September 23, 2023

In recent times, crimson states have relished the possibility to take a deep dig at darkish blue California: The Golden State is hemorrhaging residents, and plenty of are transferring to the low-tax Republican havens of Texas, Arizona and Florida.

So it looks as if a no brainer that liberal-minded Austin or Phoenix, the place you should purchase a pleasant home with a pool for $500,000, could be the highest stops on the California exodus pipeline.

But it surely seems the largest draw for Bay Space transplants is in a wholly totally different route.

Attempt our wet neighbor to the north: Seattle.

King County, Washington, topped the IRS migration listing of out-of-state relocation locations for individuals leaving 4 of the 5 core Bay Space counties in 2021: Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara.

Greater than 7,600 Bay Space residents moved to Seattle within the thick of the COVID pandemic, which set off a remote-work revolution that freed workers from being certain to abodes close to the workplace.

However wait … Seattle?

It’s a revelation that shocked even Russell Hancock, CEO of Joint Enterprise Silicon Valley, a regional assume tank.

Christine Stephens, left, and her husband, Blake, with their youngsters in entrance of their house in Bellevue, Washington, on Thursday, August 3, 2023. The Stephens moved from Fremont, Calif., to a five-bedroom, three-bath, 3,000-square-foot home with big home windows overlooking a inexperienced protect with 50-foot pine timber and big-leaf maples in Eastgate neighborhood simply exterior Seattle. (Picture by John Lok for Bay Space Information Group) 

“I consider Seattle as Silicon Valley with the identical stuff. I imply, equally fraught — rising costs and a variety of crowding,” Hancock stated. “So individuals are saying, ‘I’ve had it. I’ve had it with the Bay Space. I’ve had it with San Francisco. I can’t cope with any extra homelessness. I’m uninterested in seeing needles and feces on the road.’ Effectively, that’s all up in Seattle as nicely. In order that’s why I’m shocked.”

However in some ways, Seattle is a pure vacation spot for Bay Space refugees, consultants say. It has comparable politics, a well-developed tech sector, no state revenue tax and comparatively cheaper housing.

No, housing in Seattle isn’t low-cost. However it’s cheaper than in many of the Bay Space. The median house value in Santa Clara County was $1.47 million this June. In King County, it was $815,000.

The one main Bay Space County with a decrease common housing value — Contra Costa — additionally occurs to be the one one for which Seattle isn’t the highest out-of-state vacation spot for residents on the transfer. As an alternative, Contra Costans moved in larger numbers to Phoenix’s Maricopa County or Las Vegas’ Clark County, Nevada, the place housing prices are even decrease.

Whereas politicians in crimson states prefer to imagine that liberal politics and insurance policies are driving away Californians — certainly, one in three votes solid in California within the 2020 presidential election have been for Donald Trump — consultants say the price of housing continues to be the No. 1 purpose they packed their luggage.

“You can’t overstate the significance of housing in individuals’s selections to depart the state,” stated Hans Johnson, a demographer and senior fellow on the Public Coverage Institute of California. “I’m not saying politics don’t matter. I’m not saying revenue taxes don’t matter in any respect, however they’re definitely not the principle purpose.”

Cue the Stephens household — Christine and Blake and their two youngsters, a 4-year-old son and a 14-month-old daughter.

Over the earlier 10 years, they moved seven instances, from Hayward to Santa Clara and North San Jose, all the time looking for a greater place to boost their children and get monetary savings for a down cost on a spot of their very own. They lastly settled right into a $3,200 “naked bones” rental in Fremont, the place they bundled up within the winter when the heating gave out and sweltered in the summertime with out air con.

Nonetheless, when Blake was supplied a software program engineering job at Amazon in Seattle in November 2020, he was reluctant to take it. He’d miss their pals. Apart from, Seattle costs have been sky-high, too, weren’t they?

“He was actually, like utterly in opposition to it,” Christine stated, “till I pulled up Zillow.”

Within the Bay Space, $1 million may purchase them not more than a 1,400-square-foot, 3-bedroom house with a tiny lot in a foul neighborhood, she stated. A cellular house would value half that, however they’d nonetheless need to pay lease on the house.

In Bellevue, simply exterior of Seattle?

For $1.1 million, they discovered their ideally suited house in a quiet neighborhood with a top-rated faculty district: a five-bedroom, three-bath, 3,000-square-foot home with big home windows overlooking a inexperienced protect with 50-foot pine timber and big-leaf maples. Their yard faces a nature path that runs alongside a quiet stream.

“On a quiet day like right now, I can sit on my again deck and take heed to a waterfall. I don’t need to understate it. My husband and I are always (saying) it’s laborious to go on trip now as a result of the locations that we keep aren’t as good as” our house, Christine Stephens stated. “We may by no means have afforded one thing this measurement within the Bay.”

It wasn’t way back that Seattlites have been those clamoring to commerce in 152 days of rain annually for the sun-soaked Bay Space.

From 2011-2014, the web move of migration between the 2 areas was tilted largely within the Bay Space’s favor, with extra Seattle-area residents transferring to many Bay Space counties than the reverse. However ever since 2015-2016, Seattle claimed the higher hand. And the pandemic kicked that up a notch.

In 2019, King County gained a internet 619 individuals in household strikes to and from Santa Clara County. In 2021, that quantity greater than doubled, to 1,639.

Maricopa County (Phoenix) and Travis County (Austin, Texas) are among the many different massive, metro-area counties that routinely flip up as the highest locations for on-the-move Bay Space residents. And for Californians as a complete, Texas (105,000) drew greater than twice as many transplants as Washington state (47,000) from the Golden State in 2021, the newest 12 months of relocation information from the IRS.

Nonetheless, most individuals who left the Bay Space didn’t even go away the state. Practically 69% of people that relocated out of Alameda County, for instance, moved to a different a part of California in 2021. Specialists say that many individuals who flee the Bay Space wish to relocate to cheaper, extra bucolic counties close by the place housing costs are decrease.

Though the Stephenses would possibly see a world of distinction between Silicon Valley and Seattle, the 2 area’s dueling chambers of commerce would possibly as nicely be sisters.

Their issues are so comparable that the Seattle chamber despatched down a delegation in June to see how San Jose is tackling its most intractable points — housing, homelessness and public security.

As a lot as the 2 areas share issues, nonetheless, additionally they share among the similar attributes — magnificence and recreation alternatives abound.