California Landlord, Angry With High Cost of Living, Is Moving to Colorado—and Taking Tenants With Him

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
February 26, 2018USshare
California Landlord, Angry With High Cost of Living, Is Moving to Colorado—and Taking Tenants With Him
A U-Haul truck in a file photo taken in Illinois. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

A landlord in California has become so fed up with the high cost of living that he’s moving to Colorado.

But he’s not moving alone.

San Jose landlord Tony Hicks owns three houses in San Jose, outside of San Francisco.

The skyrocketing cost of living and associated costs, combined with potential earthquakes in the area, already had Hicks thinking of moving.

“All that caused me to think about moving,” Hicks told CBS. “Then the sanctuary state came on. That was kind of like a clue. And then I said okay, I think I need to go.”

Hicks didn’t want to leave his longtime tenants homeless, though, so he asked all of them to move with him.

Seven of them said yes.

Hicks already sold one of his San Jose homes and bought a four-bedroom home in Colorado Springs with cash from the sale.

“It’s like a caravan. It’s like an exodus, right?” said Retta Setser, one of the tenants.

Hicks hasn’t raised rents in over a decade and calls his tenants his friends.

They’re all in their 60s and 70s on fixed incomes and pay around $450 a month each.

Numerous people have been leaving the Bay Area after it became one of the most expensive regions to live in in the United States.

So many people, in fact, that a U-Haul shortage has jacked up the price for the coveted trucks, vans, and trailers.

Renting a 26-foot truck to move from Las Vegas to San Jose costs only $121.

But the other way around? It costs more than 16 times as much, or $1,990.

There are high price jumps for other popular destinations for those leaving the Bay Area, including an almost 11 percent increase for such a truck from San Jose to Phoenix versus the opposite direction, and a jump of around 7 percent for those moving to Portland versus those moving from Portland to San Jose.

Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute found the shocking figures when he compared the prices for a study.

“Assuming that it’s true that the number one location in the country for out-migration is the San Francisco Bay Area and that there is a mass exodus of residents from that area, the high demand for outbound U-Haul moving trucks relative to the demand for inbound trucks is being reflected in market-based one-way truck rental prices: sky-high prices for a scarce supply of outbound trucks with high demand and really low, deeply discounted prices for an abundant supply of inbound trucks with low demand,” he wrote.

“It’s a great example of supply and demand, and market forces in action—with one-way U-Haul truck rental prices reflecting relative scarcity,” Perry wrote.

Real estate company Redfin noted recently that more people were leaving the Bay Area than any other area in the United States, although similarly large cities such as Los Angeles and Washington, also saw net outflows. The data came from the fourth quarter of 2017.

The most popular destinations for people leaving the area included Sacramento, Portland, and Austin.

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