It's summer in Montana and of course that means tourist season, and when you throw in the fact that Yellowstone is just down the road, that means increased traffic and people.

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One of the things that I like to do when I am out and about is to look at all of the license plates from different states. Before I moved to Bozeman, I lived in Grand Forks, ND and we would see a whole lot of Minnesota and Manitoba plates (the Canadians would always take the good parking spaces)

Yesterday I was doing some shopping and I was walking through a very packed parking lot and I started counting all the different plates.  I saw a few from Utah, a couple from  Washington, but the clear winner and it wasn't even close, was California.

Photo Credit: Robert Mizerek

I realize that I am a newbie and I see the irony in the fact that I'm writing about people not from Montana moving to Montana. However, I lived in Missoula for a few years, so I feel like I'm Grandfathered in.

The more I meet and talk to locals, the topic of Californians seems to come up. The biggest effect or as I was told "The California Effect", is the cost of housing. If you own a house and are looking to sell, well this is a "Sellers" dream. with home prices increasing over 25% just in the last year. If you are like me and relocating to Bozeman, well, you might want to sit down before you start your search.

Photo Credit: Andy Dean

It doesn't look like the migration is going to end anytime soon, and it's not just Montana they are flocking to. Utah, Arizona, Washington, Idaho, Texas, and others are seeing a large influx of our West Coast friends that are driving up the cost of housing.

So, it begs the question, if everyone leaves California, do we all move there? Something to think about.

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