The Top Cities People Move to From Los Angeles
It’s a Great Time To Sell A Southern California Home, But Where Would You Go? Try These Top Rated Cities.
- THE CITIES CALIFORNIANS ARE MOVING TO AND WHY
- HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOODS
- AVERAGE HOME PRICES
- THE BEST LOCAL AGENT TO SPEAK TO
The global pandemic forced all of us to re-evaluate what is truly important in life and for some, that means moving from Los Angeles.
Southern California runs at a pretty frenetic pace, multitasking through our days as we battle traffic and the clock for the sake of work. This prioritization of our jobs over personal life is necessary to offset the price we all pay to live here. The cost of living in Los Angeles ranks in the top 10 most expensive cities in the US and is the 6th most expensive on a price per square foot basis for real estate.
Traditionally, high-paying jobs would anchor us to this region, but in a post-pandemic world, many are realizing they can work from places other than an office tower. While the future is uncertain on how long companies will continue to support a Work-From-Home policy, there is a major shift in thinking as people explore other regions to call home.
Compass, the brokerage I work for, is nationwide with 18,000 agents spread across 300 offices around the country. During the pandemic, I was part of a select group of highly acclaimed agents from cities coast to coast who would connect on a Zoom Happy Hour. We shared stories of market activity and got to know each other on a personal basis. Our Zooms were a great way to connect, have some laughs and learn about where people are moving to.
I reached out to this select network of agents in some of the most popular relocation markets for Californians to get a true sense of what living there would be like. If you are considering selling your home in Southern California and relocating, chances are it is to one of these regions.
Relocating to Austin Texas
Austin Texas has been ranking high on many best places to live lists for a few years now due to its affordability, job prospects, and quality of life. The weather and booming tech sector, in particular, has made it quite attractive for Californians to move there.
To get the inside scoop, I reached out to Compass agent Marquette Reddam of the Homeseville Realty Group. Marquette and her husband Paul are the epitome of the realness you imagine a Texan being. Paul seamlessly blends over 23 years of real estate experience with a cool casual style that is solutions-driven.
This dynamic duo has seen a massive increase of Californians moving to Austin. Pre-pandemic, 30% of their business was Californians relocating to Austin, that number has doubled to 60% today.
When asked why, Marquette shared “When you start exploring options, Austin is a great value compared to other cities, especially considering that we don’t have a state income tax. California employers are also relocating here, so that’s also driving the migration.”
Austin has a lower cost of living that extends well beyond more affordable housing so the dollar just goes farther but the real sell is what the city has to offer in the form of quality of life. “Oh, there’s so much to love about Austin! You’ll never run out of fun things to do. We’re known as the live music capital of the world, so you can hear top bands as well as emerging artists pretty much any night of the week. An outdoor lifestyle is common among Austinites, and there are plenty of hiking trails and lakes to enjoy a day in the sun. And of course, there’s food. We have so much more to offer than just barbecue, earning Austin a ranking of the 13th best foodie city in the U.S. If you doubt it, our In-N-Out Burger has no line because we have so much other great food to enjoy.” stated Marquette.
Austin is generally more progressive than the rest of. the state, making the move a proper cultural fit for Californians and there are plenty of “big city” attractions like museums, the Austin Symphony, Ballet Austin, and the only US stop for motorsport’s Formula One. Fans of classic PreWar architecture will find Austin to have several historic neighborhoods to find everything from Victorians to Craftsmans in tree-lined walkable districts.
AUSTIN’S HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOODS:
Hyde Park Local Historic District (Austin’s 1st Suburb)
Pemberton Heights (Colonial estates and PreWar bungalows)
Clarksville Historic District (The oldest surviving freedman development and National Registry Landmark).
