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-   -   Thinking of Leaving California--where should I move? (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=231320)

CaliNative Dec 24, 2017 10:05 AM

Thinking of Leaving California--where should I move?
 
Tired of paying $2500 a month rent in coastal San Diego. The climate and beaches are nice, but the living costs and traffic are not. Crime is bad, the homeless problem is getting worse, and aggravations mount. But is it any better anywhere else? Limiting my search to the U.S. for the moment, but I know some consider New Zealand a paradise. So, I am also open to international ideas (I hear good things about Chile, Argentina and Uruguay).

My search criteria:

1. Affordable living cost---rents less than $1000 for a nice one br apt. or under $250,000 for a decent house. Reasonable taxes and govt. services.

2. Climate not intolerably cold in winter or insufferably hot, humid and bug ridden in summer. Moderate 4 seasons OK. I think I could get used to a cold winter as long as it doesn't get much below 0 degrees F. Long hot humid summers more difficult, and bugs that bite are a negative. That rules out much of the south and Maine during the early summer black fly season.

3. Decent cultural attractions, nice parks, museums, libraries etc. Major sports teams a plus but not essential. Smaller cities (under 500,000) OK as long as there is a good university nearby, and a fair concentration of intelligent people.

4. Tolerable traffic & commutes, decent economy, fair air & water quality, no EPA superfund cleanup sites nearby.

5. Crime and homelessness not rampant; opioid and drug use not out of control.

6. No bias or dislike against ex-Californians ( I guess that rules out Oregon & Washington).

7. Minimal risk from hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, fires, droughts, floods etc.

Any suggestions, U.S. primarily but also foreign?

Are there any affordable paradises left, U.S. or foreign?

Eightball Dec 24, 2017 12:06 PM

Cape Town, South Africa or coastal (preferably, so cost is less) Portugal or Spain.

dc_denizen Dec 24, 2017 12:33 PM

California really needs to deal with its excessive taxes and other quality of life problems.

State tax is what, 13%?

ThePhun1 Dec 24, 2017 1:13 PM

If you're looking to save money but have all the big city amenities, move somewhere in the Texas triangle. Houston, DFW, Austin or San Antonio and especially the first two will do the job.

ThePhun1 Dec 24, 2017 1:28 PM

Or you could go to Jacksonville. Best skyline in the US...and North America bar none.

Centropolis Dec 24, 2017 3:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ThePhun1 (Post 8028411)
If you're looking to save money but have all the big city amenities, move somewhere in the Texas triangle. Houston, DFW, Austin or San Antonio and especially the first two will do the job.

houston blows like three or four of the search criteria out of the water right off the bat.:haha:

L41A Dec 24, 2017 3:22 PM

Nashville.

Texas, Florida, Arizona is probably too hot for you. Northeast and Midwest is probably too cold for you. You may not like seasons. If so, Nashville may not work for you either. So maybe somewhere outside of US. Or maybe stay in California and move to somewhere like Sacramento.

Centropolis Dec 24, 2017 3:22 PM

yes, new zealand of course, if you don't mind sort of cutting yourself off from the states since you are wanting to keep things cheap. flights can be rather expensive compared to other long haul destinations. also, if i were used to california, but wanted to stay budget-conscious, i would be scanning the inter-mountain west. denver is becoming rather pricey at this point, i might look at idaho or new mexico.

for some californians, especially if they aren't really familiar with it, southern culture/politics is a no-go, so if you go that route just make sure that's a non-issue. the larger the city, that becomes less of an issue, but then awful traffic/quality of life comes into play depending on what you do for a living.

re: nashville, i'm not sure you can even get a nice 1 BR under 1k in a good location these days.

pdxtex Dec 24, 2017 3:54 PM

oooh, the remake my life thread. i do these all the time in my head too. so based on your criteria, you'd like to avoid bad weather, criminals and natural catastrophe but also have an affordable and mentally stimulating city. if i were rolling the dice, id base my choice on the affordable housing and weather quotient first, and then learn to work around the other less desirable traits. for me, id probably choose atlanta if i were to leave portland. its nearing megasize metropolis status, has good weather, and its in a burgeoning region. plus its close to florida for sunny fun in winter and not too far from the east coast either. my plan b's plan b, so my plan c! would probably be cincinatti. its cheap, straddles the south and midwest, and seems like its on the up and up. plus the weather is nearly sub tropical so there is that. dunno, good luck in your search. also, don't worry about anti california bias in the NW. thats mostly a bunch of bollocks. i know lots of people from california who come up here. just change your plates on your car quickly and the air wont be let our of your tires.

niwell Dec 24, 2017 4:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eightball (Post 8028399)
Cape Town, South Africa or coastal (preferably, so cost is less) Portugal or Spain.

