Californians set sights on Montana
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, California is experiencing a decline in net migration—a trend that has increased every year since 2014. The chief reason? A high cost of living, particularly in terms of affordable housing; the average house in 2019 costs a whopping $550,000 in 2019, up from $300,000 in 2012. Suddenly, Americans who may have historically driven through or flown over the Treasure State are seeing appeal in the relatively low costs of living coupled with low population density and natural splendors. Between 2016 and 2018, according to NBC Montana, 15,611 Californians moved to Montana, while 6,562 Montanans moved to California during the same timespan. Californians are paying for it: a 20-foot U-Haul truck rental from San Francisco to Missoula costs nearly $3,500. The same journey with the same equipment but starting in Missoula would cost around $650, further underscoring the discrepancy in pricing by state.
Furthermore, the wildfires are causing mass influx of new residents to the state. Either homes are completely wiped out and they need to start over or they are burned out on evacuating and need a change.