Las Vegas, Phoenix Top Relocation Destinations for SoCal

Las Vegas and Phoenix are the top markets for both inbound and outbound relocations for Southern California, according to new research from Zumper. The company’s migration report shows that both Las Vegas and Phoenix were the top cities for relocation searches to and from Southern California.

For inbound relocation, housing affordability played a major role in residents’ decision to move to Phoenix and Las Vegas. “A big factor for this migration is that Phoenix and Las Vegas have much cheaper costs of living when compared to Southern California cities,” Crystal Chen, marketing manager at Nextdoor, tells “One-bedroom rents in Phoenix and Las Vegas are both just under $1,000, while one-bedroom rents in Southern California cities range between $1,500 and $2,200. Renters in Southern California who are looking for more affordability but still want the fun city amenities are turning to Phoenix and Las Vegas.”

Coastal Southern California’s affordability crisis isn’t news. The market’s high housing costs have fueled outward migration to the benefit of neighboring regions, including Phoenix and Las Vegas, but also areas like the Inland Empire. However, the opposite—inward migration patterns from Las Vegas and Phoenix—was unexpected to see in the research. “California is an incredibly sought after destination for many and for Las Vegas and Phoenix renters specifically, a big draw may be that the weather is similar, since all of these three regions are normally warm most of the year,” says Chen. “Southern California is also a more affordable and spaced-out area when compared to expensive Northern California, so for people who want to make a move to California, Southern California is a good entry point.”

While these neighboring regions have always seen inter-migration, the numbers and patterns this year were different. “The migration relationship between Southern California and Phoenix and Las Vegas has existed historically but with some fluctuations compared to last year,” says Chen. “In 2020, the demand from Southern California cities to both Phoenix and Las Vegas have increased, while Las Vegas interest in Southern California has decreased slightly. Phoenix’s demand to Southern California has remained about the same.”

Affordability has played a major role in encouraging Southern California residents to move out of the state, but the pandemic will likely increase those migration patterns. “As more and more companies move into remote work, we expect the demand from renters in pricy Southern California to Phoenix and Las Vegas to increase as people look for more affordability and space post-pandemic,” says Chen.

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