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Moving Out: Californians look for houses in other states at twice U.S. average; cite sanctuary policies, affordability


  • Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Los Angeles are the top three California markets where residents are leaving
  • More than half of those searching outside their county are looking to leave California; Nearly half are looking at more affordable counties in state
  • San Diego, San Francisco and Marin counties are generating the most out of California views

California’s housing affordability crisis, sanctuary policies and political climate are prompting residents to look for homes in other areas or outside of the state. New research reveals affordability issues are driving California residents to search for homes in Texas, PhoenixLas Vegas and Prescott, Ariz., and residents disdain for the illegal immigration policies and political climate is another major reason for the exodus. In 16 of California’s hottest markets — including Santa ClaraSan Mateo and Los Angeles — outbound home searches are two times greater than the U.S. average.

“I think the last straw for us is when (Gov.) Jerry Brown came out with his new fuel taxes and car registration fees,” said Mike Ambuski, a former High Desert resident.

“Whether it’s the case of Kate Steinle who was shot in the back while showing her dad the beautiful piers in San Francisco, or whether it was high school football star Jamiel Shaw’s life ending on the sidewalk in front of his house in South Central Los Angeles, California leaders have blood on their hands,” Jen Kerns said.

“Public safety is the reason I left California,” she added.

Carole Dabak lived in San Jose for 40 years, but the sanctuary policies of the state drove her out in February.

“We don’t like it here anymore. You know, we don’t like this sanctuary state status and just the politics here,” Dabak said.

Realtor.com®  analysis looked at home searches in the 16 California counties and American Community Survey migration estimates. Search data includes both outbound searches and the ratio of search traffic viewing pages outside of an area versus outside traffic coming in. The ACS data includes the domestic migration ratio, which is the ratio of net migration less international migration, relative to the population.

“Our research shows many California residents may have reached their breaking point,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com.

U-Haul operators in the area say that getting their trucks and trailers back is their number one issue as people are leaving, but not many are coming in.

In addition to Santa ClaraSan Mateo and Los Angeles, the top California counties where residents are leaving, according to ACS migration patterns, are split between the Northern and Southern areas of the state. In rank order, they include: NapaMontereyAlamedaMarinOrangeSanta BarbaraSan DiegoImperialVenturaSan FranciscoSanta CruzTulare, and Sonoma.

California median list prices have increased 83 percent over the last six years, to $549,000 from $300,000, outpacing local income growth by three times. According to realtor.com®‘s analysis, 52 percent of residents looking outside their county are looking to move outside California to nearby states. The top 10 out of state destinations include, in rank order, Phoenix (Maricopa County, Ariz); Las Vegas (Clark County); Prescott (Yavapai County, Ariz.); Boise (Ada County, Idaho); Reno, (Washoe County, Nev.); Lake Havasu (Mohave County, Ariz.); Pima County, Ariz.; Coeur d’Alene (Kootenai County, Idaho); Austin (Travis County, Texas); and the Big Island (Hawaii County, Hawaii). Most of the counties on this list offer California residents relatively close proximity to California, dry and sunny weather, as well as more affordable home prices. On average, those searching out of state are looking at properties that are 43 percent more affordable than their current county.

“Affordability is pricing them out of the California home market and many are searching for more affordable options in other areas. This exodus could help slow price appreciation in California, but potentially heat up prices and reduce inventory in surrounding markets. If this pattern continues, we could see Californians drive up home prices in parts of Phoenix, Las Vegas and Prescott, Ariz.

The top 10 in state counties most searched by those looking to leave their county include: RiversideSan BernardinoLos AngelesOrangeSacramentoSan DiegoPlacerContra CostaEl Dorado, and Ventura County. Those searching in other California counties are looking at properties that are on average 17 percent more affordable.

