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High Desert homes in demand; prices inch up

     Demand is up for homes in the High Desert, but the supply isn’t keeping up, according to November real...

Article Date : 12/18/2009
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More Californians look for the exit (Posted Date :Tuesday, January 13, 2009)
LOS ANGELES • Mike Reilly spent his lifetime chasing the California dream. This year he’s going to look for it in Colorado.
With a house purchase near Denver in the works, the 38-yearold engineering contractor plans to restart his family’s future 1,200 miles away from his home state’s lemon groves, sunshine and beaches. For him, years of rising taxes, deadend schools, unchecked illegal immigration and clogged traffic have sapped the allure of the place writer Wallace Stegner once described as “America only more so.”
Is there something left of the California dream?
“ If yo u a re a Hollywood actor,” Reilly says, “but not for us.”
Since the days of the Gold Rush, California has represented a sort of Promised Land, an image that fair or not is celebrated in the songs of the Beach Boys and embodied in the stars that line Hollywood Boulevard. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger calls the state the “golden dream by the sea.”
B u t fo r m a ny California families last year, tomorrow started somewhere else.
The number of people leaving California for another state outstripped the number moving in from another state during the year ending on July 1, 2008. California lost a net total of 144,000 people during that period — more than any other state, according to census estimates. That is about equal to the population of Syracuse, N.Y.
The state with the next-highest net loss t h ro u gh m i g rat i o n between states was New York, which lost just over 126,000 residents.
California’s loss is extremely small in a state of 38 million. And, in fact, the state’s population continues to increase overall because of births and immigration, legal and illegal. But it is the fourth consecutive year that more residents decamped from California for other s t at e s t h a n a r r i ve d here from within the U.S., according to state demographers.
A losing streak that long hasn’t happened in California since the recession of the early 1990s, when departures outstripped arrivals from other states by 362,000 in 1994 alone.
In part because of the boom in population in other Western states, California could lose a congressional seat for the first time in its history.
Why are so many looking for an exit?
Among other things: California’s unemployment rate hit 8.4 percent in November, the thirdhighest in the nation, and it is expected to get worse. A record 236,000 foreclosures are projected for 2008, more than the prior nine years combined, according to research firm MDA DataQuick. Personal income was about flat through three quarters last year.
With state government facing a $41.6 billion budget hole over 18 months, residents are bracing for higher taxes, cuts in education and postponed tax rebates. One multibillion-dollar project in downtown Los Angeles has stalled, and office vacancy rates there and in San Diego and San Jose surpass the 10.2 percent national average.
Median housing prices have nose-dived onethird from a 2006 peak, but many homes are still out of reach for middleclass families.

ERIC PARSONS, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ESCAPING CALIFORNIA: Mike Reilly packs a few belongings into a makeshift moving trailer at his family's home in Nipomo on Thursday. The family has decided to escape California's high cost of living by moving to Colorado in February.


By : Daily Press
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