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They wanted to stay close to the
So they decided to go inland - all the way to
"The only hesitation was (leaving) the great weather," the 31-year old Birtwistle said. "But we talked about what we can get here and what we can get there for the same price and that was a no-brainer."
Residents of coastal
Moves out of the area remain far below levels seen during last decade's housing bubble, when out-migration was nearly triple what it was in 2016 - and real estate agents urged clients to "drive until you qualify."
But after slowing down in the aftermath of the Great Recession, which devastated the housing market, out-migration is picking up as prices climb steadily higher, according to
To escape high prices, people - often younger and with lower- or middle-class incomes - are looking toward the east-of-
"(Migration) is settling back into longer-term patterns," said
Others were more blunt.
"The impact is to create an auction situation between the haves and the have-nots,"
In 2016, about 75,000 more people left
A similar trend exists in
Detailed data on who moved and where is not available yet for 2016, but it is for previous years.
In 2015, the top destination for those leaving LA County was the Inland Empire, followed by
Younger people and those with low and moderate incomes moved out at the greatest rate, though negative domestic migration was seen among people of all generations and income brackets, including households with incomes of $100,000 to $200,000.
"People still want to be here," said
That includes people such as former
Similar-sized homes in
"Really, the desire to move outside of
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The population in
But as people such as Birtwistle leave, some businesses and economists are becoming concerned.
"How do we grow our economy when we can't recruit the workers who can come here and have a decent quality of life?" Levine said.
Businesses are struggling to recruit and some are putting off expansions, Lapsley said, while others are moving mid-level office jobs to neighboring states.
"They are moving folks in order to provide a better quality of life," he said, noting employees will also take a lower salary in a less-expensive state. "It's a win-win."
A recent report from
At Ytel, a LA-area software company, some employees commute an hour each way to work, unable to afford a house in a city with a median price of $727,000.
"It's highly inefficient," founder and Chief Executive
To help, Newsom said he lets employees work from home and use video conferencing. Or they can work flexible hours so they can drive in after rush hour.
"In my dream world, I would want my employees to have homes close to the office," he said. But "it's difficult for them to do and you've got to make a very good (salary) to live in south
It's a problem that extends beyond
From 2007 to 2014, 502,000 more residents earning below $50,000 annually moved out of the state than moved in, while people earning above that level moved in at a greater rate than they left, according to a recent report from Beacon Economics.
If affordability doesn't improve, lower- and middle-income households will increasingly leave, Beacon principal Thornberg said. But he predicted that wealthy individuals will still come and the economy would just grow slower and tilt toward the rich.
"People moving out of the area, is that a problem? Not necessarily," Thornberg said. "A lot of it has to do with what your goals are."
The stay-at-home mom and account executive - who described themselves as comfortably middle-class - said they were priced out in
So last fall, they purchased a five bedroom, $434,000 home in a new subdivision near
Serrao, 41, said her husband's commute has stretched from five minutes to nearly two hours. But Serrao said the move has been worth it.
Her husband works remotely three days a week and her children, ages 4 and 6, have a lifestyle that would've been difficult to afford in
"The kids can ride bikes in the backyard and I can cook dinner and not have to worry about them," she said.
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