Cost of Living in PDX vs California

Nov 26, 2019 | Living in Portland

An average of 25,000 people leave the state of California each year, many of whom head for Oregon. Recent research by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis revealed that around 57% of Oregonians moved in from California and Washington.

So, why are all of these people landing on the shores of Rose City? Keep reading to find out what makes living in Portland, Oregon, so appealing. 

Living in Portland, Oregon vs. California: Costs, Pros, & Cons

An average of 25,000 people leave the state of California each year, many of whom head for Oregon. Recent research by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis revealed that around 57% of Oregonians moved in from California and Washington.

So, why are all of these people landing on the shores of Rose City? Keep reading to find out what makes living in Portland, Oregon, so appealing. 

Cost of living in Portland vs. California

The cost of living in Portland, Oregon, is just one-third of California’s, which makes it an attractive alternative living situation for many. Low taxes and affordable housing make Portland a much less expensive place to live than most cities in California. According to Best Places, the cost of living in, say, San Jose, CA, is an incredible 64% more expensive than living in Portland, Oregon. Housing alone is 139% more expensive in San Jose than it is in Portland.

Let’s compare capital to capital, Los Angeles vs. Portland. Predicted future job growth in Portland is almost 10% above the national average. Overall household income in Los Angeles is 11% less than it is in Portland–and that’s including the liberal approach Portland takes towards work/life balance. The job market in Portland is expected to average 42.4%, whereas Los Angeles is at 34.6%. Even the cost of a loaf of bread is 10% more in Los Angeles ($3.02) than in Portland ($2.74).

Cost of real estate in Portland vs. California

According to Business Insider, you’ll need a whopping $1.3 million to buy an average house in San Francisco. Here in Stumptown, you can get a great property for about one-third of that price. The average price of a home in Portland is around $450k. Ergo, with a million dollars, we could help you get your own mansion in some of the best places to live in Portland.

Tax differences in Portland vs. California

People living in Portland pay less in sales tax than those in California.

How much less? Well, Portland doesn’t have sales tax, so it wins there by a long shot.

If you see a price tag in Oregon that says something costs $5, then it costs $5. Whereas, in California, you need to factor in around 7.5% sales tax when making a purchase. So, moving to Portland, Oregon, from California will give you a pleasant surprise each time you purchase something and don’t have to pay taxes. Like not having to pump your own gas in Oregon, the lack of sales tax is just another bonus for transplants moving from California to PDX. 

While Portlanders still pay income tax, the tax bill is far lower than the one Californians have to foot. At 13.3%, California literally has the highest income tax in the US. Portland’s top income tax is 9.9%. 

Pro tip: if you’re not a huge fan of income tax, Vancouver, Washington is just a 10-minute drive from Portland, and they don’t have any income tax. They do have sales tax. So, what some people do is live and work in Vancouver and shop in Portland. Click here to find out more about what you can get for your dollar in Washington.

Traffic and transportation

Truth is that traffic in Rose City isn’t all roses, but it still doesn’t hold a candle to traffic in Los Angeles or San Francisco. Is there gridlock in Portland? Sure, but you get through it much faster. Even during rush hour, you can usually get from east to west Portland  in just 30 minutes. The traffic in Portland is always flowing. 

Portland is more laid back than many cities, which means that Portlanders don’t straight-up lean on their horns for as long as they can before having a breakdown. Whereas, the traffic in Los Angeles is so bad that it prompted Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk to start a brand new company, “The Boring Company.” And, in Elon style, it’s not like anything else you can drive today. Musk is so sick of L.A. traffic that his team is in the process of literally boring a hole into the city of Los Angeles to make a network of underground freeways. From his Boring Company website: “To solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic, roads must go 3D, which means either flying cars or tunnels. Unlike flying cars, tunnels are weatherproof, out of sight and won’t fall on your head.”

Portland is like any other city in that it has traffic, but it differs in the amount of time and stress needed to get through it. The city of Portland is famous for having lots of neat, clean, reliable transportation options with low crime rates.

Whether for work or play, you’ll find that many professionals and people from all walks of life are taking advantage of the many benefits of public transit in Portland. 

