Growing number of Californians considering moving from state: Survey
LOS ANGELES — A growing number of Californians are contemplating moving from the state — and not due to wildfires or earthquakes but the sky-high cost of living, according to a survey released Wednesday.
The online survey, conducted last month by Edelman Intelligence, found sentiment of leaving the nation’s most populous state highest among millennials.
Fifty-three percent of Californians surveyed are considering fleeing, representing a jump over the 49 percent polled a year ago.
“There’s no doubt that California’s economy, for all of its strengths when it comes to innovation and creating these industries that people want to be part of, is struggling with high costs,” said Aaron Terrazas, a senior economist with online real estate site Zillow. “Costs have gotten way ahead of incomes in California, and that’s making a lot of people think about whether it’s worth the hurdles.”
According to Edelman, 63 percent of millennials in the 2019 survey indicated they were considering moving from sunny California. The chief reason for dissatisfaction: housing.
In fact, 60 percent of millennials surveyed cited housing cost and availability when asked in general what reasons would make them leave California. That was slightly higher than the general population (55 percent), although sentiment among renters topped the survey with 65 percent citing housing factors as a reason to leave.
Californians believe housing costs are four times more threatening to state’s economy than high health costs. Residents also consider crime and security as a top-three concern.
Terrazas said millennials in California who are “tired of renting and looking to settle down and buy a home are finding it’s often out of reach for them.” He said this is especially the case in coastal job centers of the state, whether Los Angeles County or the San Francisco Bay Area.
“California just doesn’t strike them as reasonable,” the economist said. “The state has consistently seen much faster home value appreciation than most of the country, and the same goes for rent until about two years. Rents have begun to slow down, … although they remain at high levels.”
Terrazas said Southern California has high housing costs and on average lower incomes than Northern California. “In some ways, Southern California is in much dire straits,” he said.
Even with higher average incomes in Silicon Valley, though, he said homebuyers now must spent about half of their pretax incomes on a monthly mortgage for the median home. The median home in the Silicon Valley market topped $1.2 million at the end of 2018, according to Zillow data.
Statewide, the median home value in California was $547,400 at the end of 2018, while the U.S. median home value was $223,900. By comparison, the median home value in New York state stood at $289,000 and $681,500 in New York City; New Jersey was $324,700.
The Edelman survey found 47 percent of Californians are considering moving out of the state in the next five years. Again, it found the rates among millennials were higher with 55 percent of them contemplating the move. And 57 percent of Californians with kids under 18 also were considering packing up and leaving in the next five years.
Overall, the survey involved a total of 1,900 California residents and was conducted Jan. 4 to Jan. 20. It said results were weighted to the Census to be representative of the state’s adult population.
A report from California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office last year indicated Texas, Arizona, Oregon and Nevada are popular destinations for relocating Californians. It also found families with kids and those Californians with only a high school education were most likely to flee to lower cost states than college educated residents.
Finally, the survey found more than 60 percent of residents feel that the best days of living in California are behind instead of ahead. And a large number of residents are “ambivalent” toward tech as an engine of prosperity, the survey said.