California vs. Texas: What’s driving the cost of living between these 2 US states?

HOUSTON – Data shows New Yorkers and Californians are becoming Floridians and Texans at an increasingly high rate. 

For two consecutive years, California is reporting a drop in the state’s population. 

While COVID is a significant impact, California’s cost of living is also forcing people out.  Data shows they are headed to places like Florida and Texas, where the cost of living can be more affordable in cities. 

From its gorgeous beaches, to the Hollywood sign. Los Angeles is famous for its glamour. However, the price tags on homes -- not so attractive.

Kirk Hawkins, a real estate broker in Los Angeles showed us this home in Hollywood Hills: a three-bedroom, three-bath, 3,100 square feet that’s on the market for $3.1 million.

“With this house you get plenty of living space, plenty of entertaining space,” Hawkins said, showing the new home. “We will have to show you the backyard, because we have an amazing pool and view. Some of the biggest names in the world, are your neighbors here.”

The next home, located in Los Angeles’ Highland Park neighborhood was built in 1908. It was recently renovated and now for sale.

Hawkins said the price tag for that home? About $1.2 million.

“This is what basically $1.2 million gets you: a starter home in LA has three beds, two baths, roughly 15-1600 square feet,” he said.

Hawkins added that those who cannot afford it, there are options.

“The one thing I like to stress to people looking to buy homes, is there are options if you’re willing to be flexible with the type of property, if you buy a condo versus a home, if you are willing to go into a community a little further outside the center, there are a lot of condos that are in the 400s and 500s range,” he said. “But I am sure people in Texas are thinking 4 or 500-thousand, I could get a house for that.  I can get a yard.  Here you are talking about a studio apartment, it’s incredible.”

Real estate in the Houston area

In Houston, there’s realtor Andy Weber. He says the housing market in Houston right now -- crazy.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “There are multiple offers on everything. Short inventory. It’s just crazy.”

He showed a home that’s located in the Heights area, a free-standing patio home built in 2013. It is 2,400 square feet with three bedrooms, 2.5 baths and the lot side is less than 5,000 square feet.

“If (the homes) are located inside the loop, I think people get here and they are a little shocked,” Weber said.

And in Missouri City, it gets better. Weber demonstrates a house that had five bedrooms, 4.5 baths, and the lot size is more than 10,000 square feet.

“The house we’re looking at now is probably a couple hundred thousand less than the one we saw in the Heights area.” he said. “You do get a bigger house, you get full-sized lots as opposed to stuff inside the loop for the same amount of price range.”

Both realtors, Hawkins and Weber, say the key is flexibility on price and location.

About the Authors:

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 2, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.