The number of people leaving the Bay Area jumped 21% from March 2020 and September 2021, according to a report from University of California researchers. We talk to one. (Thinking of ditching your pricey city too? Check out the lowest mortgage rates you can get now here, and below.)
After 8 years in the Bay Area, web designer Mike Rothermel, who’s in his mid-40s, his wife and 9 year-old daughter realized their time in the tech capital had expired. Fed up with the Bay Area’s high prices and harder lifestyle, Rothermel craved the ease of life and lower costs in Boulder, where he’d grown up. “Everything costs less and people are less competitive. You don’t have to make more than your neighbor or drive a better car. We don’t feel that pressure here,” says Rothermel of Boulder.
Thanks to the pandemic, the family bought a house sight unseen — a trend that’s increasingly happened over the last year. “I grew up in Boulder, so we called our old realtor and looked at some houses on video and after seeing one of them for 15 minutes, we put an offer in. We didn’t even see it in person until we closed and owned it,” says Rothermel. When moving into a somewhat competitive market like Boulder County, Rothermel said a short video walkthrough is what had to be done. “Even though it’s not as hot as the market in California, there are usually multiple offers within 24 hours of a house being listed on MLS and we needed to win,” says Rothermel.
Now living and working in Boulder — Rothermel’s employer allows all employees to work anywhere now — he has come to appreciate the slower paced lifestyle. “There’s less people and the people in Colorado are more relaxed. I can still go to the local hardware store and park right in front. In the Bay Area, you have to circle the Home Depot parking lot a couple times before you find a spot and then you have to worry that your car will be broken into,” says Rothermel.
Something that struck him after they moved was that their new neighbors knocked on their door to say hi and welcomed his family with handwritten notes and fresh homemade pastries. “You can assume everyone in Boulder is nice, until you have a reason to think otherwise. There’s a sense of community and longevity, that people are here to live, not just make money in tech,” says Rothermel.
It’s also a move that saves him money. He’s now living in a house that’s three times the size and …….