Cape Town can be great, but fails OP's criteria on a number of points. Crime, of course, being the main one. While the City Bowl and Atlantic coast areas are reasonably safe by South African standards the crime rate is still many times that of a place like San Diego. It's a risk I'd be willing to take but if someone is specifically concerned about crime it's not an attractive prospect. Everyone I know who has lived there has experienced some form of crime (whether direct or indirect), and stuff like monthly fees to a private security firm, electric fences, burglar bars and panic buttons attached to lanyards of are a fact of life. Things as simple as walking to a corner store by yourself at night are questionable - you'll probably be fine but the chances are higher than you'd like. Similarly the visible homeless poor population is very much in your face, even in nicer areas. Just a couple weeks ago a bunch of Metrorail train cars were torched in a mini riot in the central railway station as a response to terrible service / cancelled trains (in turn as a result of rampant cable theft of railway equipment).

With all the foreign investment in property it's not as cheap as it used to be, either, both in housing prices and the food/drink prices in nicer establishments. If you're retiring or getting paid in Euro/USD this is still not much of an issue but if you're relying on a local job paid in Rand it's not a cheap city. Wages are still quite a bit below what one would get paid in Gauteng Province for an identical job.

The recent wildfires also came very close to damaging large parts of the city, so it may not be safe on that front either!


Portugal seems like an interesting suggestion - haven't heard anything but good stuff about the country and it seems very affordable.

cannedairspray Dec 24, 2017 5:00 PM

Obviously, the weather thing is the hardest part. It crosses off basically all of the country. I'd tell you Raleigh might be nice, but you probably wouldn't like the summer. Or Madison, but you certainly wouldn't like the winter.

You basically want a Mediterranean climate. That's the West Coast and Hawaii. Oregon and Washington are cancelled out because of an "anti-California bias" (why would you care? How would this discrimination affect you?), and Hawaii certainly isn't cheap. So now we're left with California, but where is cheap that's also near lots of cultural/sporting amenities? The entire Redwood area is crossed off because of the latter.

Maybe somewhere around Santa Cruz? Close-ish to the Bay Area, just stay to the north part of Monterey Bay because the southern part is gonna be too expensive. I had a studio there for over 1k and that was a decade ago.

You're probably either going to have to concede on one of your criteria or go international. If you still want to stay in the US, my votes are for the first places I mentioned: Madison or Raleigh, in that order.

dc_denizen Dec 24, 2017 5:12 PM

Carlsbad or Encinitas?

johnnypd Dec 24, 2017 5:16 PM

I suggest a smaller college town in an unfashionable location. You'll be comfortable with the liberal politics, they usually have a good if relatively limited range of amenities, better than average cultural facilities, not completely rubbish job prospects and cheaper real estate when compared to thriving big cities. Madison is a good suggestion from cannedairspray, as would be Ann Arbor or even Athens, Georgia.

Pedestrian Dec 24, 2017 5:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dc_denizen (Post 8028402)
California really needs to deal with its excessive taxes and other quality of life problems.

State tax is what, 13%?

The marginal rate, on people with INCOMES (not net worth) in the millions, is just under 13%. In fact, I pay something like 3% on my middle class retirement income in spite of the considerably higher marginal rate on my last dollar.

Don't feel sorry for Californians on this basis. I own homes in California and supposedly low tax Arizona and spend about half my time in each. I could claim to be a resident of either state and have "run the numbers". I'd pay less in Arizona but not enough less to cancel out some other reasons for continuing to claim my SF home as my "primary residence".

lio45 Dec 24, 2017 5:19 PM

"Affordable Mediterranean climate with all the urban amenities and no crime" doesn't really exist anywhere in the world, so I agree with cannedairspray you will have to concede on some criteria.

