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Fewer taxes, cheaper homes and lower unemployment: Of course Californians want to live in Texas

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6124 St. Andrews in Dallas
In California, a house would be the size of this Texas closet.  Photo courtesy of David Nichols/Allie Beth Allman & Associates
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Texas has limited beaches but man-made lakes a-plenty.  Courtesy of Lake Livingston Texas
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6124 St. Andrews in Dallas
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There's been a lot of back-and-forth between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and California Gov. Jerry Brown about whose state is better for business. But real estate website Trulia.com added a new layer to the conversation with a micro-report about the two states' housing markets.

Using data from the Census' American Community Survey, Trulia unearthed the following:

The California exodus rose with the housing bubble and subsided in the recession. Lower home values in 2008-2011 made California more affordable, encouraging in-migration and discouraging out-migration, as well as pushing some California borrowers underwater, further discouraging out-migration.

What's that got to do with Texas? A lot, as it turns out. The Lone Star State is the most popular destination for defecting Californians, with 183 residents moving to Texas for every 100 Texans who went west. Sure, sunny CA has the mountains and miles and miles of white sand beaches, but Texas' value is more quantifiable.

In addition to having a lower unemployment rate (9.8 percent compared to 6.1 percent) and a lower tax burden (11 percent compared to 9 percent), Texas homes are much cheaper than comparable casas in California. In 2012, the median home price per square foot in California was $229; the same piece of dirt in Texas would cost $84 per square foot.

That means that a 2,000-square-foot home in Los Angeles runs at about $458,000, while a similar abode would cost only $168,000 in Dallas. Not surprisingly, Trulia found that the real estate factor weighed heavily than both taxes and unemployment. 

"The exodus from California was strongest when and where the gap in housing costs between California and other states was biggest," the report says. 

As the economy improves and California real estate rebounds (and thus becomes even more pricey), more surfer guys and gals will likely head to Texas in search of more affordable sand. Look out, Galveston

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