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Old 05-09-2021, 12:03 PM   #41
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We retired last year and briefly considered moving out of California. We Looked at RE in Hawaii since property tax is relatively low AND there is no state income tax on our publicly funded pensions.

In the end we decided to stay in our home in the moderate climate in the foothills of the Sierras in NorCAL.

Weíve owned our home for several decades so property tax is less than 1% of current value. We are however paying a big chunk of change in state income tax.

Living on my lane is now mostly retirees who came to the area about the same time we did and are making the same decision to stay here in retirement.
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Old 05-10-2021, 03:54 PM   #42
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What is happening to the rental market in your area? In Southern Cal home prices are at an all time high but rentals are dropping fast. So this is a good time to rent until the market turns. If you can just rent for a few years in your neighborhood eventually prices will have to drop. They canít go up forever.


Really? We own a So CA rental. Our first tenant moved out after 15 months. We increased the rent by 10% and had multiple people competing for it with no one asking for a discount. Iím sure itís a neighborhood-specific thing but Iím not aware of anywhere where rent is dropping locally.
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Old 05-10-2021, 03:56 PM   #43
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I have been targeting RE for this fall, but the housing market is throwing me for a loop.



My number is 2.5M, out of which I planned to pay cash for a house worth approximately 500k. In the past year those same homes now cost 700k+, which is basically screwing my budget. Before covid my plan was on track.



I feel depressed that Iíve worked so hard to get to not a small amount of NW (way more than I ever thought Iíd accrue) and yet now be faced with chasing ďmoreĒ.



My savings rate is high, although my pay was cut by 25% this year due to covid. (Not sure if megacorp will use this as an excuse to become the new normal or what. Not exactly counting on their hearts to turn fuzzy.)



If I keep to my plan Iím basically looking at 2 more yearsí work now, which I kind of dread. Worse if prices keep rising I guess I will have to totally reassess my dreams. Maybe this is called ďstaying flexible in retirementĒ??



What are your thoughts on this? Thanks.


I am wondering why you want to pay cash for your property when mortgages can be had for around 3%? Not to say you should buy more than you can afford, but we could pay off either of our properties now and choose not to because of the low rates.
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Old 05-10-2021, 04:03 PM   #44
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Interesting perspective. Have you ever lived in California or is what you are posting what you have read in certain media outlets? On the flip side of your post, we live in a Mediterranean climate, our house has been an appreciating asset that appreciated 7 figures since we bought it, and we can go to Redwood forests, wineries in Napa, an ocean beach or a play in the city for the afternoon. We don't spend a lot on travel as we can take long day trips or overnights to places like Carmel, Mendocino, and Lake Tahoe.

Our property taxes are around .33% of our home value, our kids went to college tuition free thanks to the state grant program, and our state income taxes are pretty low. California has high tax rates on the very wealthy, but Social Security isn't taxed and for middle class families the rates aren't bad.

From Kiplinger's The 10 Most Tax-Friendly States: "Wait, what? California is a tax-friendly state? YesÖfor middle-class families. If you're a rich person, California taxes will cut deep into your earnings. But for other people, the Golden State's tax hit isn't really all that bad.Our hypothetical middle-class family's income tax bill was the third-lowest among states that impose an income tax......Although property taxes are sky high in Silicon Valley and certain other parts of the states, property taxes are below average for the state overall. For a $300,000 home in California, the statewide estimated property tax is only $2,187, which is the 16th-lowest amount in the country." https://www.kiplinger.com/taxes/stat...class-families

So there's that.


Well, it depends how you define wealthy and when you bought your house. Our property taxes on a place we paid $1.1 million for almost 20 years ago are over $15K/year. Add the state income tax and the 10% sales tax and the tax burden is pretty darn high. While I agree that CA has a lot of great attributes and places to go, I think most people here experience a pretty high COL.
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Old 05-10-2021, 04:09 PM   #45
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What those coming to Texas are finding out is the high cost of property taxes here, even for a house in the $300K+ range. And a lot of Californians moving to Central Texas in and around Austin have sent real estate costs skyrocketing, along with the property taxes tied to the rising property values.

