Housing Crisis, The Great California Export

Written by T. Logan Dayne

Even as it is downplayed by journalists and politicians, it has become increasingly difficult to ignore the Californian exodus. Ten of thousands are fleeing the state of California and seeking greener pastures in places safer, less expensive, and less draconian. It is to the chagrin of other states, however, that Californians may be bringing their problems with them.

California is reported as being ranked as one the lowest states in terms of the cost of living and housing affordability, beating only Hawaii. Many are fleeing to states such as Utah and Idaho, with Salt Lake City and Boise being ranked at the top in the nation in terms of forecasted housing market. The flee from California to other states, driving up their housing prices, was so noticeable that the New York Times published an article titled, “The Californians Are Coming. So Is Their Housing Crisis,” focusing especially on the impact this was having on Idaho. Idaho has been shown to have the largest share of new residents from California and as of April 2021 topped the list as the highest percentage of U.S. inbound moves. This has caused a growing resentment as graffiti reading “Go Back to Cali” has begun to appear along freeways. 

Debate as to whether the housing crisis is a state or federal issue has begun to emerge from this migration. Boise Democratic Mayor Lauren McLean seems to believe that the problem is a federal one, not just local to California. Issues such as the ones that have plagued California are popping up everywhere. Problems such as homelessness, stagnated development, and middle class frustrations are being seen more frequently and more rapidly. Whether this is true or not, things do not look good for Utah. Dave Anderton, a spokesman for the Salt Lake Board of Realtors, still sees the state going down the same hole as California, stating, “It seems to me that we’re becoming more like California…When it comes to home prices, we’re more on a trajectory like California.”

With the California housing crisis getting only worse and worse, many are leaving the Golden State. But as more and more leave the state for  states that are more affordable, the massive influx of new residents could lead to a domino effect in other states.

Photo Cred: Kathy Plonka, The Spokesman-Review