Lower housing prices are the big draw
Source: The Mercury News
SACRAMENTO — They laugh at it now — the conversation that set in motion their move to a city that neither of them had ever seen.
“What about Sacramento?” Cat Perez asked her wife, Aja Blue. “What about Sacramento?” Blue responded.
After a decade of renting in San Francisco and a brief stint in Los Angeles, Blue and Perez became part of a great migration to one of the last affordable urban areas in the state. Drawn by lower housing prices, Bay Area residents are pouring into California’s capital and its surrounding areas, trading a temperate climate for triple-digit summers; hustle-and-bustle for a slower pace of life; and redwood hiking trails for expansive fields and distant, snow-capped mountains.
The region has become the top destination in the country — ahead of trendy Seattle and Portland — for those looking to flee the jammed roads and high costs of the tech-dominated Bay Area, according to new migration data from Redfin, a popular real estate site. Each year, nearly 20,000 Bay Area residents are resettling in cities stretching from Davis to Sacramento and further east to the Sierra foothills, according to census data analyzed by the Greater Sacramento Economic Council.
“It’s becoming a place for the next generation to live,” said Sacramento’s mayor, Darrell Steinberg.
So many Sacramento-area residents have jobs based in the Bay Area — roughly 120,000 as of the council’s last estimate — that business leaders tout a burgeoning “megaregion” encompassing both Silicon Valley and the capital. Many workers make the long commute, at least occasionally. But some Bay Area employers — like the health care enrollment startup that Perez co-founded, HealthSherpa, and the mobile video platform developer Fantag — have opened offices in Sacramento, offering employees (and themselves) a cheaper place to live, without the long trek.
Sacramento was the fastest-growing big city in the state last year, a growth spurt largely caused by the Bay Area exodus. Roughly 75 percent of Redfin users moving into the greater Sacramento region come from the Bay Area, said the site’s chief economist, Taylor Marr.