Riverside California population Photo: Ken Lund/Flicrk

Of all the people who moved in the US last year, 18 percent of them — 8.5 million people — traded one metropolitan area for another, according to data from the US Census Bureau. Of those metro-to-metro exchanges, no two cities swapped more residents than LA and Riverside.

Indeed, 90,494 people moved from LA to Riverside last year, while 54,711 Riverside residents packed up their lives and moved to LA — a net gain of 35,783 residents for Riverside. The third most common metro-to-metro migration flow was New York City to Philadelphia — 26,957 residents left the Big Apple for the City of Brotherly Love.

Why was Riverside the target of so many LA migrants?

“It all comes down to affordability,” Greg Lee, Interim Economic Development Manager from the City of Riverside, told BuzzBuzzHome News. “The price of housing in Inland Empire [which includes cities within Riverside and San Bernardino counties] is so much less than the coastal counties, it gives everyone from Millennials to empty nesters the opportunity to purchase an affordable home.”

According to a recent Home Sale Activity report by CoreLogic, Riverside’s median home price was $327,000 in July 2015, up 12.8 percent from the previous year but still significantly lower than neighboring counties and cities. The median home price in Los Angeles in July was $625,000, San Diego’s was $485,000 and Orange County’s was $600,000.

According to the Regional Intelligence Report (RIR) by Beacon Economics, 4,500 new households have been added to Riverside, the most of any other inland Southern California city. The report states that “less than 1,500 new housing units have been permitted for construction in the City during the same time period… The primary issue has been that construction activity has been unable to keep up with the pace of population growth.”

To address the growth, Lee explains “The city of Riverside is working hard to supply the kind of housing stock that is attractive to these new transplants… people are returning to urban cores.”

Lee also says the city has three new construction housing projects in the pipeline for the downtown core. New mixed-use developments include Imperial Lofts with 95 units, the Stalder project with 165 units and Center Point with 125 units.

The RIR further estimates “that the City added over 3,400 jobs between July 2014 and July 2015… Growth in the City during this time period surpassed that of the state overall (3.2 percent), and more locally, both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.”

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