Although California is a great place to live, the past year and a half has shown people that you can work remotely and live wherever you want. Many companies are telling their employees that they don’t have to come back to the office. Which makes Californians start to think that maybe there are greener pastures.
Utah has become a popular destination for many Californians and also people from other states. In fact, a lot of Californians are already quite familiar with Utah thanks to the Sundance Film Festival and world-class skiing.
But, visiting and living there are two dramatically different things. If you are thinking of moving out of California and are wondering if Utah is the right destination then you need some realistic information. In this article, we will go over what you need to know if you are thinking about a move to Utah.
There is no shortage of real estate as the construction industry is booming in Utah. Salt Lake City is attracting a lot of new residents, including almost 5,000 Californians in 2020 alone. But, the entire state is seeing growth so there are a lot of great houses on the market.
From new construction, to established houses, there is something for everybody and usually with more square footage for the price than what you would get in most places in California.
There are many communities being built with specific needs of the residents in mind. For instance, there are new homes built with eco-friendly materials to help you reduce your carbon footprint like these Daybreak homes for sale. Or, you can choose a managed community with the mountains and lots of nature around them if you are an avid outdoors type.
The best part about the growth is that it is not leading to depressed home values. The new construction homes are getting snapped up quickly so property values are rising at around 7% per year. If you are looking for an investment and not just a home, there will be a great return in just a few years of building equity.
Room to roam
Even though people are flocking to Utah, it is far from getting overcrowded. There are so many wide open spaces that you can get away from it all in mere minutes.
There is an embarrassment of riches in national parks alone in that it boasts five: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches. Each one has a unique climate and environment that attracts outdoors enthusiasts the world over.
There is a very diverse climate in the state so you have deserts with an otherworldly atmosphere together with a mountain range for some of the best skiing in North America. Utah is a paradise for anybody who loves nature and the outdoors. Whatever sport you are into you will find plenty of opportunity to get out and do it no matter what part of the state that you live in.
No matter what type of climate you prefer you will find it in Utah. If you like experiencing four seasons. Then the area around Salt Lake City is good because it gets snow in the winter, but it isn’t harsh, plust hot summers that are dry and not too uncomfortable. The southern area is very desert-like with very high temperatures if you love the heat.
There is some great news for those Californians that are moving away because they can’t take another minute being stuck in traffic. The robust highway system, in addition to low population density means that there is rarely any traffic to get stuck in. Of course, rush hour in and out of Salt Lake City can get congested, but there are a lot of grid planned towns and highways so you are not looking at gridlock every time you get out of the city.
If you don’t plan to work from home, then you will notice a dramatic difference when it comes to your daily commute.
Even the public transportation is excellent. There is a light rail service that operates in Salt Lake City that gets you around in a breeze. And the transit network goes from Provo to the south of SLC to Ogden in the north so you don’t have to get stuck in a car if you don’t want to.
For those that love to travel or that do frequent business trips, Salt Lake City is a hub for airlines like Delta. It is easy to fly internationally or domestically with a lot of connections.
While you may see a reduction in the taxes that you owe compared to California, Utah is not a tax haven by any stretch of the imagination. They have a flat 5% state income tax so that means that there are no deductions. Even though your effective state tax rate for California is higher, depending on your circumstances, you may actually see your taxes go up or stay the same due to the flat tax.
Retirement in Utah is costly as Social Security benefits are taxed at the state level. Even withdrawals from retirement accounts are taxed so make sure you understand the implications for your investments and benefits.
Property taxes, on the other hand, are much lower than in California so you are likely to see a reduction on that front to make up the difference.
A diverse economy
If you plan to get a job locally, you will have no shortage of choice of where to work. The job market is very robust across a wide range of industries. If your career is in mining, tourism, finance, agriculture, petroleum or construction then you shouldn’t have much of a problem finding work.
If you are looking to change your lifestyle and enjoy a high quality of life then Utah is a great option. The people are very friendly and welcoming and still have a great sense of community that is lacking in many parts of the US these days.
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