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Best Beach Towns For Retirement

6. Coos Bay, OR

Median home price: $279,050

Shore Acres State Park, Coos Bay, OR
Shore Acres State Park, Coos Bay, OR Andrei Stanescu / iStock

A good friend works at Bandon Dunes and I’ve been there a couple of times.  It takes all day to get there – fly to SFO then take a 30-seater planer to Bend and then drive two hours – but once you get there, you’re at the coast for a great price!

Most folks probably don’t imagine spending their beachy retirement huddled up under layers of sweaters and blankets, but they’re missing out. The cliff-edged and chilly shoreline of Bastendorff Beach, just a short trip over the bridge from Coos Bay, is gorgeous, a wholly relaxing place to collect shells, pitch a tent, or ride a horse.

Many locals also take whale watching tours by boat, view masterpieces at Coos Art Museum, swing a 9-iron, or watch the pros play golf at the Bandon Dunes Resort, home to the Curtis Cup. Homeowners can look at the bay from their two-bedroom bungalow for just $169,000 or smell the salt air in a grand four-bedroom Dutch Colonial in the heart of town for a cool $649,000.

https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/best-affordable-beach-towns-retirement/

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Coos-Bay_OR/with_waterfront/with_waterfront

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San Diego Cost-of-Living Comparisons

For most of the long-time homeowners in San Diego County, it was fortuitous to have purchased a home here 10, 20, 30 years ago or more and have racked up huge gains in equity while living in paradise.  For those who are tempted to cash in their home-equity lottery ticket and leave town – or for newcomers who feel priced out – here is a handy tool to compare the cost of living here to other towns:

https://www.payscale.com/cost-of-living-calculator

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Where To Move

Would you move this year if you could figure out where to go?

The chart above helps identify the best values by cross-referencing income and costs.  To no one’s surprise, living in San Diego comes with a hefty premium!

If getting more bang for your buck is important, then they suggest moving to Houston….with Dallas, Las Vegas, Austin and Charlotte also in that quadrant. Phoenix is a great place to retire, and if you don’t mind spending a little more money then Oregon, Washington, Denver, and Miami might be worth considering.

Do you have suggestions for places to move? 🙂

Here’s a brief look at small towns around Arizona:


https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Tubac_AZ

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Cave-Creek_AZ

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Pinetop_AZ

Leaving California

The headline for this article is California Loses Hundreds of Thousands of Residents in 2020:

Link to Article

But it sounded far-fetched to me, so I checked the actual press release:

We didn’t lose ‘hundreds of thousands’, which would be at least 200,000 by definition.

We did add 156,600 net new babies – more people to inherit homes later!

The population of San Diego is what matters to us. Further down in the press release they said that the San Diego gain ‘depended mainly on natural increase as the source of population growth’. It means older people are leaving, and they are being replaced by the kids!

Link to CA Press Release

Strongest Housing Markets

We’ve had sellers move to five of these towns this year!

Housing markets are showing resilience against the pandemic, but some are thriving more than others and are expected to continue to perform strongly in the years ahead.

Coinciding with the National Association of REALTORS®’ virtual Real Estate Forecast Summit on Thursday, NAR released a list of the top metros expected to have the strongest housing markets over the next three to five years. Researchers factored in domestic migration, housing affordability for new residents, consistent job growth relative to the national average, population age structure, attractiveness for retirees, and home price appreciation.

The following 10 markets were identified by NAR (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, Ga.
  • Boise City, Idaho
  • Charleston-North Charleston, S.C.
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
  • Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa
  • Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind.
  • Madison, Wis.
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, Ariz.
  • Provo-Orem, Utah
  • Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash.

These housing markets likely will carry momentum from 2020 into “2021 and beyond because of strong in-migration of new residents, faster local job market recoveries, and environments conducive to work-from-home arrangements and other factors,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. For example, movers from pricey coastal regions may be drawn to cheaper destinations as companies increase work-from-home policies and make commuting less of an issue.

