Little-known California town is now among America’s fastest growing cities, as families flee overpriced Bay Ar – Daily Mail

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A little-known California town is now counted among America’s fastest growing cities as fed-up Bay Area residents flee inland to escape sky-high property prices.

Lathrop is a little slice of suburbia located in the San Joaquin Valley around 10 miles south of the city of Stockton and some 74 miles from San Francisco. 

With the average price of a single-family home just half what it would typically cost in the Golden Gate city, it’s little surprise that Lathrop’s population is booming.

Over the past decade the number of people living in the town has more than doubled from 19,000 in 2013 to 40,000 in 2023, US Census figures show.

Mike Samawi, a Mountain House-based Realtor with Compass, told the San Francisco Chronicle that from his experience, most people moving there come from the Bay Area — including many families who continue commuting or work remotely.

‘It’s hard to walk away (from Lathrop) once you see it,’ he explained in an interview.

The median price of an existing single-family home in Lathrop (pictured) is about half what it will run for a few miles away in San Francisco

A four-bedroom with a pool like this one costs less than $700,000 - around $100,000 less than the state average

Much of the town’s growing attraction has been put down to a wide availability of housing – with the number of homes nearly doubling in a decade. 

‘We don’t delay developers,’ city manager Stephen Salvatore told the Chronicle.

‘That’s been our business model, to not put up roadblocks to development,’ he added.

The construction, he said, has mostly been in four major developments, where a bevy of new restaurants, schools and parks are also being built.

Officials said they had built more than 18,000 single-family homes and 350 multi-family homes to house the arrivals over 20 years. 

Compare that to a decade ago, when the town only had 5,700 homes – and it’s clear that little-know Lathrop has surfaced as something special.

Meanwhile, the median sale price for a Lathrop home in April was about $737,000, according to brokerage Redfin. 

Many homes are priced even lower, real estate listing show. 

Comparably, the median price of an existing single-family home in the Bay Area in February was $1.25 million, up from $1.1 million the previous month, a report by the California Association of Realtors showed.

Statewide, the median price of an existing single-family is just over $806,000, up from $789,480 in January. 

Lathrop was the only West Coast city out of 15 to earn the distinction of being one the fast-growing municipalities in the US, according to estimates released last month by the US Census Bureau. 

It was ranked fifth on the list, following four towns in Texas and was only one of three towns in the top ten not located in the Lone Star State.

As the town’s housing market continues to catch up with the arrivals, Lathrop has prioritized what city manager Salvatore last month referred to as ‘responsible growth’, the Chronicle reported.

This means speeding along projects while also making sure the city remains attractive to residents – be it by way of housing or building up new businesses.

This two-pronged effort has already seen a Tesla factory open in the town in 2022.

Families are flocking in droves to Lathrop - fed-up with high Bay Area houses prices

This has seen Lathrop's population swell from 19,000 in 2013 to nearly 40,000 in 2023

Compare that to a decade ago, when the little known town only had 5,700 homes - and it's clear that little-know Lathrop has surfaced as something special

Lathrop - one of only three towns in the top ten not located in Texas - serves as an anomaly, with a median home sold price of $705,625, according to Redfin. Many homes, however, are priced at even less, like this three bedroom priced at $592,990, currently on the market

Samawi added that many clients had moved to the town to benefit their children, citing the quality of the school district. 

And he expects this trend to continue as long as homes there stay affordable.

Many others are flocking to what has been dubbed Southern California’s ‘last affordable’ region the Inland Empire. 

New data revealed Riverside and San Bernardino counties collectively added more than 22,000 people in just last year. 

Again, this trend is driven partly by coastal renters moving inland to purchase more affordable homes. 

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