I think our California income taxes plus our old property taxes there would be less than what our Texas property taxes will be soon enough. A 10% cap on property tax hikes each year still allows for them to get out of control in a hurry.


Prop 13 doesnít prevent all property tax increases. It just limits them to 2%/year, PLUS the impact of all the propositions the voters here approve. Our property taxes increased approximately 50% from 2004-2018. Theyíve been fairly stable since then as a lot more propositions are getting voted down now.
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Old 05-10-2021, 04:12 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by 1242Vintage View Post
We retired last year and briefly considered moving out of California. We Looked at RE in Hawaii since property tax is relatively low AND there is no state income tax on our publicly funded pensions.

In the end we decided to stay in our home in the moderate climate in the foothills of the Sierras in NorCAL.

Weíve owned our home for several decades so property tax is less than 1% of current value. We are however paying a big chunk of change in state income tax.

Living on my lane is now mostly retirees who came to the area about the same time we did and are making the same decision to stay here in retirement.
Sounds like you've found the "sweet spot"! As long as you have easy access to services - especially health services - why would you move? Isn't it great?
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Old 05-10-2021, 04:42 PM   #47
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Really? We own a So CA rental. Our first tenant moved out after 15 months. We increased the rent by 10% and had multiple people competing for it with no one asking for a discount. Iím sure itís a neighborhood-specific thing but Iím not aware of anywhere where rent is dropping locally.
But the real estate market is on fire now for sales. So if the purchase price of a home has gone up 50% but the rental price has only gone up 10%, that still indicates that rents are a pretty good deal right now.
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Old 05-10-2021, 04:53 PM   #48
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Still, OP, have your investments not seen some benefit in the past 12 months to close the gap? It shouldn't really be a deficit of $200k.
This is a point that I think is missed a lot. Yes some things are more expensive now (I remember a recent vent about RV prices too), but if you've had your money invested to some extent in the market you've surely got a not insignificant amount more now than pre-pandemic. If you think houses are going to drop, I'd say there's a good chance investments may drop for the same reasons. Why not sell some high flying stocks/MFs now to buy the house of your dreams instead of waiting and possibly see those same stocks come back to earth.

It's not what the housing market will do in isolation, it's what all your investments will do in tandem with the housing market that matters IMO. And that's even more impossible to predict, so why wait?
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Old 05-10-2021, 05:39 PM   #49
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Well, it depends how you define wealthy and when you bought your house. Our property taxes on a place we paid $1.1 million for almost 20 years ago are over $15K/year. Add the state income tax and the 10% sales tax and the tax burden is pretty darn high. While I agree that CA has a lot of great attributes and places to go, I think most people here experience a pretty high COL.
Paying $1.1M today for a house is defined by most conventional standards as wealthy, let alone 20 years ago. If your house is worth $2.5M now and you are paying $15K, your property tax rate is .6%. Forty-one states have higher property tax rates than .6%. New Jersey's property tax rate is 2.49%.

Is that the house you are renting now? Aren't you getting more net rent money because of your low property tax rate? A landlord who bought more recently would pay around $31K in property taxes, assuming 1.25% on $2.5M. That means you are likely netting an extra $16K a year in rent thanks to Prop 13.

Upping my example from my earlier post, a California retired couple with $200K in gross income, with $50K in Social Security, and $50K in deductions / exemptions (or a working couple with $200K in gross income with $50K going to various retirement accounts and $50K in deductions and exemptions), would pay $3.8K in state taxes, which seems pretty reasonable to me, especially considering all the nice state and regional parks, beaches and other government services here. We moved here from one of the states with lower taxes and home prices, yet few pleasant weather days, no scenery, few parks, not a lot of arts and culture, nowhere to go for day trips, and not a lot of outdoor things to do. We really appreciate what we have now and are happy to pay taxes to support public schools, libraries, park, senior services, etc. I don't know who you mean by people here experiencing a high COL. Housing is crazy high here right now, no doubt about that.


