Forget Portland and Seattle - people priced out of expensive California cities are buying homes in Idaho for 'monopoly money'

boise idahoPaul W Thompson/Shutterstock

  • Californians priced out of Pacific border states are heading to Idaho, Arizona, and Nevada.
  • A recent Bloomberg story calls the trend an "echo boom" ignited by California's record housing prices, volatile politics, high taxes, and "constant threat of natural disaster."
  • It's driving up prices in places like Idaho's capital, Boise - the city experienced an 18% jump in home prices since last year.

Idaho may be the new frontier for Californians.

In a new Bloomberg story, reporters Prashant Gopal and Noah Buhayer describe an "echo boom" in which Californians are invading landlocked cities out west, like Boise, Phoenix, and Reno, Nevada.

The move is ignited by California's record housing prices, volatile politics, high taxes, and "constant threat of natural disaster," like the recent wildfires up and down the state.

It wasn't long ago that people priced out of California were fleeing to Seattle and Portland, but prices - along with traffic and frustrations - are rising there, too. Earlier this year, Forbes named the roughly 700,000-person Boise metro area the No. 1 fasting-growing city in America, followed by Seattle.

"Eventually the laws of supply and demand are going to drive people to other parts of the country," Glenn Kelman, chief executive officer of real-estate firm Redfin, told Bloomberg. "Boise isn't five times worse than California as a place to live. But places in California are five times more expensive."

The median home price in California hit a record $600,000 in June, more than twice the national median. Kelman says it's easy for homeowners relocating to places like Boise to feel like they're spending "monopoly money." But naturally, the Californians are driving up prices and frustrating some locals.

The cost of a typical home in Boise's Ada County hit nearly $300,000 in September, an 18% jump from the previous year, Gopal and Buhayer reported. One new gated community sells homes with huge windows and "wine walls" to mostly Californians.

Rent is also much cheaper. According to Zillow, median rent in the Boise metro is $1,400, compared to $2,300 in the Seattle metro area, and $3,324 in the San Francisco metro area.

But the economic relief of moving to a down-home city is just one reason Idaho experienced a rise in popularity among Californians, who made up 85% of the state's total net domestic immigration in 2016, according to US Census Data cited by Bloomberg.

Boise has for years appeared on rankings of the best places to live by outlets like US News, Niche, and SmartAsset, touting spectacular outdoor attractions, high quality of life, and safety, in addition to low taxes, affordable housing, and a strong job market.

Read the full article on Bloomberg »

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