"It's Just Too Expensive" - Almost Half Bay Area Residents "Want Out"

Reports of an 'exodus' from California are no longer click-bait headlines, but the very real life-affecting decisions sending the 'great middle-class' anywhere but 'here' are becoming more vivid every month.

The latest example of widespread pain comes from the San Francisco Bay Area where a poll released this week by a local advocacy group showed that 46 percent of Bay Area residents surveyed said they want to move out of the area within the next few years. That number is up from 34 percent in 2016 and 40 percent last year in the same poll.

As SacBee's Michael McGough reports, the reason for the urge to leave might be pretty obvious, at least to anyone knowledgeable on California: It's just too expensive.

Cost of living (45 percent) and housing prices (27 percent) were the main reasons cited among the 461 residents who said they want out.

On top of that, 42 percent of survey respondents called housing costs/availability the most important problem facing the area, beating out traffic (18 percent) and poverty/homelessness (14 percent).

They may be the highest there, but housing prices aren't just booming in the Bay Area.

A statewide poll conducted by UC Berkeley last year showed 56 percent of voters have considered moving due to the housing crisis - and 1 in 4 of those residents said they'd leave the state.

Some are already making good on that promise. Recent data confirm that Sacramento is experiencing its highest rate of domestic migrationin over a decade.

It's not just housing prices driving the exodus, of course. Punitive taxes - more than twice as much as some other states, are eating away at disposable income. Nearby Arizona's income tax rate is 4.54% vs. California's 9.3%, while the new tax bill may accelerate the exodus.


As Snyder notes:

"But now the new tax bill has made some major changes, and some experts believe that this will actually accelerate the exodus out of the state of California.  The following comes from CNBC…"

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal headlined “So Long, California. Sayonara, New York,” Laffer and Moore (who have both advised President Donald Trump) say the new tax bill will cause a net 800,000 people to move out of California and New York over the next three years.

The tax changes limit the deduction of state and local taxes to $10,000, so many high-earning taxpayers in high-tax states will actually face a tax increase under the new tax code.

So where are people going?

The top destination for Bay Area residents is either a cheaper part of the state such as Alameda, Sacramento, San Juaquin or Placer counties, where homes can be found for $500K - $894K less than Santa Clara. Silicon Valley residents heading out of state are setting up camp in Arizona, Nevada, Idaho and Texas. 

And as South Bay Silicon Valley residents in particular are flocking to nearby Alameda County - one of the top destinations for in-state moves, Alameda County residents are being pushed further east to lower-cost Contra Costa, San Juaquin, Sacramento and Placer counties. 

Meanwhile, the median home price in Sacramento County — $357,000 — has risen each month for the past six years, the Sacramento Bee reported last week, jumping by 12 percent in the past year. -Mercury News