Moving from the Bay to Sacramento?
The allure of Sacramento as a destination for Bay Area residents seeking more space and better prices is turning this once-quiet city into a bustling 'megaregion.' With an increasing number of people making the move inland, leaving coastal metros behind, Sacramento is experiencing a remarkable population surge. Redfin data reveals that more individuals are relocating from the Bay Area to Sacramento than to any other location in the country. While the Bay Area exodus may be a myth, the trend of migration to Sacramento is undoubtedly real and significant.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a process that was already underway, leading to a 70% increase in migration between San Francisco County and Sacramento County in 2020 compared to the previous year. Experts predict that this trend will continue, propelling the Sacramento region to grow by an estimated 4% over the next five years.
The pandemic's impact on work arrangements played a crucial role in motivating people like Jose Medina and his girlfriend to seek larger homes in Sacramento. As they transitioned to remote work, they realized their one-bedroom condo in Oakland was no longer sufficient. However, the search for housing in the East Bay proved intensely competitive, with properties frequently going well over asking prices, sometimes up to 50% more.
This mass influx of new residents is causing Sacramento's population to surge, growing by 26% between 2000 and 2019, a rate outpacing the Bay Area's 14.6% growth during the same period. A recent study conducted by the University of Southern California, Occidental College, and UC Davis points to a potential "megaregion" emerging, breaking down traditional barriers between the Bay Area and Sacramento's inland region. While this growth presents exciting opportunities, it also poses challenges for traffic and infrastructure, necessitating cooperation between various state agencies.
The demographic shifts are leading to an increase in "supercommuters," individuals traveling over 50 miles to work, especially from the Central Valley counties to coastal metros. As high-wage earners seek larger homes further inland, the phenomenon is likely to persist. This pattern extends beyond Sacramento, with migration stretching to surrounding areas like El Dorado and Amador counties, where new residents may face unfamiliar challenges, including managing land amidst rising wildfire risks.
The demand for housing in Sacramento is significantly outstripping supply, resulting in rising housing costs throughout the region. The median home price in Sacramento stands at $475,000, a notable 38% increase from 2019, while average San Francisco homes sell for nearly triple that amount. The city of Placerville saw an impressive 27% jump in average home prices since 2019.
As Sacramento's transformation continues, state agencies will have to collaborate to address infrastructure needs, while residents grapple with the impact on housing availability and cost. Despite the challenges, the magnetic appeal of Sacramento's vibrant culture, ample space, and attractive prices continues to draw people from the Bay Area and beyond, making it a rapidly evolving 'megaregion' with a promising future.