Whenever people talk about the high cost of living here, my default position is "go somewhere else." Now that I'm facing that prospect it's problem. . . .
The problem in a nutshell is Prop 13, which limits property tax increases. This acts like rent control; once you buy a place you're locked into it. If you want to move, you can swap your house for another of equal value, but your new property tax will be multiples higher. So everybody's locked into these $1 million dollar shacks that they paid $200K for. And fewer units on the market drives the price of available units skyward.
[M]any people move here to Vail AZ from CA, HI, CO, WA, OR to get away from cost & congestion. nobody pines for their homeland. The summer heat here is, like the cold in midwest, one tends to stays inside in AC, but cheaper than midwest heating costs. A neighbors daughter lives in Alamos Mexico, nice houses come furnished with a maid and handyman for less than SF houses.