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Californians Explain Why They’re Moving To Texas

Ryan Petersen’s roots in Orange County, California, run deep. Both his grandparents and parents were the original owners of their homes in Southern California and raised families there.

But Petersen, 25, says he didn’t see a future for himself in the state.

In 2021, Petersen and his wife, Erika Dominguez, found themselves struggling to make ends meet with the high costs of rent.

“We were paying $2,400 a month for an 800-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment,” says Petersen, who worked for a startup at the time. To help make ends meet, he also did side gigs for “Instacart and DoorDash in the evenings while one car was out being rented on Turo.”

Petersen says a lack of housing affordability combined with their ability to work remotely and California’s politics drove the couple to Texas.

They are not the only ones.

Is it really worth it to move to Texas?
The reasons behind a California-to-Texas move are varied. But affordability, job options and politics are major drivers, say experts. The Lone Star state draws people who like its policy of no income tax, lower cost of living, and job opportunities in the tech and energy industries.

The median value of a home in California was 2.7 times higher than in Texas in 2021, according to 2021 American Community 1-Year Estimates, making the move to Texas attractive for first-time homebuyers. For existing homeowners, the move would offer them a chance to bank a tidy sum of money from the sale of their home.

In 2021, leaving California for Texas was the most popular interstate move in the country, with 111,000 people – or 300 people a day – making the change. The exodus that year represented an 80% increase from 2012, according to an analysis of U.S. Census and IPUMS data by StorageCafé.

The number of people leaving the Golden State for Texas grew by 36% in 2021 compared with 2016 while the migration stream from all other states to Texas did not change, rising 0.1%, according to data from the
“But we kept getting outbid on condos and townhomes, and we’d get outbid by 150 grand. Some of the places didn’t even get back to us,” Petersen says.

While they bid on more than a dozen homes and lost, they only could view a few.

“The lines were cut off at 9 a.m. There were too many people,” he says. “My father had been a broker for 25 years and he had never seen these lines in his entire career. I mean, I’m talking lines that went out of the development down the street.”

While his parents had moved to Texas the previous year after selling their house for a tidy profit, Petersen, and his wife, who met as MBA students at Biola University, a private Christian University in Southern California, had never considered the move until their frenzied house-hunting experience.

Petersen says he also supported Texas’ stance on gun rights and abortion.

‘Wait, I can have that?’
Soon they zeroed in on the Dallas area.

“I just don’t vibe with the culture down in Austin and Houston. It’s more L.A. and I was trying to get away from that,” he says.

In May 2022, they bought a four bedroom, three bath, 2,800 square feet home with an office on a 9,000 square foot lot for $500,000 −$25,000 above asking.


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