If you mean high because of state income taxes, as I posted earlier, the median income in California is $75K, so if you are middle class in California you probably aren't paying a lot in state income taxes. If you mean this forum, the last survey I could find on retirement income needed to retire from people on this forum only went up to $150K and less than 10% picked a number over that, so most people with those $150K or less kind of incomes, if they live in California aren't going to pay a lot of state income tax, either, per my earlier examples.
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Old 05-11-2021, 06:39 AM   #50
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But the real estate market is on fire now for sales. So if the purchase price of a home has gone up 50% but the rental price has only gone up 10%, that still indicates that rents are a pretty good deal right now.


Got it. I thought you were saying rents were dropping on an absolute basis.
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Old 05-11-2021, 06:46 AM   #51
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It is a progressive tax so the 9.3% isn't on for full $115K for MFJ. It is on taxable income over $115K. After standard deductions, (no deductions like property tax or retirement savings), the tax on $115K, married filing jointly, would be more like $4K. With $40K in deductions, the state tax would be around $2K. DH and I both had six figure jobs in the past and never paid much in state taxes on our combined incomes, after deductions like retirement savings and mortgage interest.

Despite the narrative pushed by some media outlets, and some high profile exceptions, most of the people leaving California aren't the wealthy leaving because of high state taxes. It is the poor and middle class leaving because of high housing costs. There has been an influx of households making over $100K in recent years. The poorer households are going to Texas, which is what you are seeing. What you are not seeing is the wealthier residents coming to California from other states.

More Californians left for other states in 2018 | The Sacramento Bee (sacbee.com)
A 2017 Bee analysis found that people leaving California tended to be relatively poor, and many lacked college degrees. Higher up the income spectrum, slightly more people were coming than going

California saw the biggest net loss of residents to Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon, according to the census estimates, which are drawn from its annual American Community Survey. It gained residents from much of the northeast United States, along with parts of the upper Midwest.

'Not the Golden State anymore': Middle- and low-income people leaving California | CalMatters
Middle and Low Income People Leaving California - U.S. Census Bureau numbers show that the middle- and lower class are leaving California at a higher rate than the wealthy. Many who left in recent years say they simply couldn't afford to stay...The majority of people leaving reported an annual income of less than $100,000. while the state has seen an influx of those making $100,000 and more.
Yeah, I understand the progressive aspect of taxation. Just saying that your tax bill ramps up pretty quickly when you exceed that # and many do.

We saw a shocking number for 4 years as our lifestyle is simple (no deductions) so we saw the full force of taxation out there. Not to mention gas, sales tax (9.5% on cars in LA), etc. The only thing we saw reduce was electricity as the weather is pretty perfect out there.

You definitely have to "pay to play" out there in my experience. Awesome place to live, just more costly.

Maybe we'll return when we retire...
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Old 05-11-2021, 06:46 AM   #52
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Paying $1.1M today for a house is defined by most conventional standards as wealthy, let alone 20 years ago. If your house is worth $2.5M now and you are paying $15K, your property tax rate is .6%. Forty-one states have higher property tax rates than .6%. New Jersey's property tax rate is 2.49%.

Is that the house you are renting now? Aren't you getting more net rent money because of your low property tax rate? A landlord who bought more recently would pay around $31K in property taxes, assuming 1.25% on $2.5M. That means you are likely netting an extra $16K a year in rent thanks to Prop 13.

Upping my example from my earlier post, a California retired couple with $200K in gross income, with $50K in Social Security, and $50K in deductions / exemptions (or a working couple with $200K in gross income with $50K going to various retirement accounts and $50K in deductions and exemptions), would pay $3.8K in state taxes, which seems pretty reasonable to me, especially considering all the nice state and regional parks, beaches and other government services here. We moved here from one of the states with lower taxes and home prices, yet few pleasant weather days, no scenery, few parks, not a lot of arts and culture, nowhere to go for day trips, and not a lot of outdoor things to do. We really appreciate what we have now and are happy to pay taxes to support public schools, libraries, park, senior services, etc. I don't know who you mean by people here experiencing a high COL. Housing is crazy high here right now, no doubt about that.


