Why You Might Think Twice About Moving to Sacramento

Rachel Leibrock
December 11, 2017
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If you’re considering a move, Sacramento is a wonderful choice, what with its gorgeous rivers and plentiful trees.

The state Capitol is the ideal place for political movers and shakers—and a lot of fun, too. This is a foodie and drink kind of town. As the self-proclaimed “farm-to-fork capital of the world,” we take our food seriously, not to mention our devotion to coffee, craft beers and cocktails. We also love any outdoor activity—bikes abound and copious parks, river walkways and trails means there’s plenty of places to hike, run or play.

Still,  like any city, Sacramento does have its downsides. Before you pull up roots to take a new job or sign a new lease (or mortgage!) here are a few things to think about before moving to River City.

It is so damn hot.

Like, blistering hot.

Honestly, While the winters tend to be pleasantly mild—no snow, some rain, a little fog–it’s the summers that make people reconsider living here. Some years the heat starts to boil over as early as May and stretches on until October. The peak usually hits in July and August; it’s not unusual to experience weeks’ worth of 100-plus degree temps.

Sure, it’s a dry heat but it burns all the same. On the hottest days, most people just scurry from one air-conditioned building to another (did we mention the high cost of your energy bill?), waiting until the sun sets and the famed Delta breeze kicks in before venturing out again.

It’s a cowtown.

Sacramento’s roots go soil-deep. With its rich agricultural offerings California is considered the nation’s “food and vegetable basket” and Sacramento’s a big part of that with farms that edge the city limits. Mandarins and walnuts, rice and tomatoes, olives and grapes—-they’re all grown in the region. With that cornucopia, however, also comes Sacramento’s stodgy reputation as a literal cowtown.

Nevermind that you have to travel pretty deep into farmville to see an actual bovine creature, the nickname lingers, signaling that Sacramento is quiet, sleepy and, well, backwards. You know that scene in “Lady Bird” when the title character complains that Sacramento is the “midwest of California?”

Yeah, even as the city grows and tries to shed its ho-hum reputation we know we’ll never be considered as interesting or hip as the likes of San Francisco.

It’s pricey

Sacramento may be affordable compared to San Francisco or San Jose but don’t be fooled—it isn’t cheap. In the last few years the region’s witnessed a dramatic rise in rents and a considerable surge in housing prices.

In 2017, Sacramento rents jumped 9.5 percent from the previous year. According to Apartment List, median rents here are $940 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,190 for a two-bedroom. Want to live in trendy Midtown? Expect to pay a lot more. And, if you’re thinking about buying a house, here’s some data: The median home price is $309,000–up more than 10 percent from 2016 and predicted to rise more than 5 percent over the next year, according to Zillow.

You can blame some of that inflation on the fact that inventory is low here—there simply aren’t enough of houses to keep up with the demand, which in turn often means there’s a bidding war, especially if a “for sale” sign pops up in a particularly desirable neighborhood.

 There is a serious homeless problem.

Skyrocketing rents doesn’t just mean pinching pennies for some Sacramentans–it means it’s tougher to find permanent shelter.

Higher rents aren’t the only culprit, but they’ve inarguably contributed to the area’s worsening homeless problem. It’s been nearly a decade since “The Oprah Winfrey Show” put a national spotlight on Sacramento’s “tent city” problem and in the years since the city’s homeless population has exploded. Official county estimates peg the number at 3,665 people but unofficial numbers from various social service groups places the count much higher—as much as four times that official tally.

As the city continues to grow and evolve its leaders are tasked with the tough job of finding a compassionate and comprehensive solution for Sacramento’s neediest population.

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