I had a conversation with a neighbor last night which surprised me. This couple have been my neighbors for 20 years so I wasn’t expecting it when she told me last night that she and her husband were planning to leave California, possibly in a few months. I asked why and my neighbor explained she just doesn’t see the appeal of California anymore. She said she was tired of the politics, the high taxes, and then she mentioned the homeless people downtown. I asked if she meant downtown Los Angeles and she said “there too” but she meant downtown here in Huntington Beach, the town where I live. She told me she’d been walking downtown recently and a homeless man bumped into her and then turned around threatening to hit her in the back of the head.
She’s not the only person I know who is packing up. This summer a friend of mine moved to Florida. He took a job making good money, similar to the job he had here in Orange County, but as he told me at length, the money goes a lot farther outside California. By selling his house here, he was able to buy a new home in Florida, plus a new car, and still have some significant savings for his retirement. He showed me pictures of the new place and it looked nice.
Then, a couple of months ago, another friend who had grown up in California and lived in SoCal for most of his life told me he was moving to upstate New York. This friend had lived in a series of nice homes with his family but they had been rentals. The price of California real estate made it difficult to find a home he could afford to buy. But in New York, he found a beautiful house on five acres of land for about what you’d spend on a small condo in Orange County. I was sorry to see him go but happy for him at the same time. He had to leave California to find his American dream.