If you mean high because of state income taxes, as I posted earlier, the median income in California is $75K, so if you are middle class in California you probably aren't paying a lot in state income taxes. If you mean this forum, the last survey I could find on retirement income needed to retire from people on this forum only went up to $150K and less than 10% picked a number over that, so most people with those $150K or less kind of incomes, if they live in California aren't going to pay a lot of state income tax, either, per my earlier examples.


Our home is worth nowhere near $2.5 million now. Sadly, although itís an oceanfront condo, it really hasnít appreciated that much, especially when you consider the remodel we did which added a big chunk of change to our basis.

I respectfully maintain my original point - by most standards, CA has a very high COL. I call it the sunshine tax. People still like to live in CA because of the great weather and abundance of recreational opportunities relative to many other places. This, combined with long-term friendships, is why we ultimately decided to retire in CA rather than move to NV, TX, or FL. However, the friends we are close to in these states spend FAR less on almost everything than we do. CA has higher housing costs, taxes, labor costs, healthcare costs, gasoline prices, grocery prices, and entertainment prices than most other states.

If you arenít personally experiencing this, more power to you, but I think your experience is the exception rather than the norm.
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:21 AM   #53
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One option could be to buy now, mortgage the $200K difference, and then opt to work 1 or 2 years longer if you can't cut expenses elsewhere and if you're not open to living somewhere less expensive.

The current increases are driven by a combination of low rates, a supply shortage, and high demand as Millennials enter prime home-buying years. The low rates may move up and that may cool demand, but the supply crunch will likely remain an issue especially in the urban areas of California. People who own homes seem to be staying put longer (maybe afraid of not being able to buy something if they sell their current home) and new construction can't make up the lag.

So swallowing the pill now and buying what you know you want may be the answer, instead of gambling and seeing prices continue to climb (or at least not go lower).

$200K is a small mortgage and you may even be able to make up the short-fall with some part-time work. Just a thought.
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Old 05-11-2021, 11:23 AM   #54
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Our home is worth nowhere near $2.5 million now. Sadly, although it’s an oceanfront condo, it really hasn’t appreciated that much, especially when you consider the remodel we did which added a big chunk of change to our basis.

I respectfully maintain my original point - by most standards, CA has a very high COL. I call it the sunshine tax. People still like to live in CA because of the great weather and abundance of recreational opportunities relative to many other places. This, combined with long-term friendships, is why we ultimately decided to retire in CA rather than move to NV, TX, or FL. However, the friends we are close to in these states spend FAR less on almost everything than we do. CA has higher housing costs, taxes, labor costs, healthcare costs, gasoline prices, grocery prices, and entertainment prices than most other states.

If you aren’t personally experiencing this, more power to you, but I think your experience is the exception rather than the norm.
No one here has said California doesn't have a high COL, though most of that is due to housing. My only point in this thread was that most of the middle class here, and those making up to $200K, do not have high state income taxes relative to other states. The income tax is progressive, so if you and your friends are wealthy, you will pay more in state income taxes. That is by design and how California has a $75B surplus this year.

In most HCOL areas the real high cost is mostly due to housing. Where we live, in the Bay Area, for white collar jobs, that is largely offset by salaries. Not so much for the blue collar jobs, which is why that class is being driven out and moving to other states.

Related article: The High Cost of Living is Really All About Housing - "The quick takeaway is that differences in living costs across metros seem to be driven almost entirely by the huge differences in housing costs." https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...-about-housing

I picked a couple of cities at random, San Diego vs. Omaha, and put them into Sperling's side by side city cost comparison calculator and the most expense difference is in housing, at least based on their 2019 prices. Healthcare was actually much higher in Omaha than San Diego. Omaha expenses overall were 43.9% cheaper, though salaries were also much lower:

A salary of $100,000 in San Diego, California could decrease to $53,465 in Omaha, Nebraska (assumptions include Homeowner, no Child Care, and Taxes are not considered.)