The cost of housing is the biggest draw for Californians moving to Austin and it is easy to see why. Larger lots, a wide variety of housing styles from classic PreWar to an abundance of new constructing neighborhoods, and custom home building can fill the needs of any buyer. Starting prices are as follows:
HOUSING COST: AUSTIN TX
Starting Prices: $565,000
Relocating to Scottsdale / Phoenix Arizona
It’s tough to beat the mellow weather patterns of Los Angeles but most of us fall into one of two camps; those that hate the heat and those that love it. If you fall into the latter, then Arizona has been on your radar.
There is no agent that knows the challenge of relocating from Southern California to Arizona better than Compass’ own Whitney St Clair of the North & Co brokerage. Whitney relocated to Scottsdale during the pandemic and has quickly hit the ground running by joining one of the area’s top teams. I reached out to the busy relator/super mom for an inside scoop on Californians moving to the Grand Canyon State.
Whitney shared “California is the number one source for domestic migration into Arizona. In 2019 that number was over 59,000. I am positive this last year was even more.” Her numbers are spot on as we can see in recent census data.
2020 CENSUS DATA
2019 California Outmigration
Source: United States Census
So what is the draw? Whitney believes it is a combination of things, “Many of us Arizonians wonder if it is because of taxes, cost of living, commute time, government or really is it because of all of these reasons. “
When most Angelenos think of Arizona living, we think unbearable heat, but Whitney, coming from air-conditioned San Diego County, knew better. “The weather is wonderful 8–9 months out of the year here. While we don’t have an ocean, Arizona offers so many beautiful natural wonders as well as outdoor activities including golf, golf, and more golf.”
For architectural style, Hollywood has us thinking that Arizona is all adobe structures and tract homes but that isn’t the entire picture. While the population has boomed from 48,000 residents in 1920 to over four million today, newer construction is the mainstay but there are several Historic Districts to call home and the 1950’s were a boom for Scottsdale making owning a MidMo possible here.
SCOTTSDALE/PHOENIX HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOODS:
Willo Historic Neighborhood (Central Phoenix, Tudors and Craftsmans)
Encanto-Palmcroft (Phoenix, 1920’s & 1930’s Dutch Colonials and Mediterranean Revivals)
F.Q. Story Historic Neighborhood (Central Phoenix, 1920’s PreWar Styles)
Town and Country Historic District (Scottsdale Mid Century Modern Homes)
When it comes to pricing, we see why locals tolerate the heat for those three months of summer. Phoenix being significantly more affordable than Scottsdale, the starting prices are as follows:
HOUSING COST: SCOTTSDALE, AZ
Starting Prices: $585,000
HOUSING COST: PHOENIX, AZ
Starting Prices: $375,000
The affordability and proximity to Southern California make Phoenix/Scottsdale an obvious choice and the numbers prove it. If you like the heat, start your search here.
Relocating to Seattle, Washington
The neighboring Pacific Northwest is a stunning canvas to call home and it is no wonder why the Golden State feeds into this part of Cascadia. With power players like Amazon, Boeing, and Microsoft calling the greater Seattle area home, the big city status is firmly planted in the region.
For a local’s perspective, I reached out to friend, colleague, and fellow Compass agent Julian Michael Aguirre. Julian is a local native whose infectious energy is only surpassed by his knowledge of the area.
When asked about a California influx Julian stated “People are flocking to Seattle from all over the country and all over the world, so for us, California is just one of those places. For those moving here from California, they definitely feel like they’re getting a good deal on what they’re purchasing compared to the Bay Area prices or many parts of Southern California.”
The great outdoors is one of the obvious perks in Seattle with the well-known plethora of hiking, beaches, snow sports, and national parks, but what can a local expect on a day to day. “Seattle is also home to a variety of excellent restaurants, cafés, and such. We have a flavor for almost any palette and it’s usually pretty easy to get a table even at a higher-end venue, which is a bonus.” Julian shared.
Fans of classic architecture will find ample Pre-War architecture options in the Seattle area as the local lumber industry was in full swing during this building period so there are several key historic neighborhoods.