Top Destinations by California Market

1. Santa Clara County
Out of state destinations: ArizonaNevadaTexas and Idaho
In state destinations: AlamedaSacramentoSan JoaquinSanta Cruz and Placer counties

When looking out of state, shoppers from Santa Clara are looking at far more affordable properties in Maricopa, Ariz.Clark, Nev.Washoe, Nev.Travis, Texas; and Ada, Idaho counties that are $750,000 to $965,000 less than the typical property in Santa Clara. Within California, they are looking at properties in nearby counties of AlamedaSacramentoSan JoaquinSanta Cruz and Placer that are $509,000 – $894,000 less than the Santa Clara median.

2. San Mateo County
Out of state destinations: ArizonaNevadaTexas and Washington
In state destinations: AlamedaContra CostaSanta ClaraSacramento, and San Francisco counties

San Mateo shoppers are looking at far more affordable counties when shopping out of state. The properties they look at in Maricopa, Ariz.Clark, Nev.Washoe, Nev.Travis, Texas; and King, Wash.counties are $778,000 – $1.1 million less than the typical San Mateo property. Those looking in state are looking in nearby counties of AlamedaContra CostaSanta ClaraSacramento, and San Francisco and considering properties $274,000 – $1.1 million less than the median price in San Mateo.

3. Los Angeles County
Out of state destinations: NevadaArizona, and Idaho
In state destinations: San BernardinoRiversideVentura and Kern counties

Angelenos looking out of state are viewing homes priced well below the Los Angeles median. The typical home they view in Clark, Nev.Maricopa, Ariz.Yavapai, Ariz.Mohave, Ariz.; and Ada, Idaho counties is $306,000 – $455,000 below the typical listing at home. Shoppers looking in state are generally looking at properties that are $22,000 – $446,000 less expensive than their current market price. However, homes viewed in nearby Orange County are $34,000 more expensive.

4. Napa County
Out of state destinations: ArizonaIdahoNevadaFlorida and Oregon
In state destinations: SolanoSonomaSacramentoLake and El Dorado counties

Napa’s out of state searchers in Maricopa, ArizAda, IdahoWashoe, Nev.Brevard, Fla.; and Deschutes, Ore. counties are looking at properties that are $170,000 to $450,000 less expensive than the market price in Napa. Those looking in nearby California counties of SolanoSonomaSacramentoLake and El Dorado counties are looking at properties priced $120,000 to $484,000 less than the market price in Napa.

5. Monterey County
Out of state destinations: ArizonaNevada, and Idaho
In state destinations: San Luis ObispoFresnoSanta CruzSacramento and San Diego counties

Monterey out of state shoppers are viewing homes in Maricopa, ArizWashoe, Nev.Yuma, Ariz.Ada, Idaho; and Clark, Nev. that are $494,000 – $749,000 less expensive than the typical listing at home. Those looking to stay in state are looking in counties like San Luis ObispoFresnoSanta CruzSacramento and San Diego and specifically at properties that are $314,000 – $664,000 less than the market price in Monterey.

6. Alameda County
Out of state destinations: ArizonaNevadaIdaho, and Hawaii
In state destinations: Contra CostaSan JoaquinSacramentoPlacer, and El Dorado counties

Shoppers are viewing homes in Maricopa, Ariz. and Ada, Idaho well above the local market median which is still a $300,000 – $400,000 bargain compared to Alameda. In Clark and Washoe counties in Nevada and Hawaii, they are viewing homes priced below the local median listing price and between $300,000 and $500,000 below the typical Alameda listing. Within California, they are generally shopping for a home $160,000 – $415,000 below their current median in counties such as Contra CostaSan JoaquinSacramentoPlacer and El Dorado.

7. Marin County
Out of state destinations: NevadaArizonaOregon and Idaho
In state destinations: SonomaContra CostaSolano and San Francisco counties 

Out of state shoppers viewing homes in more affordable counties such as Washoe, Nev.Maricopa, Ariz.Pima, Ariz.Deschutes, Ore.; and Ada, Idaho are looking at homes generally priced $621,000 – $1 million less than the typical listing in Marin. Shoppers looking within state are looking at properties in SonomaContra CostaSolano and San Francisco counties, priced $167,000 – $937,000 less than the market price in Marin.