The trend is already becoming apparent in markets like Phoenix and Dallas, which have attracted the largest number of movers from the West Coast, the report shows.

“Expect these 10 markets to perform strongly, with potential buyers finding conditions particularly favorable to purchase a home,” says NAR President Charlie Oppler. “Overall, residential real estate will continue to be an important driver of our nation’s economic recovery, and the activity in these markets will help lead the way.”

Laguna Row

Brett Farrow is a local architect, builder, and developer – and has been a long-time reader of the blog (you’ve seen him comment here as ‘Mozart’). Yesterday, we got together at his latest project, Laguna Row, and talked about his experiences in the village of Carlsbad:

I also did another tour around the village for an update on the booming redevelopment:

Here is Brett’s website:

https://www.lagunarow.com/

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Why Are You Moving?


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The average length of homeownership has been 10-12 years…..until now?!?

Nearly half of Americans are considering a move to a new home

Of those considering a move, more than 1 in 4 (27%) want to stay within their current area. The main driver behind this sentiment is a desire to reduce living expenses, which is true for 44% of respondents.

Rounding out the top five reasons behind a potential move are:

  • “My current home is too small” (27%)
  • “I’m looking for different features” (27%)
  • “I’d rather live in a different part of town” (12%)
  • “I don’t like the management of the property I’m renting” (11%)

“The economic crisis has adversely affected the finances of many Americans,” said Tendayi Kapfidze, LendingTree’s chief economist. “Even those who have kept their jobs and added to savings, via stimulus and spending less due to staying home, are likely worried about the stability of their financial position.”

https://www.lendingtree.com/home/mortgage/nearly-half-of-americans-are-considering-a-move-to-reduce-living-expenses/
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Who Is Moving Where?

Ryan was nice enough to provide the latest data (2019) from the U.S. Census Bureau on where Californians are moving, and where our new residents are coming from – at least before the pandemic.

The big winners on a net basis:

More Californians moved there:

Texas:  +45,172

Arizona: +31,486

Nevada: +20,889

Oregon: +20,662

Washington: +14,909

Colorado: +14,265

Florida: +5,936

N. Carolina: +4,160

More People Moved Here

New York: +13,235

Illinois: +9,085

Virginia: +7,512

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Political Exodus

Anyone surprised to hear there are agents soliciting consumers based on their political beliefs?

At first, Stephanie Morris was nervous about leaving Modesto. She’d lived in the Central Valley her whole life, but her family couldn’t keep paying $850-a-month for her sons to share a living room while she, her husband and the baby slept in their apartment’s only bedroom.

The anxiety faded by the time her family pulled out in a U-Haul bound for Salt Lake City on a smoky September night. Morris, 31, had still never been to Utah — her husband liked it when he worked there as a truck driver — but she had discovered a whole world of people planning similar escapes online. They posted faraway landscapes on Pinterest, smiling family photos on Instagram and memes about leaving “Commiefornia” in Facebook groups like “Conservatives Leaving California.”

“I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not moving out of California to a third-world country,” Morris said. “I’m leaving a third-world country to join America.”

Unaffordable housing. High taxes. A Democratic stranglehold on state politics. The concerns driving transplants like Morris out of the country’s richest state during the COVID-19 era are not new. What is changing quickly is how disillusioned California residents are coming together by the tens of thousands on Facebook, YouTube and elsewhere online, fueling a cottage industry of real estate agents, mortgage lenders and political advocates stoking social division to compete for a piece of the muchdiscussed California Exodus.

Facebook groups like “Life After California” are full of stories about $4,000 U-Haul bills and home bidding wars in Texas, but it’s too early to tell if more people are leaving during the pandemic. People move for all kinds of reasons — a new job, to be near family, to buy their first house — and while many online moving groups target conservatives, a parallel migration of more liberal transplants has also scrambled the politics of some red states.

