I moved from Malibu to Vegas after California taxes got too high

I moved from Malibu to Vegas after California taxes got too high

Gus Lira’s new home in the Summerlin community of Las Vegas.
Gus Lira

  • Gus Lira, managing partner of a jet charter company, recently moved from Malibu to Las Vegas.
  • Lira said the main reason for the move was financial, citing taxes in California.
  • Lira also said that the $1.9 million house she bought in Vegas would be $8 million in Malibu.

This is an essay based on a conversation with Gus Lira, managing partner of a private jet charter company who recently moved to Las Vegas from Malibu, California. Business Insider checked real estate prices. The essay has been edited for length and clarity.

I was born in Los Angeles and lived there until I was 10 years old. After that I spent time in Texas, Florida and Mexico. I moved back to California in 2000.

Like anyone who comes to Los Angeles or California, I come back because it’s beautiful. Weather, topography. California coast. I lived in Hermosa Beach for the first time, which is great, but very crowded. Malibu is more open, so I moved there and stayed for 17 years.

At first it was great. Was living in California more expensive than living in Texas or Florida? Yes, but Los Angeles is a big city. But over time it became unbearable.

The last five years, I think, have been the most difficult for everyone. Tax laws became stricter, volatility of real estate. Everything from crime, homelessness, taxes. It is very expensive to work here if you have a job because of the fees you have to pay. And every year they make it more difficult.

But really the main reason for me and most people I know is just taxes. I believe most of the people I talk to say, “I’m moving to Miami, I’m moving to Dallas, I’m moving to Houston, I’m moving to Idaho, I’m moving to Wyoming.” It’s all financial.

I am no longer a California resident. He could no longer afford it. You can’t go forward when you get $100 and they get $60.

I was just ready to get out of California.

Las Vegas is more affordable

I’ve been to Las Vegas many times, but nowhere else but the strip. I had a couple of friends who moved here and bought, and they said, “Hey, you should really check out Vegas.” I’m thinking, “Vegas? The desert? I can’t even imagine myself there.”

Then I checked out Summerlin in September. Everything was green, green, green, green, green. It’s beautiful. There are palm trees, there are mountains, there is Red Rock Canyon. My yard is full of mature palm trees and vegetation. It is not a desert. If you look outside my house, you’d think you were in Orange County.

I paid 1.9 million dollars. I live on a golf course. It is a beautiful house in a gated community, clean, traffic and crime free. My house has a mountain background and a beautiful pool.

Gus Lira’s backyard in Summerlin has a pool, lots of greenery, and mature palm trees.
Gus Lira

If I had known that Summerlin was so attractive, I would have taken this step long ago.

Malibu had an unobstructed ocean view, but the space was small. It was an air conditioner. The house I bought here would probably be $8 million in Malibu on the Pacific Palisades side. Small houses start at 3 million, 4 million, 5 million dollars. This is overwhelming.

Now I am a resident of Nevada. I only go back to Malibu for vacation and a week, two weeks, three weeks, maybe a month, in the hot summer in Las Vegas.

I still love California, but living there was very difficult

My wife and I are very, very, very happy with our move. Again, look, finances: No state income tax, no inheritance tax, no grocery tax when you go to the grocery store. It also has one of the lowest property taxes in the country.

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and she said to me, “Hey, do you miss Malibu?” Maybe because I’m not young anymore, but no. I would think I would. LA is overcrowded. You cannot park. In Malibu, I’m thinking, “hey, let’s go to the beach.” Then look outside and it’s bumper-to-bumper traffic.

If you are 30 years old, looking for your dreams and think you can make it in Hollywood, you go there and fight. But I don’t have to do that anymore in my life. I was 30 when I moved back. I am over 50 now. After you hit the big five-oh, you want things to be easier.

Do I still love Malibu? Do I still love Hermosa and Manhattan Beach? Yes. I was born there. Do I like the topography? Do I love the ocean? Yes, yes, of course. It is massive beauty. But everything else made it very, very, very difficult. Very hard.

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