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Searches from hot California home markets have Placer on radar

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Priced out of California’s hottest home markets, prospective buyers are turning their searches toward comparable bargains in Placer County.

And Nevada.

And Arizona.

And Idaho.

Those are some of the findings from a new research survey by realtor.com that shows the Top 3 California markets residents are leaving are Santa Clara, San Mateo and Los Angeles counties.

Phoenix, Las Vegas and Prescott, Arizona, are the top destinations for California expats.

And while more than half of those searching outside their California county are looking out-of-state, nearly half are still looking at more affordable counties in state.

And that’s where Placer County comes into the picture.

The Top 10 in-state counties most searched through realtor.com by those looking to leave their county are: Placer, Sacramento, El Dorado, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Contra Costa and Ventura.

And they’re finding savings, according to the report, with those searching from California in other California counties looking at properties that are on average 17 percent more affordable.

California median list prices have increased 83 percent over the past six years, to $549,000 from $300,000. The realtor.com analysis shows shows 52 percent of residents looking outside their county are looking outside California to other states.

“Our research shows many California residents may reach their breaking point,” Realtor.com chief economist Danielle Hale said. “Affordability is pricing them out of the California home market and many are searching for more affordable options in other areas.”

The exodus could help slow price appreciation in California by dropping demand but potentially heat up prices and reduce inventory in surrounding markets, she said. The same could prove true for a migration of Californians to other counties like Placer that offer more affordability.

But price points outside the Golden State are ultra-competitive.

The report says that on average, those searching out of state are looking at property that is 43 percent more affordable than their current county.

While not offering bargains like Kootenai County, Idaho or Pima County, Arizona, Placer County properties are also gaining consideration as more people are priced out of the priciest California locations.

Prospective Santa Clara County buyers looking outside California are looking at property that is $750,000 to $965,000 less than a typical property in Santa Clara. Santa Clara buyers are looking at properties in Placer County — as well as Alameda, Sacramento, San Joaquin and Santa Cruz counties — that are from $509,000 to $894,000 less than the Santa Clara median.

Potential expatriate Alameda County buyers are also eyeing out-of-state as well as in-state properties, including homes in Placer and El Dorado counties. Out-of-state destinations getting the most looks are Arizona, Nevada, Idaho and Hawaii. Within California, they are generally shopping for a home $160,000 to $415,000 below their current median.

The migration out of Santa Cruz County also includes consideration of Placer County, as well as El Dorado, San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties. Prices of the properties they look at in those four counties are typically $313,000 to $480,000 less expensive than the Santa Cruz median price, the report said.