About 75 percent of people searching for a new house in Reno are from California, according to Redfin.com housing search data, with just under half from Silicon Valley. Since about 8,000 people migrated to Northern Nevada last year, according to the U.S. Census, that could mean 6,000 new Californians hitting the streets and housing market in 2018.
Lower taxes and more affordable housing have historically drawn Californians away from the coast to Reno. In total, about 45,000 people left the Bay Area from July 2016 to July 2017, according to U.S. Census net migration statistics. That number has been increasing every year.
The exodus from the Bay Area is so big that U-Haul is raising prices to compensate for demand that outstrips its supply of trucks. A 26-foot rental truck from San Francisco to Reno costs almost $1,200 on a Saturday, while a truck from Reno to San Francisco costs less than $200, according to U-Haul's online price estimator.
So why are Californians coming to Reno?
Easy. Just spend some time on Reno social media, talk to new neighbors, coworkers or people in bars and you'll hear the same story:Bay Area homeowners sell their house for $800,000 or more, move four hours away and buy a bigger house in Reno. Then they work from home or a small office on a tech start-up or new business without much competition and enjoy all the outdoor amenities, light traffic and easygoing Western lifestyle Reno has to offer.
The continued growth of jobs promised by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada and marketing positioning Reno as a "tech hub" and "the next Silicon Valley" will continue drawing people here, too. But also, the Bay Area has an expensive housing market, reaching $1.6 million median sale price. The Reno area $374,000 median house price looks like a steal by comparison.
So if a they can keep a higher-paying job and work from home or sell their house for $1 million, then Reno's "affordable living," no income taxes, less competitive tech industry and bigger, cheaper houses start to look pretty nice. Besides, a four-hour commute isn't much worse than driving from Oakland to downtown San Francisco.
So, welcome to Reno.