You sound very confident that you could take your job with you anywhere...? Or else you're retired?

lio45 Dec 24, 2017 5:24 PM

Actually I think the only way to meet all the criteria -- given that the OP seems to be fine working from anywhere, I assume an internet connection suffices for him to earn a living -- would be to be split between two places. Supercheap modest home in a midsize Upstate NY city to spend summers, and tiny cheap coastal Florida condo to spend winters.

If you owned any California real estate you would end up able to pay cash for both these properties AND still have a bundle left...

Pedestrian Dec 24, 2017 5:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cannedairspray (Post 8028475)
Obviously, the weather thing is the hardest part. It crosses off basically all of the country. I'd tell you Raleigh might be nice, but you probably wouldn't like the summer. Or Madison, but you certainly wouldn't like the winter.

You basically want a Mediterranean climate. That's the West Coast and Hawaii. Oregon and Washington are cancelled out because of an "anti-California bias" (why would you care? How would this discrimination affect you?), and Hawaii certainly isn't cheap. So now we're left with California, but where is cheap that's also near lots of cultural/sporting amenities? The entire Redwood area is crossed off because of the latter.

Maybe somewhere around Santa Cruz? Close-ish to the Bay Area, just stay to the north part of Monterey Bay because the southern part is gonna be too expensive. I had a studio there for over 1k and that was a decade ago.

You're probably either going to have to concede on one of your criteria or go international. If you still want to stay in the US, my votes are for the first places I mentioned: Madison or Raleigh, in that order.

The southern Appalachians is probably as close to "good weather" as he'll come outside CA. The summers are mild due to altitude and the winters, in NC and southward, aren't too harsh. Asheville, Birmingham, Chattanooga . . . . I spent 4 years in Durham, next door to Raleigh, and if weather's the criterion I vote an unequivocal thumbs down. Nothing's like a central Carolina ice storm and the summers are typically hot/humid.

Frankly, the "hate Californians" thing in the northwest is probably over-rated but the rainy winters are another issue. Even in Northern CA that problem can be bad enough to send me packing to Tucson (when the jet stream dives south and brings SF Seattle's weather).

San Diego, near the ocean--like La Jolla--unquestionably has the best weather in the continental US and I'd rate it over Hawaii too (Hawaii's too humid and a bit too hot for my taste). I haven't looked into it, but for low taxes and cheaper living, maybe look a bit farther south in Mexico (not all the way to Cabo but across the border).

Pedestrian Dec 24, 2017 5:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lio45 (Post 8028490)
"Affordable Mediterranean climate with all the urban amenities and no crime" doesn't really exist anywhere in the world, so I agree with cannedairspray you will have to concede on some criteria.

You sound very confident that you could take your job with you anywhere...? Or else you're retired?

I say check this one out:

http://media-cdn.timesfreepress.com/...a1f6cac463.jpg
http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/b...bs-sur/434627/

How Chattanooga became the 'Best Town Ever'

spoonman Dec 24, 2017 5:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dc_denizen (Post 8028482)
Carlsbad or Encinitas?

Still in SD metro so not any cheaper. Likely more.

Centropolis Dec 24, 2017 8:19 PM

charleston, sc has become somewhat fashionable, lately. hot summers, though. good food, at least was cheap, coastal, mild winters.

jd3189 Dec 24, 2017 8:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pedestrian (Post 8028497)
The southern Appalachians is probably as close to "good weather" as he'll come outside CA. The summers are mild due to altitude and the winters, in NC and southward, aren't too harsh. Asheville, Birmingham, Chattanooga . . . .

I would vouch for that too. Particularly Chattanooga and Asheville since I lived near the latter and visited the former for a few days.

The culture is still Southern around the cities but there has been a steady flow of newcomers over the years. A lot of former Californians and people from the mountain west have come here to settle. Even Downtown Asheville is a hippie oasis in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which has made it expensive.

Chattanooga can get somewhat humid in the summer, but it's not anything to worry about. But then again I'm not a good source because I grew up in humidity.

Either way, it's a beautiful part of the Eastern US and South in particular. Reminds me of the French Countryside with some industrialism.

lio45 Dec 24, 2017 10:13 PM

Chattanooga is pretty hot and humid in summer, though. (By California standards.)

