California exodus: Many leaving state amid COVID-19 pandemic

The move out of California has been picking up steam over the last few years. But the movement, and it's truly become a movement, has accelerated this year, expedited by COVID-19.

Just ask Mike Piazza, who is leaving California for Texas.

“When I moved here it was for opportunity,” says Piazza (not to be confused with the former MLB star and Los Angeles Dodgers catcher) from his San Juan Capistrano home.

The Golden State is where he met his wife, Julie, specifically in Orange County where the two have lived for a decade. But now the Piazzas are packing up in San Juan Capistrano for what this lawyer says is greater opportunity in the Lone Star State.

But, why?

“Taxes and I’m concerned about the future direction of California,” says Piazza, who says politics has a lot to do with his out-of-state move

Marie Bailey is a Dallas-based realtor who herself left Southern California a few years ago for Texas' lower cost of living, political landscape and zero state income tax.

She says these are all top reasons why people are leaving behind California for Texas.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2019, 653,000 people left California, while just 480,000 moved in for a net loss of 173,000 people. Orange County itself recorded a net loss of nearly 25,000 residents in 2019. And that was before the coronavirus pandemic.

“Unfortunately, a lot of job loss has jump-started, more people moving here,” says Bailey.

Bailey says 100% of her clients are from California and, so far in 2020, she has sold $20 million worth of homes.

Bailey even started a Facebook group simply called "Move to Texas from California.” It has more than 22,000 members posting about their own experiences and showing off their bigger homes.

After all, everything is bigger in Texas, including the bang you get for your buck. The Piazzas can attest to that. They traded in a third of an acre for seven and a half, plus a bigger home... on a lake.

And they made a profit.

The Piazzas leave California next week.

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