California is renowned for many things: beautiful landscapes, hiking trails, Hollywood, but also, expensive living. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that many Californians are moving to other states to find cheaper housing and a better cost of living. But where are they moving to the most? The answer is Texas, according to a recent study from StorageCafe.

StorageCafe’s report found that 111K people—or 300 people a day—moved from California to Texas in 2021, the peak period of the last decade, a whopping 80% increase compared to 2012 figures. 

Key highlights:

  • Nineteen percent of movers to Texas are from California. Out of the 591,000 people who moved to Texas in 2021, 111,000 were from California.
  • Most people moving from California to Texas are millennials, making up 46% of those decamping to Texas. Gen Xers are also jumping on the bandwagon at 21%. Baby boomers and Gen Zers are also joining in, but in much smaller numbers, 15.3% and 20.9%, respectively.
  • Incomes are lower in Texas compared to California ($97,654 versus $118,586), but so is the cost of living (92.3 cost of living index versus 139.4).
  • Median home prices are lower in Texas than California ($408,000 versus  $689,880), as are rent prices ($1,453 versus $2,515).
  • Homes in Texas average 2,178 square feet, about 300 square feet larger than California’s average of 1,856 square feet.
  • Texas can also help those who move in further maximize living space with self storage, boasting over 10.3 square feet of storage space per person. California, on the other hand, offers 6.3 square feet of storage space.
  • Overall, a typical home in Texas is about 70% cheaper than in California. But the price gap can reach a whopping 258% for residents moving from Santa Clara to Dallas County. That’s more than $1M in savings for those buying in the Dallas area versus San Jose.

The takeaway:

“Migration patterns are closely connected to the dynamics of economy in the post-pandemic world. Inflation continues to be a major concern, putting a financial strain on many people as they spend more of their income on typical expenses,” says Doug Ressler, business intelligence manager for Yardi Matrix. “As a result, moving to places that are easier on the wallet seems like the obvious solution, with many people crossing city and state lines to find a more suitable place to live.”

“We have certainly seen a large influx of people moving from California to Texas,” says Chance Brown, broker/owner of CB&A, REALTORS® in Houston, Texas. “The primary drivers behind this, from what we have seen, has either been because their employer has moved here to escape the high-tax, high-regulation environment in California or they have moved here because of a lower cost of living. Certainly the ability to work remotely for many people has influenced their move from high-cost states. It isn’t only California that people are leaving in droves.”

“As a real estate professional, it’s impossible to ignore the notable trend of Californians making the move to Texas,” says Nimesh Patel, broker/owner of RE/MAX Fine Properties in Sugar Land, Texas. “The influx of Californian buyers has brought a fresh wave of energy to the local real estate market, creating increased demand and stimulating growth. It’s fascinating to witness how this migration is reshaping the landscape of the industry. Texan allure lies in its unique offerings that distinguish it from California. The Lone Star State boasts a business-friendly environment, diverse job opportunities and a strong sense of community. With its vibrant cities, expansive landscapes and warm Southern hospitality, Texas has become an attractive destination for those seeking a fresh start.

“A major reason that draws Californians to Texas is the remarkable difference in affordability and the opportunity to get more bang for your buck in real estate. In Texas, your hard-earned money stretches further, allowing you to explore a range of housing options that may have seemed out of reach in California. Additionally, in this age of remote working, Texas also gives buyers the freedom of choosing where and what kind of home they want to live in.

“With this influx, it’s important for real estate professionals to stay informed about the motivations and expectations of Californian buyers. Understanding their priorities and guiding them through the transition with local expertise and market knowledge is essential in providing excellent service. With that said, we are looking forward to welcoming our new neighbors to the cultural and demographic tapestry of our beloved Texas. By choosing Texas, individuals can experience a higher quality of life and enjoy the benefits of homeownership without sacrificing their financial well-being.”

To read the full report, click here.

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