How about the highest elevations in the interior Southwest? (AZ/NM/UT)
Aren't there select areas that are sunny and dry year-round yet not too hot in summer due to altitude? I'd guess so.

the urban politician Dec 24, 2017 10:38 PM

Move to Chicago.

It's a big, real American city. Real problems, real solutions, real everything.

Lots of amazing food, awesome nightlife, corruption, gangs, great architecture, easy to make friends, good prices, limited douchebaggery.

It's a real place. 4 seasons. Summers are amazing, winter is cold.

Come to Chicago

Sun Belt Dec 25, 2017 3:04 AM

With so many locals fleeing their island, Puerto Rico has some cheap ocean front places for well under $200,000. You could snag a foreclosure for even cheaper if you pay cash.

Here's an ocean front condo on the 18th floor (won't be flooded or blown down by the next hurricane) just outside of San Juan for $165,000, hoa $155/mo.
https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sal...69_rect/13_zm/

Sun Belt Dec 25, 2017 3:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pedestrian (Post 8028497)
The southern Appalachians is probably as close to "good weather" as he'll come outside CA. The summers are mild due to altitude and the winters, in NC and southward, aren't too harsh. Asheville, Birmingham, Chattanooga . . . . I spent 4 years in Durham, next door to Raleigh, and if weather's the criterion I vote an unequivocal thumbs down. Nothing's like a central Carolina ice storm and the summers are typically hot/humid.



San Diego, near the ocean--like La Jolla--unquestionably has the best weather in the continental US and I'd rate it over Hawaii too (Hawaii's too humid and a bit too hot for my taste). I haven't looked into it, but for low taxes and cheaper living, maybe look a bit farther south in Mexico (not all the way to Cabo but across the border).

What about Reno, NV? On the CA border, but much cheaper and not too far from The Bay. All the outdoor activities of the Sierra and Lake Tahoe.

cannedairspray Dec 25, 2017 4:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 8028669)
Move to Chicago.

It's a big, real American city. Real problems, real solutions, real everything.

Lots of amazing food, awesome nightlife, corruption, gangs, great architecture, easy to make friends, good prices, limited douchebaggery.

It's a real place. 4 seasons. Summers are amazing, winter is cold.

Come to Chicago

I'm not saying you're a satirical "Go Chicago!" twitter account, but if you were, would your posts be any different?

BnaBreaker Dec 25, 2017 6:37 AM

So you want a vibrant urban area with no crime and perfect weather that is also affordable? Hm... I think you might need to lower your expectations just a touch. Have you looked into Azerbaijan?

Pavlov's Dog Dec 25, 2017 2:30 PM

Columbus, Indiana. Lots of great architecture for such a small town. Very low unemployment rate. Cheap place to live.

Not in a city but 45 min to Indianapolis, 1 hr. to Louisville and 1:30 to Cincinnati. Less than an hour to Bloomington where you have Indiana University so its pretty close to a lot of things.

dc_denizen Dec 26, 2017 1:51 AM

New Orleans
Reno
Porto, Portugal
Penang, Malaysia

CastleScott Dec 26, 2017 2:10 AM

Chattanooga is very nice-been there a few times, Huntsville AL is nice too and not far from Chattanooga.

As for me-wife and I may just stay in Sac or move up the road to Yuba City (there's still lots of inland places in Cali that are affordable).

CastleScott Dec 26, 2017 2:17 AM

Oh btw you might like Colorado Springs although it can snow there in early May however the summer thunderstorms are fun to watch!

Denver has gotten too expensive and even a bit like Cali a bit over-taxed and regulated locally.

Tulsa and Oklahoma City are quite affordable.

weatherguru18 Dec 26, 2017 10:14 PM

Regardless of what anybody says, you're going to get the biggest bang for your dollar in Texas. It doesn't matter where (although Austin is increasingly expensive). Houston, DFW or San Antonio is your best bet. I just bought a brand new, 1,800 sq. house, fully custom, for $230,000 (Lennar).

