HENDERSON (FOX5) -- More than 3 million people now call Nevada home -- the fastest growing state in 2018.
A local realtor said much of that growth is thanks to Californians moving in. In fact, there are now more people from California living in Las Vegas than people born and raised here.
“California is the driving force of our market right now by far,” realtor Steve Hawks said. We’re seeing people that are retiring that are on fixed income, on pensions that are moving from California to Nevada because their money can go so much farther.”
Add on higher taxes, Hawks said it’s no wonder so many are taking the leap.
“People from California who just sold their house and have $200, 300, 400 thousand dollars, they don't mind paying the extra amount of rent while they get comfortable finding a house here in Las Vegas,” he said.
Hawks estimates at least 70% of the people he helps are from California.
“This is a disaster for locals because you have people with a huge chunk of change coming in from California, New York, all parts of the country,” he said.
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, recently told the Associated Press that there are now more adults in Nevada who were born in California than native Nevadans.
Las Vegas saw a 5% jump in rent prices, among the highest across the country, in the past year.
The higher rates are pushing locals out of popular spots like Henderson and Summerlin.
“A lot of times locals are sharing rooms now, kind of like what they're doing in San Francisco right now to a certain amount,” Hawks said.
“It’s making it harder for us to find somewhere in an area that we're used to,” renter Natalie Murillo said. Murillo was born and raised in Las Vegas. The 21-year-old said she can’t afford rent by herself.
“It’s just too expensive,” she said. “My grandma moved from California because same for her, so she moved into a house with me so that together it's a little bit easier.”
Hawks said this is just the start as our population and valley continue to grow.
“Almost everywhere you go, you go down St. Rose, you go down to the Spaghetti Bowl, to the Rainbow curve, all you see are apartments - multi family, multi family,” Hawks said. “This is just the first inning the big explosion. The California exodus is yet to come.”
Hawks said the good news is that it’s not just people coming from California. Businesses are following and that is increasing wage growth in the valley too.