Early polls show that up to 40% of Bay Area tech workers will consider leaving if remote work continues. Recent tax proposals have also triggered familiar warnings about wealthy residents fleeing the state.

Even before COVID-19, California’s population growth had slowed considerably. Since 2015, the state has lost at least 100,000 more people than it gained each year from other U.S. states, including growing numbers of working class and Black residents. But California is still a top U.S. destination for people moving from other countries, plus affluent transplants from other states. From July 2018 to July 2019, California saw a net loss of 197,594 people to other states.

Scott Shepard has watched these forces collide from his new home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The California-bred realtor started relocation website ExitCalifornia.org and a namesake Facebook page early last year, when he saw a business opportunity in the endless stories of friends and neighbors moving out of state. Now, during the pandemic, the site is so busy he doesn’t have to pay for online ads.

“It’s starting to kind of take on a life of its own,” Shepard said. “I would be straight and say that it is primarily political. Then it really does come down to the cost and taxes.”

The anti-California Dream

Exit California is emblematic of a growing number of online relocation companies marketed heavily on social media. They target prospective transplants who skew white, right and over age 30, though renters post alongside members in the market for million-dollar houses. Between photos of tidy brick facades, crystal-clear pools and recommended moving truck routes, the Facebook pages revolve around ominous articles about Black Lives Matter protests, crime, immigration and, of late, pandemic shutdowns.

Prospective movers who click through to the website can pick a state — Arizona, Idaho, Tennessee, Texas — and see financial incentives to use selected realtors, mortgage lenders or other service providers. Beyond the mechanics of buying a house, the online groups are a platform for places to pitch fed-up Californians who don’t know where to start.

“There’s a fair percentage of them that don’t know where they wanna go,” said Scott Fuller, an Arizona transplant and real estate investor who started LeavingTheBayArea.com and LeavingSoCal.com three years ago. “They just know they want to go somewhere else.”

That’s not surprising to Bill Bishop, author of “The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart.” He’s studied how over the past several decades, neighborhoods across the country have become increasingly politically homogeneous. Where people choose to live has become “a stage,” he said, to flaunt their values as old anchors like a one-company career fade into a blur of unstable jobs, anxiety and dwindling time with family and friends.

“What they’re doing is selling a way of life that then corresponds to political choice,” Bishop said. “It’s kind of pathetic, actually, but what the hell?”

Playing politics

It’s not just real estate agents using social media to reach jaded Californians. Sometimes, the California Exodus content is bankrolled by people in high places.

Take the YouTube video “Fleeing California,” which has racked up 2 million views since it was posted in March. It starts with sweeping L.A. views of palm trees and Spanish-tile roofs, then fades to a grainy montage of sidewalk tent cities and a person being pushed in front of an oncoming truck. A moment later, in Texas, viewers see happy kids getting off a school bus and a golden retriever bounding down a jungle gym while Republican Sen. Ted Cruz talks in the background.

The video was made by PragerU, a conservative digital media nonprofit that produces other titles like “Make Men Masculine Again” and “Dangerous People Are Teaching Your Kids.” The California video was commissioned by a donor, producer Will Witt said: Texas ranching and oil scion Windi Grimes, a board director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation and member of Trumpettes USA, a women’s group formed in Beverly Hills five years ago to boost President Trump as the country’s “savior.”

How many people are persuaded to pack up and move by similar videos, social media content or Joe Rogan’s recent podcasts on moving to Texas could help shuffle the country’s electoral map at a pivotal moment. Some of California’s last Republican strongholds, like Orange County, are seeing their residents decamp for other states — a net loss of nearly 25,000 people last year alone — along with notoriously liberal urban areas like L.A., which posted a net loss of more than 97,800 people.

The anti-California political spectacle playing out online has become a hobby for 30-year-old Texas country singer Charley Austin, who started the “Conservatives Leaving California” Facebook group last year. Some members post memes warning newcomers “Don’t California My Texas.” But Austin, who says he has campaigned for Trump, sees an opportunity to keep the state red as cities like Austin (“the San Francisco of Texas,” he said) go farther left.

