Interest in Relocation Dips Slightly

Metro areas that are more affordable than major coastal cities like San Francisco and New York, and feature warmer weather, frequently make the list of top migration destinations according to a report this week from Redfin.

“They’ve become even more popular during the pandemic because homebuyers who work remotely have had the freedom to prioritize affordability and space over proximity to the office,” according to the report, but overall, relocation dipped slightly in July and August.

Nationwide, 30.1% of users looked to move to a different metropolitan area in July and August, down slightly from 31.1% in the second quarter but up from 28.7% during the same two-month period in 2020. 

The pandemic triggered a relocation boom among Americans, who took advantage of remote work and record-low mortgage rates. Scores of families left major cities in search of affordability and space.

Slight Dip Coincides with Housing Market’s Slowdown

The slight dip in migration has coincided with a slowdown in the broader housing market: Homebuyer competition, home-sales growth and interest in second homes, for example, are all on the decline. It’s worth noting that the housing market typically slows at this time of year.

“We’re not seeing the level of movement we saw at the end of 2020 and the start of 2021, but a lot of people are still looking to move to new cities,” said Redfin Lead Economist Taylor Marr. “Worker turnover is one reason interest in relocating remains high. Scores of Americans are quitting their jobs in search of better salaries, benefits and flexibility. Once they find their next gig, people are often able to move for affordability or a better lifestyle.”

Miami and Sacramento Are the Top Destinations for House Hunters 

Miami, Sacramento, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Tampa were the most popular migration destinations of any major U.S. metros in July and August, meaning they had the largest net inflows. A net inflow is a measure of how many more home searchers looked to move into a metro than leave.

“The influx of homebuyers into Las Vegas eased a little in August, but appears to have picked back up in September,” said local Redfin real estate agent Cheryl Van Elsis. “August seems to be a little slow every year because it’s so scorching hot here. People are also heading out on vacation and families are preparing to send their kids back to school.”

San Francisco and Los Angeles Are the Top Places Homebuyers Leaving 

San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., and Boston saw more users aim to leave than any other metro areas in July and August, meaning they had the biggest net outflows. A net outflow is a measure of how many more home searchers looked to leave a metro than move in.

Dense, pricey cities typically see the most residents depart—a trend that has intensified during the pandemic as remote work has given more people the flexibility to leave expensive job centers for relatively affordable areas.

That said, four of the 10 top metros that people are leaving—New York, Chicago, Denver and Seattle—actually saw fewer people exit than a year earlier. For example, New York saw a net outflow of 25,534 users in July and August, down from a net outflow of 40,049 during the same period in 2020.

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