8. Orange County
Out of state destinations: ArizonaNevada and Idaho
In state destinations: RiversideLos AngelesSan BernardinoSan Diego and San Luis Obispo

The typical Orange County out of state shopper is looking in Maricopa, Ariz.Clark, Nev.Yavapai, Ariz.Ada, Idaho; and Mohave, Ariz. counties at properties that are $442,000 – $592,000 less than the typical property in Orange County. Those looking to stay in state are looking in nearby counties of RiversideLos AngelesSan BernardinoSan Diego and San Luis Obispo at properties priced $192,000 – $527,000less than the typical property in Orange County.

9. Santa Barbara County
Out of state destinations: ArizonaNevada and Idaho
In state destinations: San Luis ObispoVenturaLos AngelesRiverside and Kern counties

When looking out of state, shoppers from Santa Barbara are looking at far more affordable counties such as Maricopa, Ariz.Clark, NevYavapai, Ariz.Kootenai, Idaho; and Mohave, Ariz and view properties that are $481,000 – $661,000 less than the typical property in Santa Barbara. Those looking nearby are interested in the counties of San Luis ObispoVenturaLos AngelesRiverside and Kern and homes priced $47,000 – $667,000 less than the Santa Barbara median price.

10. San Diego County
Out of state destinations: Arizona and Nevada
In state destinations: RiversideSan BernardinoImperialOrange County and Los Angeles

Out of state shoppers are looking at homes in Maricopa, Ariz.Clark, Nev.Yavapai, Ariz.Mohave, Ariz.; and Pima, Ariz. counties that are priced $324,000 – $444,000 less than the typical property in San Diego. Shoppers viewing properties within state are looking at homes in RiversideSan BernardinoOrange CountyLos Angeles and Imperial counties. The properties they look at in RiversideSan Bernardino and Imperial are $289,000 – $429,000 less expensive than the typical property in San Diego, but in Orange County and Los Angeles, they are $86,000 – $106,000 more than the San Diego median list price when you look at the realtor sites and research for houses and condos for sale in San Diego.

11. Imperial County
Out of state destinations: Arizona and Idaho
In state destinations: San DiegoRiversideLos AngelesSan Bernardino, and Orange counties

Shoppers looking outside of Imperial are viewing significantly more expensive properties than the Imperial housing market. The typical home they are looking at in counties like San DiegoRiversideLos AngelesSan Bernardino, and Orange is $32,000 – $705,000 more than the median price in Imperial. Out of state shoppers are looking at homes in Yuma, Ariz.Maricopa, Ariz.Ada, Idaho; and Coconinopriced $15,000 – $179,000 below the typical listing in the Imperial, although the typical home looked at in Yavapai, Ariz. is $71,000 more.

12. Ventura County
Out of state destinations: ArizonaNevada, and Idaho
In state destinations: Los AngelesKernRiverside and San Bernardino counties

Out of state Ventura shoppers are looking at less expensive homes in Maricopa, Ariz.Clark, Nev.Yavapai, Ariz.Ada, Idaho; and Mohave, Ariz. counties that are $298,000 – $507,000 less than the typical property in Ventura. Shoppers looking in state are searching in Los AngelesKernRiverside and San Bernardino counties at homes that are $2,000 – $457,000 less than the median price in Ventura, but properties they look at in Santa Barbara County are $152,000 more.

13. San Francisco County
Out of state destinations: ArizonaNevadaIllinois and Oregon
In state destinations: Contra CostaAlamedaSan MateoSonoma, and Sacramento

When looking out of state, shoppers from San Francisco are looking at properties in Maricopa, Ariz.Clark, Nev.Washoe, Nev.Cook, Ill.; and Multnomah, Ore. counties that are $841,000 – $1.0 million less than the typical property in San Francisco. Those looking in state are typically searching in Contra CostaAlamedaSan MateoSonoma, and Sacramento counties for properties that are $390,000 – $940,000 less than the San Francisco median list price.

