A Bay Area mover’s checklist:
Rising home prices?
Click desperately through real estate websites for a cheaper home and a better life?
Efforts to move out of the Bay Area continued in recent months, with 16,000 residents packing up and taking to the road for less expensive housing and new opportunities. A study by real estate brokerage Redfin found the Bay Area remains the top region for outward migration in the country.
The most popular destination for Bay Area refugees remains Sacramento, followed by other tech hubs and California cities. “It’s pretty much in line with what we’ve seen for the past few years,” said Taylor Marr, senior economist at Redfin. “Many people leaving the Bay Area are still looking in California.”
The steady climb in real estate prices has made first-time home-buying expensive and frustrating for many newcomers. And rents continued to rise year over year, especially around tech giant headquarters in Silicon Valley.
The median price in December for a single-family home in Santa Clara County was $1.2 million, while a similar home in San Mateo was $1.4 million, and in Alameda, $838,000, according to real estate firm CoreLogic. A comparable home in Sacramento is $314,000, according to Zillow.
Overall, the region’s population continues to grow. But the number of outgoing residents has hit its highest point in more than a decade, according to a report released Wednesday by Joint Venture Silicon Valley.
People are leaving Silicon Valley nearly as quickly as they are coming in. Between July 2015 and July 2017, the region gained 44,732 immigrants but lost 44,102 residents to other parts of California and the country, according to the regional think tank. The population drops have been most notable on residents from the ages of 18 to 24, and from 45 to 64.
Redfin analysts combine sales data and searches on their website to determine where users are moving. For the past nine months, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles have had the highest number of residents moving out.
About 1 in 4 Bay Area residents looking to leave searched for homes in Sacramento, and nearly 1 in 10 browsed Seattle listings. The top five destinations for Bay Area movers were Sacramento, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and San Diego.
The Bay Area migration also causes ripples through other housing markets, Marr said. Relatively wealthy Silicon Valley residents bid up home prices in other cities, lifting values in their new regions.
Sandy Jamison, owner and broker at Tuscana Properties in San Jose, has seen several homeowners cash in and move to cheaper areas. Among her recent listings of homes for sale, nine of 10 owners are leaving the state.
Her recent clients have moved to Colorado, Idaho, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire and several other states, she said. “They’re going everywhere.”
A typical client has been in their home for decades, and no longer feels connected to the changing community, she said. Selling a family home for $1 million in the valley and buying a new home for half the price in another state makes sense for many retirees, she said.
“It’s a newer house, in a newer area,” Jamison said. “And now they’re set up for retirement.”