NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 9, 2005

People are cashing out of high tax, overly-regulated metro areas such as New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco, where real estate prices have gone through the roof, and moving to more affordable locations, writes BusinessWeek's Michelle Conlin.

The top metro destinations are Phoenix, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth and Tampa-St. Petersburg:

  • The price gap between urban coastal areas and the rest of the country is at a historic high, while at the same time, the information gap is shrinking, allowing more people to form long-distance relationships with employers, working remotely from anywhere.
  • The moves are also a response to soaring health care and tuition costs, mounting personal debt, battered portfolios and traffic; others just want to semi-retire.
  • During the second quarter of 2004, about 42 percent of California's home sellers over 55 moved out of the state, up from 23 percent in 2003; Los Angeles homeowners are moving to Nevada in such numbers that the waiting time for moving vans is often a month.

While retirees have been migrating to the Sun Belt for years, the difference is that now there are people in the prime of their lives and in the middle of their careers uprooting themselves.

As an example, one forty-something family recently sold their 1,200 square-foot home in San Diego, netting $318,000 in profit, and bought a 3,400 square-foot castle in Dallas with five bedrooms, a pool, a Jacuzzi, cabana and new furniture for $241,000.

Source: Michelle Conlin, "Far from the Madding Crowd," BusinessWeek, January 31, 2005.

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