2022 Boise Idaho Real Estate Blog

New Migration Report Shows Californians Can't Get Enough of Idaho

Main Treasure Valley Life

Californians keep coming to Idaho in droves, according to a recent study of the country’s most popular interstate moving routes released by STORAGECafé, a nationwide self-storage marketplace. Last year alone, more than 21,000 Californians moved to Idaho, which represents 26% of the almost 80,000 people that made the Gem State their home in 2018.

Californians are the country’s most active interstate movers – last year, almost 700,000 of them packed their bags and headed toward other states, including Texas, Arizona, Washington State, Nevada, and, obviously, Idaho. The most common reasons for leaving California include the expense and availability of housing, the high cost of living, taxes and natural disasters.

Idaho is One of California's Favorite Relocation Destinations

Moving a 2-bedroom home from California to Idaho costs between $3,900 and $4,300, according to United Van Lines, and it’s not the most affordable moving route Californians could be taking. Moving to Arizona comes with a price tag between $3,300 and $3,600, while going to Nevada is even cheaper – between $3,200 and $3,500.

What exactly attracts Californians toward Idaho? This question has multiple answers, and it’s difficult to assess whether any one of them is the determining factor for Californians relocating to Idaho, or if it’s rather a cumulation of all of them.

Let’s look at the numbers. California, with an area of about 163,000 square miles, is home to almost 40 million people, which translates to a population density of 251 people per square mile. Idaho, on the other hand, is about half the area of California and has almost 1.8 million residents, resulting in a population density of just 19 people per square mile. So, for a stressed-out Californian trying to get some peace and quiet, Idaho looks like the ideal place to move to.

Moreover, regarding housing expenses, the differences between the two states are enormous. Yardi Matrix data shows that renting an average apartment amounts to $3,700 per month in the San Francisco area, $2,530 in Los Angeles, and $2,729 in San Jose. By comparison, the average rent for an apartment in Boise is $1,160 per month.

Income tax is another card up Idaho’s sleeve. In a ranking of states created by Tax Foundation based on individual income taxes, where 1 levies the least and 50 levies the most, California is in 49th place while Idaho is in 26th. Idaho is also a generally tax-friendly state for retirees, as it does not tax Social Security and has low property and sales taxes.

Idaho Is a Gainer in Terms of Net Migration, but How Much Do They Love Californians?

Idaho received almost 80,000 new residents last year, and it lost only 55,000 people, which makes it a net gainer in terms of migration. Compared to a decade ago, Idaho’s population grew significantly – by no less than 12%, and the trend is holding up. In 2018, along with Nevada, Idaho was the fastest-growing state in the country, by 2.1%. The state’s Department of Labor also predicts that the population will keep growing in Idaho at an average rate of 1.1% per year until 2026, when it will reach a total of 1.88 million people.

Some of this projected population growth will obviously continue to originate in California, and this has always triggered mixed feelings in Idahoans. A 1979 Washington Post article, aptly titled “To Most Idahoans, A Plague of Locusts Is Californians” tells us that, back in the day, one of the most popular bumper stickers used to be “Don’t Californicate Idaho.” The main complaints Idahoans have against Californians relate to pushing the real estate prices up and changing the local culture.

Home Prices and Apartment Rents in Idaho Grew at Almost Double the National Rate

As quantifying changes in the local culture brought upon by Californians is an almost impossible endeavor, let’s see how things stand when it comes to real estate price increases. The average house price in Idaho evolved significantly over the past four years, from around $150,000 in 2016 to a little over $200,000 in 2019, according to US Census Bureau data, an increase of 35%. During the same period, the national average house price increased from $176,000 to $208,000, a jump of 18% – so only about half Idaho’s growth rate.

The trend also stands when we look at the evolution of rents. The average cost of a rental unit in Boise grew by 30%, or $266, between February 2016 and November 2019, from $901 to $1,168 today, according to Yardi Matrix data. That’s almost double the rate at which the average rent grew at a national level: in February 2016, the national average rent was $1,208 and, by November 2019, it reached almost $1,394, representing a $185, or a 15% increase.

Additionally, the self-storage market, which is generally affected by inbound migration trends, has also recorded price increases. Self-storage prices are up 5% from 2016 to the present day. Renting a self-storage unit in Boise costs $79 per month at the end of 2019, compared to $75 at the beginning of 2016.

While this growth on the real estate front certainly has something to do with the expanding population, it’s not the only reason—as Boise’s economy is in a good place right now and unemployment is low—creating the solid fundamentals for a strong housing market.

Will Idaho in general and Boise in particular become victims of their own success? That remains to be seen, but, for now, the influx of new residents is very likely to stimulate economic growth even further.

A special thanks to STORAGECafé for their data and reporting for this story

Ready to start your move to the Boise area? Call us at (208) 629-0217 or let us know what you are looking for here.

Posted by AndrewS at 12/17/2019 12:59:00 AM

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