SEATTLE AREA HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOODS:
Wallingford Neighborhood (Central Seattle, 1920’s Bungalows, Mountain Views)
Harvard-Belmont Landmark District (Central Seattle, Large PreWar Estates)
Phinney Ridge (NW Seattle, Large Lots Craftsmans and Modern Homes)
North Capitol Hill (Tightknit pocket neighborhood with a mix of PreWar and condo)
Queen Anne Neighborhood (NW Seattle, Epicenter of Historic Homes as the name implies)
This endless supply of stunning architecture, a healthy job sector, and high quality of life has been well established in Seattle, and real estate prices reflect this just as we see in Los Angeles. There is a wide range of home values based on locations and Julian shared “In the north Seattle neighborhoods such as Ravenna, Bryant or Greenlake the market has many older homes with unique architecture including porches, brickwork, and other noticeably attractive design elements of the early to mid-1900’s era, homes start around $900k-$1.2m.” In newer construction neighborhoods like Bellevue, Redmond or Kirkland (what Julian refers to as the “The Eastside”) you can expect larger three-bedroom homes to start in the $1.2M range.
HOUSING COST: CENTRAL SEATTLE, WA
Starting Prices: $900,000
While making the leap from Southern California to Seattle may not yield the financial gains of some other relocation cities, the work options, true big city feeling, and the boundless access to the great outdoors are quite compelling to many. Just be prepared to not have as much sunshine as we do in LA.
Relocating to Denver Colorado
Denver has always held a dream-like persona for Californians. The Rocky Mountains, images of a wild frontier, river rafting, and wild horses are all images conjured when we think of Colorado.
To tap into that mile-high insight, I reached out to Compass agent Taylor Wilson of The Nolan Wilson Group in Denver. This hardworking team of agents ranks in the top 1% of brokerages in Denver so they know the market.
Like the other cities I explored, Denver has seen an uptick in population stemming from California. When asked why this is, Taylor shared “Denver has an incredible quality of life that is difficult to beat for the cost of living, compared to more expensive cities on the coasts.”
While the winters can bring heavy snow in February and March, there are on average 300 days of sunshine a year in Denver so if sunshine is what you seek, don’t count Colorado out.
Although we think it’s all hunting cabins in Colorado, that is hardly the case and there are some significant historic districts that Taylor shared including:
DENVER HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOODS
7th Avenue District (Denver’s largest Historic District PreWar Mansions to Bungalows)
Washington Park (Loved for its parks, dining & shopping, Revivals & Craftsmans).
The Highlands Neighborhood (Grand Victorian era homes with new construction coming in.)
The California dollar will go a lot farther in Colorado and the options are ample as a building boom has been taking place for years. Many PreWar neighborhoods are seeing an influx of condo and townhouse construction which could offer the blend of a classic neighborhood and modern amenities.
HOUSING COST: DENVER, CO
Starting Prices: $700,000
If you feel the weather of Southern California is what you will miss the most, Denver with its mild climate will be the closest you can come, just figure you will be trading our LA heatwaves for snow days.
Relocating to Raleigh North Carolina
For some of us, the west just isn’t cutting it anymore and the eastern seaboard has grown in interest. There is no area that has more of an interest for Californians than Raleigh, North Carolina. One of the northernmost “southern” states has been drawing industry and residential interest for a couple of years now.
I reached out to Raleigh Compass agent Nico Crecco to get a sense of why so many are relocating to the Raleigh North Carolina region. “Our area is seeing an increase in traffic from all over. However, places like California, Texas, and New York seem to be the most popular states buyers are moving from. Raleigh-Durham is landing a lot of these buyers due to the area’s enhanced quality of life, affordable cost of living, and ever-growing job market. Add in the local universities like Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University and it makes sense why our economy fared as well as it did this past year. We only anticipate the out-of-state traffic to continue growing when we have companies like Epic Games, Google, and Apple recently announcing moves into our already competitive tech market.” said Nico.
The true growth in interest in Raleigh is represented in the fact that on average 67 people per day move to the region making it the second fastest-growing city in the nation.
