Wednesday Feb 08, 2023

Homebuyers Are Leaving These 5 Big Cities, Relocating to These 5 Big Cities — Experts Weigh In – GOBankingRates


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The pandemic has people itching to move. Of course, there is always some percentage of people who are looking to relocate anyway, but a recent report from Redfin shows the share of homebuyers searching for a new place to call home is up substantially since COVID-19 first turned our world upside down.

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As of January 2022, a record 32.4% of users nationwide looked to move to a different metro area — significantly up from 25.2% in Q2 2019, and slightly up from the previous peak of 31.5% in the first quarter of 2021. While the current percentage is notably higher than before the pandemic, the question is exactly what influence the pandemic has had on the increase. While it would seem that remote work policies would play a big part, expert input helps us bring further context to this rising trend. Let’s explore the situation.

So Long, San Fran, LA, NYC, Seattle and D.C. — Hello Miami, Phoenix, Tampa, Sacramento and Vegas!

According to the Redfin report, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and Washington, D.C. were the top metro areas homebuyers looked to leave in January, which was unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2021. That’s based on net outflow, a measure of how many more home searchers looked to leave a city than move in.

As for where homebuyers are looking to move, Miami was the most popular destination of all the major U.S. metros, unchanged from the third and fourth quarters of 2021. Miami was followed by Phoenix, Tampa, Sacramento and Las Vegas.

Expert Analysis

Here, we’ll take a look at why people are leaving the five major metros and flocking to the five other ones, with home prices, climate and other factors coming into play.

Cost Plays a Big Role

Throughout the pandemic, we have seen people move from expensive cities such as San Francisco and New York to cheaper cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix. As more data becomes available, it appears the pandemic may have accelerated the already existing trend of people leaving costly metros. In other words, it didn’t necessarily create a brand new phenomenon.

Nevertheless, cost matters, and that is perhaps more important than ever in light of COVID. “This high cost of living doubtlessly pushes some people to seek out less expensive parts of the country,” says Jacob Channel, senior economic analyst at LendingTree. “That’s not to say that places like Miami or Sacramento are incredibly cheap, but when compared to somewhere like LA or San Francisco, they appear significantly more affordable.”

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Policy Also Matters

Although relocating is not usually a temporary decision, it appears policies around COVID-19 have factored into the decision for at least some homebuyers. Every buyer has their own calculations to make, and policies that are a pro for some may be a con for others.

“Among those who said the pandemic responses of their previous area impacted their decision of where to live, 26% sought an area with less restrictive pandemic-related policies, including mask mandate bans, and a lack of vaccine requirements,” says Vanessa Famulener, president of HomeLight Homes.

However, there is a flip side to this, as Famulener points out. “On …….


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