We first moved to Santa Barbara in 2002. During that time Santa Barbara and surrounding area has changed beyond recognition — take a stroll down State Street if you disagree. Santa Barbara had a choice to make and that decision has been made. It is no longer a thriving beach community like other coastal towns but an upper class enclave that frankly holds no interest to me. We will continue to draw income for California (we have the privilege of working remotely) but will also continue to live in a state where property is affordable.
We love California and plan on retiring there within the next five years, but we are currently looking at other communities that are more “real.” Perhaps Santa Barbara will “find its posterior” sometime in the next five years and return to the laid back, tolerant beach town we first moved to that morphed into a home for the super rich and the desperately homeless. Be prepared to lose even more of your population, even six-figure earners, who want to live in a functioning, progressive town not an enclave for the wealthy.