Comparison Highlights

- Overall, Omaha, Nebraska is 43.9% cheaper than San Diego, California
- Median Home Cost is the biggest factor in the cost of living difference.
- Median Home Cost is 72% cheaper in Omaha.
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Old 05-11-2021, 12:10 PM   #55
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We moved from San Diego to College Station, TX, in 1984. At that time, we did not know anything about COL differences and were simply going where my late ex's job went. (Remember that this was 37 years ago and nothing I say here says anything about today.... I am just rambling on.) But still, imagine our glee after we moved when we discovered that for the same price as our San Diego home, we could buy a house with twice the square footage, on twice the lot size, in a neighborhood that was probably 10x better. It was like that old TV show, "Queen for a Day". Grocery shopping was equally mind blowing and everything cost less than half.

Well, except property/school taxes which were insanely high in Texas compared with San Diego.

Back in the 1960's people talked about LSD as a "mind expanding drug". Well, this particular cross country move wasn't a drug, but it was sure mind expanding for me.
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Old 05-11-2021, 12:43 PM   #56
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If you buy a house in California, the assessed value is equal to the purchase price. Its like 1.25% or so.
So yes buy a 700000 house and your property taxes start significantly higher than a 500000 house.
This.
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Old 05-11-2021, 02:21 PM   #57
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If you buy a house in California, the assessed value is equal to the purchase price. Its like 1.25% or so.

So yes buy a 700000 house and your property taxes start significantly higher than a 500000 house.

And I forgot to add....property taxes are FOREVER...and typically only go up and up and up..till death do you part....LOL
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Old 05-11-2021, 02:24 PM   #58
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Our home is worth nowhere near $2.5 million now. Sadly, although it’s an oceanfront condo, it really hasn’t appreciated that much, especially when you consider the remodel we did which added a big chunk of change to our basis.

I respectfully maintain my original point - by most standards, CA has a very high COL. I call it the sunshine tax. People still like to live in CA because of the great weather and abundance of recreational opportunities relative to many other places. This, combined with long-term friendships, is why we ultimately decided to retire in CA rather than move to NV, TX, or FL. However, the friends we are close to in these states spend FAR less on almost everything than we do. CA has higher housing costs, taxes, labor costs, healthcare costs, gasoline prices, grocery prices, and entertainment prices than most other states.

If you aren’t personally experiencing this, more power to you, but I think your experience is the exception rather than the norm.
That was my point I think they missed...CA is simply not very attractive for a new retiree coming from out-of-state.

Sure, those who bought a home back during Reagan's terms have greatly benefitted from Prop 13 over the decades.

Still, as you note the increased costs, which a retiree has to pay, year after year, for everything else in CA offsets that for someone looking for a new place to retire...heck, even Hawaii might be more attractive for those with a public pension.
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Old 05-11-2021, 02:34 PM   #59
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I’ve often wondered what expenses other than housing are really higher in Southern California. We own our home outright. We do pay a fair amount in taxes even with the benefit of Prop 13. But other than housing, I can’t really say I notice anything here costing more than I would anticipate it costing in other parts of the country.

We drive Teslas so gas is not a factor for us. We live by the beach so we don’t need much heat or air conditioning. So it doesn’t feel like it cost us that much to live here. And yet we still spend around $110K per year to live what I would call a relatively “modest” lifestyle, which seems to be quite a bit more than others are spending in LCOL areas.
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Old 05-11-2021, 02:59 PM   #60
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I’ve often wondered what expenses other than housing are really higher in Southern California. We own our home outright. We do pay a fair amount in taxes even with the benefit of Prop 13. But other than housing, I can’t really say I notice anything here costing more than I would anticipate it costing in other parts of the country.

We drive Teslas so gas is not a factor for us. We live by the beach so we don’t need much heat or air conditioning. So it doesn’t feel like it cost us that much to live here. And yet we still spend around $110K per year to live what I would call a relatively “modest” lifestyle, which seems to be quite a bit more than others are spending in LCOL areas.

You can compare costs by categories like housing, groceries and healthcare using Sperling's best places to live - Best Places to Live | Compare cost of living, crime, cities, schools and more. Sperling's BestPlaces. Comparing Sacramento to Atlanta, housing is the main difference. All other cost categories (taxes not included and using 2019 data), are under 6% differences. Transportation and utilities are listed as lower in Sacramento. A $100K salary is listed as being about 10% lower in Atlanta.
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