The draw to this region, what Nico refers to as the “Triangle” which includes Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, goes beyond the business growth and affordable housing. The Triangle is abundant with greenery (something foreign to Angelenos) and choc-full with culture and history. Museums, hiking, boating, live concert halls and, of course, collegiate basketball meets a pretty intense local foodie scene comprised of breweries and acclaimed regional chefs all served up with Southern Hospitality.
Architecturally speaking, the east coast will always have more compelling classic structures. The city of Raleigh dates back to the late 1700s and the Colonial origins are evident in the abundance of old world and PreWar architecture in the area. The Triangle in general has a multitude of historic regions in each of the three cities that Nico shared:
RALEIGH TRIANGLE AREA HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOODS:
Historic Oakwood (Raleigh, Victorians, and Italianate)
Boylan Heights Historic District (Raleigh, PreWar Colonial, and Craftsman)
Trinity Park (Durham, Stunning Colonials and Craftsmans)
Watts-Hillandale Historic District (Durham Mission and Colonial Revivals)
Duke Forest Durham (Near Duke U, Mid Century)
Franklin — Rosemary Historic District (Chapel Hill, Federal, Greek, Gothic Revival)
Speaking with Nico, you can feel the passion of the region, and with so much to offer, you can see why it make financial sense to move to the east coast. Nico shared ample insight on prices today and trends. “Some portions of the Triangle might come with a more affordable price tag than others, however, we are seeing multiple offers across all price points. With that said, currently a median purchase price for a single-family home, 3 beds /2 baths around 1800 sq ft will come in just south of 400k.” Stated Nico.
HOUSING COST: RALEIGH, NC
Starting Prices: $375,000
You can see the draw that Raleigh has. The positive effect of major universities, a growing tech sector, nature, and seriously affordable houses makes it quite obvious why Californians have been flocking to the region.
Relocating to Bozeman Montana
The booming mountain enclave of Bozeman is the 4th largest city in the Big Sky state and the population has doubled since the year 2000 bringing it to just over 50,000 residents. Los Angeles is so often remarked to be the cause of the boom it has earned the unofficial nickname of Boze-Angeles.
To get the skinny on all things Bozeman, I reached out to dual-city agent and close friend Allyson Connolly with Williams Homes. Williams Homes is a new construction home developer with SoCal roots and several projects in and around Bozeman.
When asked about the boom and the growing presence of Californians in Bozeman Allyson shared, “The Bozeman market has seen a rapid increase in both median home values and new residents.” Allyson feels that the “city folk” that are migrating to Bozeman have embraced the romanticized image of the area and are taking advantage of post-pandemic remote work. “This type of buyer is attracted to the small-town feel and especially the small-town home prices. The town itself is politically aligned with city-dwelling attitudes, and has a familiar feel to some with the presence of upscale restaurants and craft cocktail/brewery scene.”
She is also seeing first-time buyers taking advantage of higher-than-average starting wages for entry-level jobs and construction trades but are landing in smaller surrounding towns like Belgrade and Livingston.
I think we have all fallen for the romanticized image of Montana living, so I asked Allyson what it is really like living there. Being that she has spent fifteen plus years in Los Angeles and just relocated to Bozeman, who would know better.
“Bozeman feels very familiar to any larger city dweller. You can walk into a restaurant such as Open Range or Blackbird, and the ambiance and food quality (as well as pricing) feels like you just stepped into a restaurant on Melrose or Downtown LA.” Shared Allyson. Local food festivals and a burgeoning music scene have been adding culture to the endless options for outdoor recreation. Fans of snow sports will have Bridger Bowl (their version of Big Bear) or the high-end Big Sky resort for a Tahoe-like experience.
