Jon Miller and Susan Stone may be part of a national trend – people fleeing the nation’s largest cities to places where the grass is greener and the people friendlier.
In their case, they bought a house on Fifth Avenue in Curtis Park in May and moved here over the summer from Berkeley with their dog, Kiwi.
“We were kind of tired of the Bay Area and the busy-ness of it,” Susan says. “It had become so hectic that it just didn’t have the appeal anymore.” The real estate website Redfin ranked Sacramento second in the nation in out-of-market searches by potential homebuyers in the second quarter of this year, behind only Phoenix.
For Sacramento, more than 72% of the Redfin searches came from the Bay Area, about 5% from Los Angeles and Fresno, 3.4% from Chico and less than 2% from San Diego, Seattle, Reno and New York.
“We see that effect here,” Curtis Park-based Realtor Steffan Brown says of the Redfin numbers.
He says 10-20% of his clients traditionally have come from the Bay Area. This year “that’s definitely doubled, if not more.”
Brown believes COVID-19 and its effect on the workplace may be responsible for much of the interest in Sacramento from Bay Area residents.
“I have several clients from the Bay Area who, since they can telecommute, they can live anywhere,” Brown says. “So why not live in Sacramento, where they can have a bigger house?”
Interest in Sacramento from those leaving the Bay Area isn’t random, Brown says. “The ones I’m hearing from have some ties to Sacramento anyway,” he says.
“Most people who haven’t been here don’t know what a gem Sacramento is.”
Susan Stone’s daughter Holly Larson lives in East Sacramento, which was part of the attraction for Susan and Jon, both of whom are retired.
“We didn’t know where we wanted to go, but we knew we wanted community,” Susan says. “We found a place we looked at in East Sac and it wasn’t right at all.”
Then, Holly sent them an ad for a house on Fifth Avenue, thinking Curtis Park might be a better fit. After they saw the house, they made an offer right away. “It was a remarkably lovely place,” Jon says of their “new” house, which they think was built in 1907 or 1910.
“It’s definitely the place for Bohemian moms,” Susan says of Curtis Park. “That’s how she saw me – as an old hippie.”
In fact, Susan taught English and logic for 25 years at California State University, Bakersfield, before retiring and moving to Berkeley. Jon retired in 2009 as an investment adviser.
In the Bay Area, “people weren’t friendly, like they are here,” Susan says. “This has been an absolute delight. We lucked out.”