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Warmer, More Affordable Areas Top Most Popular Migration Destinations

As many Americans nationwide remain in search of more housing affordability, more than one-quarter—an estimated 25.8%—of homebuyers are looking to move to a different part of the country. That marks a record-high share and increased from 23.7% a year ago, according to a new report from Redfin.

The report also showed that relatively affordable metros with warm weather are typically the most popular destinations. The portion of homebuyers looking to relocate has steadily risen since the pandemic began, as the share stood at roughly 18% in 2018 and 2019.

While a record share of homebuyers are looking to relocate, the number remains lower than it was a year ago as the frequency of homes changing hands dropped to its lowest level in at least a decade amid the cool housing market.

Top 10 Metros Homebuyers Are Leaving:

  1. San Francisco
  2. New York
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Washington, D.C.
  5. Chicago
  6. Boston
  7. Hartford, CT
  8. Seattle
  9. (tie) Denver
  10. (tie) Detroit

While popular markets held their spots on the list compared to past years, the report showed that Myrtle Beach, SC, made it onto the list of most popular migration destinations for the first time on record. The South Carolina beach town is the 9th-most popular destination for relocating homebuyers, with people most commonly moving in from Washington, D.C. and New York.

Homebuyers are moving to Myrtle Beach for its relatively affordable homes and outdoorsy lifestyle, as is the case for most of the most popular migration destinations. People moving from pricey East Coast job hubs to Myrtle Beach can get much more house for their money. The typical home in the Myrtle Beach metro area sells for about $360,000, compared with over $600,000 in Washington, D.C., and about $800,000 in New York.

“This area attracts a lot of retirees, particularly from the Northeast and the West Coast, because of its relatively inexpensive cost of living, low property taxes, golf courses and sunny weather,” said Myrtle Beach Redfin agent Monica Roman. “Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve also seen quite a few remote workers move in, drawn by our reasonably priced housing and year-round vacation lifestyle.”

Metros in the Sun Belt and Florida are the most popular migration destinations despite increasing risk of flooding, heat, and hurricanes

The popular Las Vegas metro topped the list of most popular destinations for Redfin.com users moving to a different metro area for the second month in a row. It’s followed by Sacramento and three Florida metros: Tampa, North Port-Sarasota, and Cape Coral. Popularity is determined by net inflow, a measure of how many more Redfin.com users looked to move into an area than leave.

Metro areas in the Sun Belt and Florida are continuously in the top 10 metros for relocating Redfin.com users. Housing affordability is important for all as today’s elevated mortgage rates combine with stubbornly high home prices to push monthly mortgage payments near record highs.

Metros in the southern half of the U.S. are popular despite many of them facing increasing risk from climate change. For instance, Las Vegas faces severe heat risk, Tampa faces extreme flood risk and Myrtle Beach faces extreme risk of hurricanes and other severe wind events.

People are continuing to move to those areas largely because they’re typically relatively affordable. The median home price in Las Vegas is $415,000, compared to nearly $1 million in Los Angeles, the most common origin for homebuyers moving in. Meanwhile, the typical home costs $430,000 in Tampa, roughly half the cost of one in New York, where homebuyers most commonly come from.

While migrations trends carr on, new data found that there are fewer homebuyers moving into 8 of the 10 most popular destinations than there were a year ago as high mortgage rates cool the housing market.

Homebuyers are leaving expensive coastal cities for more affordable places

As mortgage rates, home prices, and the increased cost of living reman a challenge for many, homebuyers are leaving San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles more than any other metro in the country.

Pricey coastal job centers are typically among the metros homebuyers most commonly leave. That’s largely because buyers are often looking to relocate to places with more affordable housing, something that has become more feasible with the prevalence of remote work. It has also become more feasible to move to beachy vacation towns. Homebuyers leaving Washington, D.C., are most commonly moving to the Salisbury, MD, metro, and those leaving Boston are most commonly moving to the Portland, ME, metro.

To read the full report, including more data, charts, and methodology, click here.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport magazines with more than eight years of writing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is an avid jazz lover and likes to read. She can be reached at [email protected].

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