S. Census Bureau.
They move here for many of the same reasons most of us stay here – well-paying jobs, world-class universities, temperate climate, natural beauty, lively and diverse culture, as well as family and other considerations.
And California’s population is still growing, mostly due to births and migration from outside the United States, primarily from Asian countries.
If you are one of those folks thinking about moving out of state – or even to another part of California – your trusted local Realtor can, of course, represent you in selling your current home.
But did you know he or she may also be able to help you find the right agent to help you purchase a home in your new destination?
Realtors network with other agents across the country – and sometimes beyond -- and can research which Realtors have the experience and the skills to do a great job for you.
Local Realtors are happy to perform this service, usually at no cost. Often the other agent will pay him or her a referral fee when the transaction is complete.
If you are thinking about selling – or buying – real estate, contact your local Realtor today.
Cher Wollard is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties, Livermore.