With more than 39 million people, California boasts the fifth largest economy in the world. It is home to a diverse cross-section of American culture with towering redwood trees and beautiful beaches alongside major tech companies and Hollywood's glittering lights.
Despite the popularity of the Golden State, Californians are fleeing the state at an alarming rate. The most popular destination? The great state of Texas.
What drives people to leave, and what does this migration mean for Texas's real estate market?
What Is Driving the Texas Migration?
While California has a lot to offer, the state has downsides, which may be contributing to residents leaving the Golden State for greener pastures. In fact, more than 86,000 people left California for Texas in 2018 alone. What is causing residents to go? Here are a few of the most common reasons Californians are moving.
California wildfires are nothing new, but an increase in the severity and spread of wildfires has left many Californians fleeing for safer shores. The state's fire season runs from July to December, often coating cities with choking smoke and causing electricity blackouts that can last weeks. According to Verisk Wild Fire Risk Analysis, more than 2 million California homes are now at high or extreme risk from wildfires.
High Cost of Living
The median home price in California is $552,800. Considering the median home price across the United States is just $231,200, this puts homeownership out of reach for all but the wealthiest Californians. While the state does boast low healthcare costs, the price of groceries, housing, and transportation are among the highest in the country. In Texas, however, the median cost of a home is just $177,100.
A Rise in Remote Work Opportunities
Remote working has been on the rise for years, but COVID-19 increased the number of remote workers considerably. Many workers realize they can continue to grow their careers with California-based companies, even while living hundreds of miles away. The shift to remote work allows Californians to live in lower cost-of-living areas while maintaining their high salaries.
Comedian Joe Rogan, actor Matthew McConaughey, and Elijah Wood are just a few celebrities ditching California for a slower life in Texas. While some celebrities, like McConaughey, grew up in Texas and moved to be close to family, others cite the high cost of living and rising taxes for their relocation. Recently, Elon Musk, moved to Texas prior to the opening of the new Tesla Gigafactory being built in Austin.
What Does This Mean for the Texas Real Estate Industry?
As a record number of Californian residents relocate to The Lone Star State, the real estate industry is growing rapidly. The average cost of a home in Texas is on the rise, making now an ideal time for the real estate industry. As housing prices rise, so do the average commissions for real estate agents and brokers.
However, the number of houses for sale in the state is plunging, which could result in higher prices in the long run. Dr. James Gaines, the chief economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, believes the Texas real estate market will continue to grow, however.
“In the long term, there will be continued demand within the Texas housing market as long as the job market is able to rebound quickly," said Dr. Gaines.
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