I grant you the property taxes are high in Texas but there's no state income tax, business friendly climate, low taxes in general, hot in the summer, cool in the winter (with bouts of warmth and biting cold at times). Granted Houston and DFW aren't the prettiest landscapes in the world but if you're looking for tax relief and great quality of life on the cheap, you should consider it.

hauntedheadnc Dec 28, 2017 6:05 PM

People have mentioned Asheville as a place for your to consider, so I'll address what I can about it considering your criteria:

Quote:

Originally Posted by CaliNative (Post 8028377)
1. Affordable living cost---rents less than $1000 for a nice one br apt. or under $250,000 for a decent house. Reasonable taxes and govt. services.

This might be difficult. You can still find one-bedroom apartments for under a thousand, but they'll still be close to that amount. They'll also be tend to be in charmless suburban complexes. The cheapest I was able to find was $835 for a rundown 70's complex on the east side of town. You won't find anything affordable in or near the cool neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, if you're very lucky you can find a house inside the city for $250k, but about the only places that go for that are doublewide trailers. The farther out from town you go the lower the prices will be. In town, for a house though, expect to pay $300k at minimum.

Quote:

2. Climate not intolerably cold in winter or insufferably hot, humid and bug ridden in summer. Moderate 4 seasons OK. I think I could get used to a cold winter as long as it doesn't get much below 0 degrees F. Long hot humid summers more difficult, and bugs that bite are a negative. That rules out much of the south and Maine during the early summer black fly season.
The past couple of summers have features 90+ temperatures for weeks on end, and bugs will be awful if you are near any source of standing water like a pond or a wetland. Mosquitoes can be a special kind of hell. In the winter it can get viciously, bitterly cold, and I've been informed by knowledgeable sources from northern climes that there is something about the cold here that is just somehow more unbearable than the cold found in Connecticut, Wisconsin, or the Andes Mountains (which is where the knowledgeable sources were from). The coldest is has ever gotten here is -35F.

Quote:

3. Decent cultural attractions, nice parks, museums, libraries etc. Major sports teams a plus but not essential. Smaller cities (under 500,000) OK as long as there is a good university nearby, and a fair concentration of intelligent people.
Decent attractions, yes but you likely won't consider UNC-A a good university, nor any of the others nearby like Western Carolina, Mars Hill, Appalachian State, or any of the colleges. The closest "good" universities are probably Wake Forest and the University of Tennessee.

Quote:

4. Tolerable traffic & commutes, decent economy, fair air & water quality, no EPA superfund cleanup sites nearby.
To a Californian traffic is tolerable so long as it is actually moving, I have been informed, but to the natives here, traffic is godawful. We are a city of 90,000 in a metro of 250,000 accommodating -- according to the latest figures -- roughly 27,000 tourists per day (or about ten million per year if you prefer). That's a lot of people driving.

Quote:

5. Crime and homelessness not rampant; opioid and drug use not out of control.
We can have, depending on the weather, between 500 and a 1000 homeless people in town on any given day. Crime isn't out of control, but the drug problem is. In 2016, 400 babies were born addicted to opiates at the hospital here in town, which is ten percent of the total of babies born there, and double the number of addicted babies born in 2015. Meanwhile, a drug bust in a neighboring county ended up with so many arrests that school buses had to be brought in to transport the arrestees, and it turned out they were the center of a drug ring that supplied heroin to all the big cities in Tennessee.

Quote:

6. No bias or dislike against ex-Californians ( I guess that rules out Oregon & Washington).
Anyone from outside gets bitched about, whether they're from Florida, Atlanta, up north, or anywhere else, but people will be decent enough not to say anything to your face.

Quote:

7. Minimal risk from hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, fires, droughts, floods etc.
Increasingly it seems we're having more erratic weather, leading to more droughts and fires. Otherwise we have the occasional flood but we're safe otherwise. Tornadoes are extremely rare and only touch down briefly. I can recall a huge to-do made in the news when one touched down on the Biltmore Estate and tore a branch off a tree, and again when one did the same thing in West Asheville. You won't have to worry about volcanoes, and you won't have to worry about earthquakes until the New Madrid fault lets loose again, or the one that hit Charleston back in the 18-whatevers.

Now, I know you weren't likely to consider my city in the first place, but you did ask, and I figured I'd answer all the same.


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