“There’s nothing really we can do to stop people moving here,” Austin said. “The best thing you can do is help people that move here get acclimated to the state.”

More stories here:

https://calmatters.org/economy/2020/09/anti-california-dream-moving-industry/

Moving Scams

The more-affluent folks moving to California don’t U-haul. 

Record numbers of residents have been leaving California in recent years, but in 2020 the growth of remote work, the lure of cheaper housing and a summer of unprecedented wildfires has accelerated the trend. As a result, the moving business in San Francisco’s Bay Area is booming, but the surge has come with its own set of problems.

Moving trucks are hard to find, prices to get out of the Bay are being pushed sky-high, and the supply side of the market – with high starting costs and because movers are required to obtain state licenses – has been slow to respond.

The shortage has created openings for an underground moving economy complete with scammers who take advantage of desperate California escapees, left without easy options.

Moving companies across the Bay have said they were booked up months in advance through the summer. It continued through the autumn – in typical years, the industry sees a lull after kids start school. A spokesperson at Gentle Giant moving company says it performed three times the number of moves out of San Francisco in September 2020 than a year earlier.

Even at U-Haul stores – the rental truck retailer with the largest fleet across the US – trucks are in short supply. With so many trucks departing the Bay Area, the exodus has left an imbalance of returning vehicles. The shortage has sharply driven up truck prices for one-way trips out of town.

“Two households are moving out of California for every one moving in,” says Mark Perry, a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan who has been studying the US migration market over the past few years. “U-Haul is pricing it based on the imbalance they see and they now have a shortage of trucks in San Francisco.”

U-Haul changes truck prices regularly, but Perry has noted the pattern over time. Checking online recently, he noted that trucks going from Phoenix to San Francisco were only $311, but going the other direction it cost $2,500 – roughly eight times more. He checked cities in other top destinations for Californians, including Texas, Washington and Nevada, and found all outbound rates to be exponentially higher than inbound ones.

The high demand and high prices have created perfect market conditions for exploitation. Scammers are cashing in.

“There are hold-hostage cases where a mover will take possession of the belongings after agreeing to a price with the consumer, and then they will not give the belongings back unless the consumer pays well over and above what the agreed-to price was,” says Yeaphana La Marr, the acting chief of the California bureau of household goods and services, which regulates the moving industry. “Some just take the belongings and they are never seen again by the people who contracted for a move.”

The agency is also trying to crack down on new movers who are entering the booming market without licensing or insurance required by the state. Legitimate movers fill out an application, pass a test, undergo a background check and put up a $500 filing fee to obtain a license, and they have to prove they have the necessary resources and coverage to operate.

“Unlicensed activity is a major problem in the household moving industry and it creates a lot of consumer harm,” says La Marr. It is an accident-prone industry and customers could find themselves on the hook if they unknowingly hire a mover that doesn’t have liability insurance or workers’ compensation.

The underground moving economy is hard to track, but La Marr says the bureau does investigations based on tips from the public or other agencies, including local law enforcement. The bureau has seen a 74% surge in consumer complaints about movers since last year. “We don’t know whether Covid is a contributor or there are other factors, such as increased knowledge of the bureau,” she adds, explaining that her agency only assumed administration of moving industry regulations in 2018.

When an unauthorized mover is caught, the state will work with them to get licensed but some offenders are hit with citations, fines and, in some cases, jail time.

“For the more egregious violators, we would do a [district attorney] referral and that would be tried criminally,” La Marr says, adding that violators can be charged up to $10,000 per move. “The penalties are really high. So it is shocking how large the underground economy is.”

Unlicensed movers also make things more difficult for legitimate movers, who are now competing with low-balled offers from less experienced workers and more flexible timelines.

Read full article here:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/15/leaving-california-exodus-move-out-movers

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