As I grew stir crazy in the pandemic, one of my fondest memories was taking an eight-day roundtrip to Montana and back. Driving through downtown Bozeman I was amazed by the abundance of PreWar homes lining the avenues. I asked Allyson about it. “The neighborhoods immediately North and South (especially South) of Main Street — between 7th St and Highland Blvd comprises the “Bon Ton” district which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Homes in this area range from late 1800’s Victorians to early 1900’s Craftsmans and beyond. In this area, a small 1200sf historic fixer might go for the mid 500k range.” The lure of this downtown area is intense, tree-lined streets, neighborhood parks, it is very very picturesque and the prices reflect it. Those looking for move-in ready, homes in the 1800sf range can expect prices to be $750K and up in the downtown area.
Outside of downtown prices make the case of relocating to Bozeman Montana even more compelling. While the Montana Association of Realtors doesn’t publish sold home prices Allyson stated “I would say right now you could expect to pay in the mid 500k to mid 600k range for a 3 bedroom, two bathroom 1,800 square foot home.”
The developer that Allyson is currently representing, Williams Homes, has several projects in various stages of construction. Their three-bedroom single-family homes in the Bridger Heights development just outside of Bozeman start in the mid-$400’s.
Relocating to Boise Idaho
Boise has long been a haven for Californians from Northern California, but now we are seeing more and more Angelenos make the leap to the Gem State. While we often think of rural living in Idaho, thriving Boise is the number one destination in the state for those leaving Los Angeles County.
I reached out to Boise agent Erin Volk who is part of the top-rated Mike Brown Team of Boise. Erin is a former Californian herself who moved to Idaho back when she was just a kid. When asked if she has seen an uptick in California residents moving to Boise she remarked “I don’t ever remember a time not seeing our state as a place Californians eventually call home. In our current environment, we are definitely seeing an even larger influx as people find ways to work from home while securing a new pace of life and place to call home. “
The natural benefits of Boise are obvious for the fans of the outdoors as skiing, fishing, hiking, and summer boating are everywhere but relocation from Los Angeles to Boise itself will have an appeal that city slickers will embrace. “Idaho is so beautiful. The people are so kind and welcoming and you don’t often find the luxury in larger cities of being greeted with a smile most places you go. The dining scene around here has become something quite spectacular and our wine country rivals most others across the nation. Downtown Boise for example, is littered with fabulous restaurants, a Basque cultural block, art galleries, a nearby zoo, a historical museum, and gorgeous parks. Snagging lunch and enjoying it in the park while watching the giraffes at the zoo is just the best. It’s definitely a different pace of life that people fall in love with quickly.” Erin shared.
On a recent trip to Boise that I took, I was pleasantly surprised to see ample amounts of PreWar neighborhoods, something I never would have associated with moving to Boise. I asked Erin about historic neighborhoods that she loves and she shared that the most notable is the downtown Boise neighborhood called The North End. Remarkably original late Victorians and Craftsmans can be found in the North End as well as into North East Boise. Best of all, these classic neighborhoods lead to the local ski mountain (Bogus Basin) and the Hyde Park restaurant Row.
The consideration of buying in Boise is usually sparked by the affordability of the area. While prices always vary on a myriad of factors, the median home price in Ada County (where Boise lies) is $481,000 (Pasadena’s median price is $997,000). With homes being almost half the price of what you currently own, you can see why the desire to move to Boise makes economic sense. While prices are not the same as LA, the pace of sales are just as fast as they are here with homes selling within seven to ten days from being listed.
Moving to a new city is never easy, but there is also no better time to sell a home in Southern California. If relocation has been in the back of your mind and you are ready to explore a new town, an experienced local realtor that you can trust is a great place to start.
The agents that participated in this article are some of the best in their regions and if there a region that is not represented, just reach out to me, I am glad to tap into the Compass network to find the best guidance possible.
Selling your home in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Los Feliz, SIlverlake, Altadena, Pasadena or Eagle Rock can be immensely profitable if executed properly. I have developed a proven system to list your home for the maximum profit with the least amount of stress. To have a discussion about selling your home and relocating, just reach out.
Originally Published on BungalowAgent.com