A Record 31% of Redfin.com Users Look to Relocate as Homebuyer Interest in Affordable Areas Intensifies

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Phoenix is the most popular destination for Redfin.com users looking to move away from expensive coastal cities.

Nationwide, 31.2% of Redfin.com users looked to move to a different metro in January and February, up from 26.1% during the same time period last year, according to a new report from Redfin, the technology-powered real estate brokerage. This is the highest share since Redfin started tracking migration in 2017.

The share of Redfin.com users searching for homes outside their metro has steadily increased since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with remote work allowing homebuyers to prioritize affordability and living near family and friends. For many buyers, that means they now have the freedom to relocate to a different part of the country.

“Migration is on the upswing even as vaccines roll out, signaling that the rise in moving from one part of the country to another is likely to outlast the pandemic,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “Although some coronavirus-driven moves will be temporary as people return to the office or go back to living alone after staying with their families, for many Americans one long-lasting effect of the pandemic and remote work is the freedom to live where they want to live.”

The latest migration analysis is based on a sample of more than 2 million Redfin.com users who searched for homes across 87 metro areas in January and February, excluding searches unlikely to precede an actual relocation or home purchase.

The uptick in migration is driven by homebuyers moving to PhoenixAustin and Las Vegas

PhoenixAustinLas VegasDallas and Miami had the biggest net inflows of Redfin.com users of any major metro in the U.S. in January and February, meaning they were the most popular destinations for people looking to move to a different area. A net inflow is a measure of how many more Redfin.com home searchers looked to move into a metro than leave, out of a sample of 2 million users.

Affordable inland destinations and parts of Florida are typically the most popular destinations for migrants, a trend that has accelerated during the pandemic. The net inflow of Redfin.com users searching for a home from out of town has increased significantly from last year in all of the top 10 destinations.

“More and more people are moving into Phoenix; the trend is only becoming more intense,” said local Redfin agent Thomas Wiederstein. “More than half of my buyers are coming from out of state, mostly from California. And with the recent winter storms in places like Dallas, several of my newer clients are out-of-state buyers who have shifted their home search from Texas to Arizona. Buyers from other states tend to make stronger offers because they have more cash on hand, and that makes it extremely difficult for locals to compete.”

Los Angeles is the top origin for people moving to PhoenixLas Vegas and Dallas, while San Francisco is the top origin for those relocating to Austin. The typical home in Los Angeles sold for $745,000 in February, and the typical home in San Francisco sold for $1.4 million. Meanwhile, the typical home in PhoenixLas Vegas and Dallas sells for less than $350,000.

Top 10 Metros by Net Inflow of Users and Their Top Origins

Rank

Metro*

Net Inflow,
January and
February
2021

Net Inflow,
January and
February
2020

Portion of
Searches
from Users
Outside the
Metro,
January and
February
2021

Portion of
Searches
from Users
Outside the
Metro,
January and
February
2020

Top Origin

Top Out-of-
State Origin

1

Phoenix, AZ

10,471

7,319

38.9%

35.7%

Los Angeles,
CA

Los Angeles,
CA

2

Austin, TX

9,564

3,941

43.6%

32.6%

San
Francisco,
CA

San
Francisco,
CA

3

Las Vegas,
NV

9,056

5,706

53.1%

47.9%

Los Angeles,
CA

Los Angeles,
CA

4

Dallas, TX

7,801

3,545

33.3%

26.3%

Los Angeles,
CA

Los Angeles,
CA

5

Miami, FL

7,487

2,399

32.0%

26.6%

New York, NY

New York,
NY

6

Atlanta, GA

7,415

5,113

26.8%

26.8%

New York, NY

New York,
NY

7

Sacramento,
CA

7,414

4,861

48.3%

44.4%

San
Francisco,
CA

Reno, NV

8

Tampa, FL

6,018

3,186

60.3%

56.0%

Orlando, FL

New York,
NY

9

Cape Coral,
FL

5,575

2,078

77.0%

74.4%

Chicago, IL

Chicago, IL

10

Orlando, FL

4,824

1,982

58.5%

52.1%

New York,
NY

New York,
NY

*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users in January and February 2021

†Negative values indicate a net outflow; among the one million users sampled for this analysis only

Homebuyers are leaving New YorkSan Francisco and Los Angeles for areas that are relatively close–but more affordable

New YorkSan FranciscoLos AngelesWashington, D.C. and Seattle top the list of places Redfin.com users are looking to leave, with the biggest net outflows of Redfin.com users in January and February. A net outflow is a measure of how many more Redfin.com home searchers looked to leave a metro than move in, out of a sample of 2 million users.

Expensive coastal cities typically have the highest net outflows, with more and more homebuyers looking to leave those places since the pandemic began a year ago. The net outflow of Redfin.com users from New YorkSan Francisco and Los Angeles has increased significantly from a year ago, and it has more than doubled in Washington, D.C. and Seattle.

For Redfin.com users who leave New YorkSan Francisco and Los Angeles, the most popular destinations are nearby metro areas with comparatively affordable housing. Philadelphia, where the typical home sold for $238,000 in February, is the most popular destination for people leaving the New York metro, where the typical home in the metro sold for $590,000. People leaving San Francisco are most likely to search for homes in Sacramento, where the typical home sold for $490,000 in February, and people leaving Los Angeles are most likely to go to San Diego, where the typical home sold for $685,000.

Top 10 Metros by Net Outflow of Users and Their Top Destinations

Rank

Metro*

Net Outflow,
January and
February
2021

Net Outflow,
January and
February
2020

Portion of
Local Users
Searching
Elsewhere,
January and
February
2021

Portion of
Local Users
Searching
Elsewhere,
January and
February
2020

Top
Destination

Top Out-of-
State
Destination

1

New York,
NY

37,894

26,714

34.7%

36.3%

Philadelphia,
PA

Philadelphia,
PA

2

San
Francisco,
CA

35,440

23,868

24.1%

21.7%

Sacramento,
CA

Austin, TX

3

Los Angeles,
CA

23,473

13,913

18.5%

16.4%

San Diego,
CA

Las Vegas,
NV

4

Washington,
DC

14,190

6,446

14.7%

11.6%

Salisbury,
MD

Salisbury,
MD

5

Seattle, WA

8,445

3,357

16.4%

13.1%

Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix, AZ

6

Chicago, IL

7,775

3,797

13.7%

10.4%

Cape Coral,
FL

Cape Coral,
FL

7

Denver, CO

6,242

2,979

29.9%

23.6%

Seattle, WA

Seattle, WA

8

Boston, MA

3,751

178

14.9%

11.5%

Portland, ME

Portland, ME

9

Milwaukee,
WI

2,296

1,031

42.6%

38.6%

Chicago, IL

Chicago, IL

10

Indianapolis,
IN

1,891

535

42.3%

33.1%

Chicago, IL

Chicago, IL

*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users in January and February 2021

†Among the one million users sampled for this analysis only

To read the full report, visit: https://www.redfin.com/news/february-2021-housing-migration-trends.

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