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Should I stay or should I go: Bay Area versus Long Beach, CA

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Not so long ago a friend was discussing the benefits of staying in her townhouse in San Jose versus moving to Southern California. She and her husband both have jobs that can be worked from about anywhere on the west coast, as long as there is an airport within 30 miles or so.

I love the Bay Area and all it has to offer. There are redwoods within an hour’s drive, there are wineries, universities, culture, fine dining, ambience, history, great public transportation, traffic, congestion, chilly summers, flights delayed due to low clouds, high priced real estate, just about everything you could wish for in an urban area.

This friend got married 6 years ago and moved into her husband’s townhome. They still have a room of unpacked boxes for when they move into a house. It’s safe to say they should move, but where can they stay convenient to their jobs, where can they actually afford a house and still have discretionary income for travel and events?

My answer? Long Beach.

It became a very interesting discussion, via text, about the pros of living in this city by the sea and addressing each of her very valid concerns:

Her: Can you get rid of a few million people? [addressing the congestion issue]
Me: Considering there are less than half a million people in Long Beach, I can’t. Long Beach with 467,000 people is California’s 7th largest city. San Jose is the state’s 3rd largest with 984,000.
Her: Talking about LA in general and the traffic
Me: SJ Mercury article from Nov 2013: SJ ranks 5th worst in country for traffic while SF bay area is 3rd worst. LA is 2nd not much difference AND you can buy a 3bed,2bath home in a nice neighborhood for $600K
Her: really?
Me: Closest international airport is less than 25 miles away, about 10 miles closer than SJO to SFO, although you can take public transportation to SFO from SJ. The Long Beach Airport is terrific with lots of nonstop destinations and is less than 5 miles from the East side. Orange County? About 18 miles.
Her: Okay, let me talk to [husband’s name] and maybe you can start sending me some listings.

There are certainly many more areas to compare, but this was enough to pique her interest. I’ll be showing her some homes in May. Stay tuned!

Any areas you would like me to compare for you?

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