Where are they all coming from?

Jane Gray
Jane Gray
Published on September 21, 2017

There’s a growing population migrating upstream to Sacramento these days.  Not the yearly salmon run, but people fed up with problems and looking for quality of life.  That large emigrating populace originates from the San Francisco Bay Area.

It should come as no big surprise that there’s two major triggers that make the thought of moving not just plausible, but advantageous.  The Bay Area’s notorious traffic congestion plays a role.  Long commutes drain hours from people’s lives.  San Francisco has the dubious honor of being the 2nd most traffic-congested region in the US right now and San Jose follows close to the bumper at #5 according to Tomtom.com.  Traffic alone doesn’t deter people, but add in soaring housing prices and the two pack a gut wrenching punch for livability for a growing number of people.  According to Zillow, home prices in San Francisco alone rose 10% in just one year.  The median home value is $1.2M and that’s up from a median price of just over $600k in 2012.  Sacramento ranks #22 for traffic and housing still remains affordable here with the median prices around the $300k to $400k range in areas around the Sacramento area.


According to Crystal Miller, a native of San Jose, the traffic and affordability fueled her move here, but she soon discovered, there were upsides  – positive reasons to move to Sacramento rather than just away from the problems of the Bay Area. She told me that “the people are nicer here” and there’s more diversity.  She notes that Sacramento has a small-town feel, but “there’s still lots to do” with a lot of natural beauty with the number of trees and parks around.   


Living so close to Tahoe makes it ideal to ski regularly at some of the best ski resorts within an easy two hour drive from Sacramento.  Comparing Sacramento to the Bay Area, she mentioned that downtown feels much safer than San Jose.  Crystal met her husband, Tolen here and the couple purchased their first home just over a year ago.  While they still go back to the Bay Area to visit her family, they call Sacramento home.  When asked about the downsides, “I miss Santa Cruz!” she told me. Crystal and Tolen are expecting their second child soon!  We wish them well!


While the Millers are just starting out in life, there’s another demographic that factors prominently in the migration – the folks nearing or in retirement.  Patricia West sold a home in San Francisco a month ago and moved up her to be close to her adult children.  Like Patricia, many move up here because their kids or grandchildren live here already.  Some may rent for a time while they decide if this is where they truly want to live.  Many find their way to local churches and develop friendships and a sense of belonging.


They soon discover that there’s a plethora of things to do here with golf courses and clubs of all kinds.  Those 55+ may choose to live in one of the many exclusive active adult communities:  Sun City Roseville or Lincoln, or Springfield in Rocklin among others.  Others choose to find homes close to their friends and family in non-age restrictive neighborhoods.  The newly retired can be seen enjoying breakfast together, golfing, socializing around shared interests such as classic car clubs, quilting, going out to the theater, dining, or exercising!  Even two Indian casinos are close by or there’s a short drive to Reno or Tahoe where more gambling and alpine activities abound.  Hewlett Packard even has a program where if a person is within 5 years of retirement, they can work from home so many take advantage of that option to cash out of their homes in the Bay Area and buy a newer home up here too.  Many Bay Area residents find that being able to buy a new house presents a great opportunity that’s hard to find in the older, urban core down there.


Another lesser known advantage stems from Proposition 13 where property taxes in California are capped at a maximum increase of 2% per year while a person owns their home.  Proposition 90, approved by voters in 1986, allows homeowners 55 or older to transfer the Proposition 13 base-year value of their principal dwelling to a replacement dwelling, provided that their new house is located in the same county OR a reciprocal county and was of equal or lesser value than their former residence. Those reciprocal counties are:  Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, and El Dorado – the last being a county in the Sacramento area! Easier to do when values tend to be higher in the Bay Area counties compared to El Dorado County.


The migration to Sacramento creates opportunities for long-time residents because of a greater demand that pushes home values up for those looking to cash out here. These growth opportunities do come with their own set of challenges.  With rising home prices, first time home buyers find it difficult at times to compete with cash or to afford to buy at all.  Economists don’t see the migration trend ending anytime soon.  Don’t despair because buying a home remains a possibility with many programs to help first time homebuyers.

When it comes time to make the move, buy or sell, it pays to have a trusted agent who knows the ropes guiding you to make the right decisions.  I also have trusted lenders that I will share with you.  Experience counts.  I’m one of the top 2% of Realtors in the area and I’m here to help!  Contact me.

Where are they all coming from?
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