Matt and Jean Kafka moved to North Texas in September, part of a wave of Californians being relocated by their corporations. Matt, a senior director of franchise and field operations for Jamba Juice, said the couple was “incredibly excited when Jamba announced plans to relocate the support center to North Texas.”
The Kafkas are part of a huge west coast migration as dozens of companies, including Toyota Motor Corp., look for a less costly and cumbersome business climate with a central location and a great airport.
Californians may account for as much as 20 percent of new home sales for area homebuilders, said Ted Wilson, president of Residential Strategies.
The Kafkas moved from a one-bedroom apartment in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., to a rented house near the Square in McKinney. They plan to buy a home in April in McKinney or nearby Fairview or Allen, one that’s big enough to have a spare bedroom for family to visit.
“We knew Texas would be a great place to raise a family,” Matt Kafka said.
The 41-year-old admits he’ll miss California’s mountains and cooler summer weather.
“We lived close to the beach so it was easy to escape the heat in the summer,” he said. “I’ve been in Texas in summer so I know what to expect. Texas has a different type of beauty with its open spaces and beautiful clouds.”
Some at Jamba Juice found the move from California to Texas to be daunting, said Sandy Snyder, director of relocation for Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty.
Twelve of 40 employees agreed to the move, and Snyder, who is assisting them, said: “The people who relocated are younger professionals who are willing to look at the move as an adventure. Most of them are very happy.”
Shawn Cate, vice president of sales and marketing at Darling Homes, said Californians who have moved into some of the builder’s homes are intrigued by North Texas. “They are amazed at what they can get for their money,” she said.
Even with North Texas home prices rising 7 to 10 percent a year, buyers can find bigger homes at half the cost of what they’d pay in California, Snyder said. A 1,500-square-foot home in California can cost $1 million, much higher than the price tag on comparable homes here, she said.
Karen Greene of Ebby Halliday Realtors recently helped a California family with three teenage sons find a four-bedroom home in North Texas for $400,000. It was twice as large as their former one-bathroom house.
“They are almost overwhelmed at the space they have,” said Greene, director of corporate real estate services at Ebby Halliday.
Many of the Californians are buying newly built, energy-efficient houses rather than older, remodeled homes. They love open floor plans with lots of light, and most prefer one-story homes with large backyards, Cate said.
Others are downsizing, moving into high-rises and riding Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Greene said. “They have so many choices.”
Besides the summer heat, most Californians express one worry, Snyder said. “They all ask about Texas tornadoes.”
Stewart Lytle (email@example.com)
is a freelance writer who divides his time
between Dallas and Newburyport, Mass.