Anti-California dream creates booming business opportunities

Many California residents have become disillusioned with the high cost of living and the state’s handling of natural disasters

In recent years, the number of Californians leaving the Golden State has exceeded the number of new residents moving in, and the mass exodus has created business opportunities for companies offering to help disillusioned residents settle elsewhere in the United States.

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Two of those companies are LeavingTheBayArea.com and LeavingSoCal.com, started by Scott Fuller, a real estate broker now residing in Arizona. Fuller told Fox Business that he got the ideas for these companies by working with a lot of clients who were “getting fed up and tired of what’s happening in California.”

A for sale sign stands in front of a house, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Westwood, Mass.  (AP)

He said he started the companies to provide services to people who were “looking to relocate but were overwhelmed with the task, weren’t sure where to go … and needed assistance with the actual relocation process, itself.”

“Overwhelmingly, we’ve found that our clients who have moved out of state have certainly been happy with their decision and have not come back,” Fuller said.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the most common motivations for Californians to leave was based on the cost of living, traffic, congestion, and home prices, Fuller said.

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“What we’ve really seen in the last year, especially since COVID, is people now have a lot more concerns about what’s coming up with tax increases,” Fuller said. “We’re seeing more and more high-income earners who are looking at options of moving out of California because they’re concerned their tax rate is going to increase significantly.”

In recent months, many residents are concerned with the state’s mass fires and how those are being handled, Fuller said.

Another company offering re-location assistance out of California is “ExitCalifornia.org.” Visitors are asked to complete a “60-Second Relocation Assessment,” and are then matched with a relocation adviser that guides the prospective mover “through the overwhelming process of moving out of state.”

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Social media groups revolving around the theme of leaving California have also proliferated along with widespread discontent. One is “Leaving California,” a Facebook group of nearly 23,000 members with the stated aim of “helping people leave California for a better life, less traffic, lower taxes, less regulation, better education, lower cost of living, etc., etc.”

A larger, and more recent group, on Facebook is “Life After California,” with more than 36,000 members. The page features the experiences and advice from people who have moved from California, but people currently in the state who are considering leaving are welcome too.

Statistics released late last year by the California Department of Finance showed that the state lost nearly 40,000 people between July 2018 and July 2019. State officials said it was the first time since the 2010 census that more people left California over the course of a year, contributing to the state’s slowest recorded growth rate in more than a century.

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