Portland public transit is ranked number five in the entire nation. Portland has your usuals, like planes, trains, and automobiles of the world, but we also have the Max, many different types of scooters, rentable Nike bikes, on-time buses, the Portland streetcar, and the aerial tram.

The nonprofit organization, PeopleForBikes, also ranked Eugene and Portland among the most bike-friendly cities in the US–a title that would be hard to achieve in the hills of San Francisco.

But what about public transportation in  San Francisco? Portland and San Francisco both rank among the best US cities for public transportation. The difference is that Portland gives you enough room to breathe, slow down, and enjoy more.

Climate in Portland, Oregon vs. California

It’ll come as no surprise that statistics show California to be much drier than Portland.

Rumor has it that Portland rains 10 months of the year. That’s not the case. Portland rains an average of 155 days in comparison to 106 in San Francisco and 36 in Los Angeles. That’s still a decent 200 days a year without rain for Portland.

Portland is certainly cooler, rainier, but it’s also greener too. Without Portland rain, we wouldn’t have one of the greenest landscapes and the most extensive urban forests in the nation. The extra rainfall also means that Portland doesn’t suffer from the dangerous oil slicks that surface on Southern California roads after a little rain.

Portland enjoys gorgeous summers and plenty of sunny days that will get up into the 90s and 100s. Fall weather in Portland is pretty mild and offers an array of vibrant autumn colors. In spring, you get to see a show of beautiful flowers and new growth on the trees. Springtime in Portland is like nature hit the reset button and gave you a fresh canvas to work with.

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Outdoor Activities in Portland

If you’re a big fan of being in nature, Portland can be a really great place to move to. Fifty-three percent of the state of Oregon is federally owned. That means that there’s an incredible amount of open space available to the public. With this and the benefit of four distinct seasons, there are seemingly-infinite outdoorsy things to do in Portland, Oregon.

You can take your pick between stunning mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, hiking trails, parks, and nearby beaches. Whether you like to go mountain biking, hiking, fishing, skiing, snowboarding, paddle boarding, or other, there are so many options available to you in Portland, OR. 

Living in California but concerned about leaving the beach? Head just an hour to the West of Portland, and you still have all the beauty and power of the ocean. Missing Mammouth? You can get to Mount Hood in just 40 minutes. Mount Hood has some of the most fun snow runs in the nation, and it has a pretty awesome secret too.

If you’ve been down the mountain a few times and are starting to get cold, you can take the chair up and ski or board down to The Mazot bar. It’s right on the mountain, it’s where the locals hangout, and is a great way to relax, people watch and enjoy views that stretch for miles upon miles. And, at the foot of the mountain is a huge cozy lodge with a restaurant, cafeteria, bar, and spectacular views.

Speaking of snow, does it snow in Portland, Oregon? Yes, but not as much as you might think. Portland averages 3 inches of snow per year. The US average is 28 inches of snow per year. And what do we do when it snows? We shut the town down and enjoy a little of that work/life balance we’re famous for.

Looking to make a move from California to Portland? We can help.

Need to find a place in one of the best neighborhoods in Portland? We absolutely love helping people relocate and find their ideal home in Portland. If you’re thinking about moving to Portland, Oregon, and have questions about different neighborhoods, real estate, mortgage financing, or general questions about moving to Portland, please feel free to reach out to us.

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About Real Agent Now Group

Jesse & Jackson are high-touch broker’s known for their extensive market knowledge and  unmatched devotion to clients.

Their success is based almost exclusively on positive referrals. They earn the respect of their clients by working tirelessly on their behalf and by always offering them candid advice.

Get to know them better by checking out their Portland and real estate YOUTUBE CHANNEL.

About Real Agent Now Group

Jesse & Jackson are high-touch broker’s known for their extensive market knowledge and  unmatched devotion to clients.

Their success is based almost exclusively on positive referrals. They earn the respect of their clients by working tirelessly on their behalf and by always offering them candid advice.

Get to know them better by checking out their Portland and real estate YOUTUBE CHANNEL.

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