“You can’t even contemplate getting into the housing market here,” Russell Hancock with Joint Venture Silicon Valley said. “And I don’t mean just service workers, I mean highly skilled professionals. The tech elite are having a hard time affording reasonable housing in Silicon Valley. So this is difficult, this makes it very difficult for employers trying to recruit.”

14. Santa Cruz County
Out of state destinations: NevadaArizonaHawaii, and Oregon
In state destinations: MontereyPlacerEl Dorado and San Luis Obispo

When looking out of state, shoppers from Santa Cruz are looking at properties in Washoe, Nev.Maricopa, Ariz.HawaiiHawaiiDouglas, Nev.; and Deschutes, Ore. counties that are $450,000 – $585,000 less than the typical property in Santa Cruz. Properties they look at in state in the nearby counties of MontereyPlacerEl Dorado and San Luis Obispo are typically $313,000 – $480,000 less expensive than the Santa Cruz median price. However, the properties they look at in Santa Clara are $184,000 more expensive than Santa Cruz.

15. Tulare County
Out of state destinations: NevadaArizonaKansas and Idaho
In state destinations: FresnoSan Luis Obispo and Los Angeles

Very little of Tulare’s demand flows out of state but top out of state locations include NevadaArizonaKansas and Idaho. When looking out of state, shoppers from Tulare are looking at properties in Clark, Nev.Maricopa, Ariz.Johnson, Kan.Ada, Idaho; and Yavapai, Ariz. counties that are $11,000 – $111,000more expensive than the typical property in Tulare. Those looking to remain in state are viewing properties in FresnoSan Luis Obispo and Los Angeles that are $26,000 – $600,000 more expensive than Tulare, but properties in Kings and Kern County are $9,000 – $10,000 less expensive.

16. Sonoma County
Out of state destinations: ArizonaIdahoOregon and Nevada
In state destinations: LakeMendocinoPlacerSacramento and El Dorado counties

When looking out of state, shoppers from Sonoma are looking in Maricopa, Ariz.Ada, IdahoPima, Ariz.Jackson, Ore.; and Washoe, Nev. counties at properties that are $176,000 – $376,000 less than the typical property in Sonoma. Shoppers looking in state are typically looking in LakeMendocinoPlacerSacramento and El Dorado counties at properties that are $186,000 – $458,000 less than the Sonomamedian price.


2016 – 2017 Change
in Domestic
Migration Ratio


Share of Property
Views Going Out of

Santa Clara


San Diego


San Mateo


San Francisco


Los Angeles






















Santa Cruz


Santa Barbara


Santa Barbara


San Diego


Santa Clara








San Mateo


San Francisco


Los Angeles


Santa Cruz












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Rich Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News and the president of Bald Eagle Media, LLC. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Bald Eagle Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and

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  1. I’m a native Californian.
    My state has gone to hell in a hand basket thanks to Jerry Brown and Barrera.
    I’m in rural Ca. and for sale signs are everywhere. S.F. born & raised first I
    left the city to get away from the parking dept.Got tired of coming out of work and
    finding my legally parked car stolen by the parking dept.

    Now I’m fed up with sanctuary laws where illegals are treated better than multi-
    generational citizens. Taxes fines & fees are outrageous.

    I and all my friends have voted for Dems our entire voting lives and everyone one of them
    say they are fed up too.

    I won’t leave but I will change my voting patterns

  2. So it was OK when the rest of us were drowning in Democrat CRAP but when it happens to you it’s not OK.
    Well, welcome to my world Illinois, not to far from you. ERE IN il they still haven’t learned, but they will.
    You Dem friends (politicians) have never given a crap for you and those others that put them in office so why change now? Let’s see just how low they can go, perhaps with luck, the whole state will sink into the sea.

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