According to a new report from Redfin, a record 32.4% of Redfin.com users nationwide looked to move to a different metro area in January, up from the previous peak of 31.5% in Q1 of 2021, and significantly higher than before the pandemic, when only an estimated one-quarter of homebuyers were looking to relocate.
The share of homebuyers looking to move has grown substantially during the pandemic, as remote work and low mortgage rates have allowed many Americans to relocate to more affordable regions with more indoor and outdoor space.
“I predict the share of homebuyers looking to move to a different area will continue to rise throughout the year,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “With mortgage rates going up and rents skyrocketing, moving somewhere more affordable is one of the only ways for many Americans to stay within their housing budget. Even workers who are unable to work from home should feel confident about finding a job in a new location with the tight labor market.”
Permanent remote-work policies and the ongoing housing shortage will also likely keep Americans moving. If buyers become frustrated by a lack of inventory in one metro, they may relocate to an area with more affordable homes to choose from.
Miami was the most popular migration destination of all the major U.S. metros in January, unchanged from Q3 and Q4 of 2021. Popularity is determined by net inflow, a measure of how many more Redfin.com home searchers looked to move into a metro than leave.
Miami was followed by Phoenix, Tampa, Sacramento ,and Las Vegas, all of which are recurring favorites for relocators. Relatively affordable metros with warm weather are typically the most popular destinations among Redfin.com homebuyers.
While the five most popular metros are still affordable compared with coastal job centers like the Bay Area and New York, home prices are rising quickly. In Miami, the typical home sold for $436,900 in January, up 18.1% year-over-year and above the national median of $376,200—more affordable than the $655,000 median sale price in New York, the top origin of people moving to Miami.
“While Sun Belt cities like Miami and Phoenix aren’t likely to lose their luster anytime soon, rising prices may soon render them slightly less popular for relocators,” Fairweather said. “Home prices–and the costs of other goods and services–are skyrocketing in a lot of these destinations precisely because they’re so popular with out-of-towners. Some homebuyers who prioritize affordability may start searching in less expensive northern cities.”
Based on net outflow and unchanged from Q4 of 2021, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. were the top metros homebuyers looked to leave in January.
Redfin.com home searchers who are looking to relocate are typically leaving expensive cities, a trend that has become more widespread with remote work. With a median sale price of roughly $1.4 million, San Francisco is the most expensive place to buy a home in the U.S. Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle are also among the most expensive metros for buying a home.
To read the full report, including charts and methodology, click here.