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Metros Where the Most Homeowners are Making Moves

Whether pandemic-related, for more space, or to save some money, many Americans have moved in the past few years, but what cities have the most mobile residents?

Researchers at LendingTree have analyzed U.S. Census data to understand the share of homeowners in the nation’s 50-largest metropolitan areas who relocated in 2017 or later. Additionally, they examined the relationship between how long homeowners have lived in their homes and local home price growth.

Along with the following results, consider that another recent study showed most movers are relocating within their own state. In that study, researchers at Knock concluded "we will see people moving more often, especially as technology helps to simplify the process of buying and selling homes."

LendingTree's research team found that the largest share of migratory homeowners moved to Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Jacksonville, Florida. In those three metropolitan areas an average of 22.5% of homeowners moved in 2017 or later, which is almost 6 percentage points higher than the national average of movers, which is 16.6%.

On the other hand, homeowners in Los Angeles, San Jose, California, and Pittsburgh tended to stay put longer than others, with an average of just 11.2% of them moving since 2017.

In the past four or so years, residential property prices tend to appreciate faster in cities where owners live in their homes longer, LendingTree showed.

"There is a relatively strong positive correlation between the share of homeowners who moved in 2017 or later and three-year home price growth across the nation’s largest metros," writes Lending Tree's Senior Analyst Jacob Channel, who summarized the study. "For example, the median home value in the top three metros in LendingTree’s study grew by an average of 26.5% from 2016 to 2019. In the three lowest-ranked metros, the median home value only increased by an average of 16.5% over the same period."

There are plenty of exceptions, he pointed out. For example, people tend to remain in the same home for longer in Pittsburgh and Buffalo, New York, and those are two relatively inexpensive metros.

When the market began seeing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, there was much reported about American homeowners fleeing city centers, however research later showed this likely would not be the case.

"Housing markets in most major metros have boomed over the last year, suggesting that not only do people want to keep living in big cities, but they’re also willing to pay top dollar to do so," Channel wrote. "As a result, in the wake of the pandemic, an even larger share of homeowners will likely have lived in their current homes for less than two years."

Analysts concluded that those intending to move in the foreseeable future will face elevated home prices. "On the positive side, it could also make building home equity easier," they add.

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media and Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning News, among others. Contact Christina at christina.hughesbabb@thefivestar.com.
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