ROCKLIN, Calif. — The Chapin family has a lot to celebrate.
"We couldn't believe when we got it," Stacey Chapin said. "You should've heard [my husband], he was screaming for joy."
But the road to their new home wasn't easy.
"I'm going to say we probably toured between 20 and 30 homes," Stacey Chapin said.
For months, they scoured real estate all across the greater Sacramento region.
"We started in El Dorado Hills, moved around to Folsom, to Roseville, Rocklin, Loomis," Dan Chapin said. "We even took a peek up near Auburn."
After losing out on nine bids, they knew they had to move quickly.
"One home in Loomis which I fell in love with... I think, what did it go over?" Stacey Chapin said looking to her husband, Dan. "$150,000 over asking or something crazy!"
With the competitive market, they placed a winning offer on their home without ever stepping foot in it.
"We couldn't physically make it over here to see this house in person, so our real estate agent, Kevin McDonald, came in with his iPad and he FaceTimed us through the house," Stacey Chapin said.
The tough competition to buy a home was a surprise.
"Coming from the North Bay, we thought we might be able to find our dream home and have it be a little more affordable," Dan Chapin said. "We found a lot of people like us doing the same thing - and competing with each other."
Their family isn't alone. Research conducted by UC Davis on migration within Northern California found that in 2018 and 2019, pre-COVID, about 150,000 people left the Bay Area. When the pandemic hit, that number doubled with nearly 305,000 leaving.
And a lot of folks are moving to Rocklin.
Specifically, Rocklin was named by Money Magazine as one of the top 50 places in the nation to live with its top-rated schools, low crime rate and an assortment of amenities.
A new report from real estate agency Zillow said Rocklin was the most in-demand market within the Sacramento region.
It's something real estate agent Kevin McDonald has witnessed first-hand. He's been working in the Rocklin and surrounding region for nearly two decades.
"It has been incredible, the dynamics of how the areas have changed," McDonald said.
But part of Rocklin's appeal is how the city anticipated and planned for change and development.
"The majority of Rocklin was built up after Stanford Ranch in the late eighties and it became this community that was a 'masterplan community,'" McDonald said.
Everything from large parks to housing developments to streets and highways was designed, McDonald said, with the ability for growth and for people to easily get around.
It's growth that has been especially prevalent recently. Specifically, in the last five years, research conducted by Emsi Burning Glass Market Analytics found the greater Sacramento region has grown faster than all major California markets - including San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
"I mean, we've heard of over 100 offers on certain places and going for hundreds of thousands of dollars over asking," McDonald said. "There was recently a place that sold for a million dollars over asking."
With interest rates rising, the market has normalized a bit more. McDonald estimates the average price is around $750,000 in Rocklin. But what will make these homes even more appealing is that Rocklin is nearing its capacity.
"Basically, there's no more open land to build on," McDonald said. "When they're fully built out, all that usually happens is values rise and you're going to have very desirable properties because a lot of people want it and you can't build any more of it."
While Rocklin tried to develop their roadways for accessibility, they're getting more and more congested with the influx of people.
"A lot of people use this road right here that we're on — it's Sunset and Pacific — to cut across so they can avoid Highway 65 altogether," said Scott Williams, Owner & CEO of Moksa Brewing. "Works out well for us!"
Moksa Brewing is known and loved by new and old Rocklin residents alike.
"Well, obviously, beer is very communal," Williams said.
The brewery has been recognized with a number of prestigious awards, including the 6th Best New Brewery in the World. They sell 68% of their beer through their taproom - meaning, they see the majority of their customers face-to-face.
"We're seeing a lot of people, a lot of new people, a lot of new faces just moving to the area. We're getting a lot of people from the Bay Area, especially over the last year... year-and-a-half," Williams said. "They're building houses like crazy out on the far west... but yeah, you just see an influx."
While the influx of people moving to areas like Roseville and Rocklin brings up the cost of living and housing market, some experts said it's a great thing for the greater Sacramento region.
"So, greater Sacramento was one of the last regions to recover in the country after the great recession in '08," said Michelle Willard of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council.
She said the main reason was that, then, Sacramento's economy was focused on one thing: government jobs.
"And when you're heavily focused on one industry, especially a government job, it doesn't add what's called a 'multiplier effect.' It doesn't add or create additional jobs for that one government job," Willard said.
It's incredibly important to diversify the greater Sacramento region's economy, she said, to ensure the area is prospering and growing.
With people moving here from the Bay area, they're bringing well-paying tech jobs.
"For every one high-wage tech job, [it] creates three to five jobs in other industries," Willard said. "So, that one job would create an additional job for a hairdresser, or a waiter, or a lawyer or doctor."
Without people moving to the area and creating new jobs and industries, Sacramento would become stagnant — and people would leave.
"In Detroit, for example, the population has declined for over seven decades. The population peaked in the 1950s... 4 million people in 1950 was the census and in 2020 they only had about 630,000 people," Willard explained. "Their economy was built on cars, right? They prospered on the auto industry and when manufacturing left overseas... their economy died."
It's why her agency, the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, works to bring companies here to create more jobs — and one of the most appealing things we have going is our talent pool.
"I think Sacramento is appealing, number one because we have so much talent," Willard said. "We have so many universities within a 90-mile radius."
According to the Greater Sacramento Economic Council's data, the greater Sacramento region has more students enrolled in a two-to-four-year institution within 100 miles than Phoenix, Austin, Seattle and Portland.
"The more students you have and the more educated your population [is] with Bachelor's Degrees or Associate's Degrees, the easier it is to recruit companies to your region," Willard said.
With more demands from people moving here, companies often expand — like Moksa Brewing who is partnering with Hawk's Public House to create a new restaurant right on the Rocklin-Roseville border that will be called Moksa Barrel House.
"[That area] is a little bit underserved right now. They're building houses as fast as they can and there's just not a lot of businesses to support out there all that growth," Williams said. "So, we're getting in pretty early out there."
Williams said if the number of people who have shared how excited they are about Moksa Barrel House show up to eat and drink, the business will be booming.
As for the Chapin family, they brought their firm, Left Coast Marketing, Design and Photography, along with them. They're thankful the pandemic created openness across the nation to work with agencies like theirs that can be based in other states. They said they've taken on clients out-of-state and are excited to work with local ones here in Sacramento.
"We feel very fortunate for the opportunity to pick up our business and move here," Dan Chapin said.
They're also excited to send their girls into the top-notch public schools and are already enjoying the improvement to their quality of life with all the fun amenities around, as well as joining church groups and summer camps.
"I don't really know anyone yet, but hopefully I'll meet more people once I get out and do a youth group," said their eldest daughter, Kendal Chapin.
But for longtime residents, it can be a challenge seeing the areas they've known and loved change and prices increase.
As for that, the Chapin family has a message.
"I feel like we're coming here to become integrated into the community, versus trying to change the community," Stacey Chapin said.
"This is the next chapter of our lives," Dan Chapin said.
"Yeah. I think this is the perfect place to do that," Stacey Chapin said.