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A Record Share of Homebuyers Are Relocating, Many to Places Endangered By Climate Change


Sacramento and Las Vegas, which grapple with extreme heat, are the most popular destinations for relocating homebuyers. Four of the 10 most popular are in Florida, which faces risk of hurricanes and flooding. 

A record 26% of homebuyers are looking to move to a different part of the country, up from 24% a year ago and roughly 19% before the pandemic began. 

The data in this report is based on the searches of about two million Redfin.com users who viewed for-sale homes online across more than 100 metro areas from June 2023 to August 2023. Scroll down for the full methodology. 

Elevated mortgage rates–the average mortgage rate was over 7% in August, its highest level in two decades–have cooled the overall U.S. housing market, with fewer homes for sale overall and fewer buyers in the market. But a high portion of the homebuyers who are moving are relocating to different metro areas. There are 7% fewer Redfin.com users looking to move away from their home metro than a year ago, with seven of the 10 most popular destinations posting lower net inflows in August 2023 than August 2022. That’s compared to a 16.5% decline for those Redfin.com users searching within their home metro. 

Relocations are holding up better than in-metro moves largely because homebuyers are searching for affordability, and remote work gives many Americans the freedom to move. Nine of the 10 most popular migration destinations have a lower median home-sale price than the most common origin of homebuyers moving in. 

Sacramento, CA, for instance, is the most popular destination for relocating homebuyers. The typical home in that metro sells for $575,000, nearly a million dollars less than the typical home in San Francisco ($1,480,000), the most popular origin of buyers moving in. With a 7% mortgage rate, the monthly payment for the median-priced Sacramento home is $3,889, compared to $10,010 for the median-priced San Francisco home. 

“Half of the buyers I’m working with are moving in from out of town, all but one from the Bay Area,” said Alison Williams, a Redfin Premier agent in Sacramento. “Most of them are moving not necessarily because they can’t afford the Bay Area, but because they want a bigger home and better quality of life. They’re searching for high-end homes with spacious yards where they can raise a family. I’m also working with a few investors who are looking to buy a home here and rent it out for a few years before moving in themselves.” 

Sacramento, Las Vegas and Orlando are the most popular migration destinations

After Sacramento, Las Vegas and three Florida metros–Orlando, North Port-Sarasota and Tampa–are the most popular destinations for homebuyers looking to relocate. Popularity is determined by net inflow, a measure of how many more Redfin.com users looked to move into an area than leave. 

Myrtle Beach, SC climbed to #6 after debuting on Redfin’s list of most popular destinations in July at #9. Another Florida metro, Cape Coral, is also in the top 10. 

Those metros have a few things in common: They’re more affordable than the most common origin of homebuyers moving in, and they face increasing climate risks. Sacramento and Las Vegas face severe heat risk; Orlando, North Port-Sarasota, Myrtle Beach and Cape Coral face extreme wind/hurricane risk; and Tampa and Cape Coral are at extreme risk of flooding

While research has shown that homebuyers consider climate risk when deciding where to live, affordability is often a more significant factor. A recent Redfin survey found that roughly 8% of U.S. residents likely to move within the next year are doing so because they’re concerned about the impact of climate change on their previous area, compared with 22% moving for a lower cost of living. 

Top 10 Metros Homebuyers Are Moving Into, by Net Inflow 

Net inflow = Number of Redfin.com home searchers looking to move into a metro area, minus the number of searchers looking to leave

Rank Metro* Net Inflow, August 2023 Net Inflow, August 2022 Top Origin Top Out-of-State Origin

 

Sacramento, CA 5,100 8,900 San Francisco, CA Chicago, IL
2 Las Vegas, NV 5,000 6,800 Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles, CA
3 Orlando, FL 4,300 2,200 New York, NY New York, NY
4 (tie) North Port-Sarasota, FL 4,000 5,300 New York, NY New York, NY
4 (tie) Tampa, FL 4,000 7,100 New York, NY New York, NY
6 Myrtle Beach, SC 3,700 3,100 Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C.
7 Cape Coral, FL 3,600 5,400 Chicago, IL Chicago, IL
8 Dallas, TX 3,400 4,700 Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles, CA
9 Portland, ME 3,300 3,100 Boston, MA Boston, MA
10 Houston, TX 3,100 3,300 New York, NY New York, NY
*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users searching to and from the region in June 2023-August 2023

Homebuyers are leaving expensive cities like San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles

Homebuyers are leaving San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles more than any other metro in the country. That’s based on net outflow, a measure of how many more Redfin.com users are looking to leave a metro than move in. 

It’s typical for expensive job centers to top the list of places homebuyers are moving away from, as those people seek more affordable housing. Homebuyers leaving Los Angeles, for instance, are most commonly moving to Las Vegas, where homes are half the price. The story is similar for homebuyers leaving Seattle: They’re most commonly moving to Spokane, WA, where the typical home sells for $430,000, compared with about $800,000 in Seattle. 

Top 10 Metros Homebuyers Are Leaving, by Net Outflow

Net outflow = Number of Redfin.com home searchers looking to leave a metro area, minus the number of searchers looking to move in

Rank Metro* Net Outflow, August 2023 Net Outflow, August 2022 Portion of Local Users Searching Elsewhere Top Destination Top Out-of-State Destination

 

1 San Francisco, CA 26,900 39,000 24% Sacramento, CA Seattle, WA
2 New York, NY 25,300 23,900 30% Miami, FL Miami, FL
3 Los Angeles, CA 20,200 32,700 19% Las Vegas, NV Las Vegas, NV
4 Washington, D.C.  14,500 18,600 19% Salisbury, MD Salisbury, MD
5 Chicago, IL 5,000 3,900 17% Milwaukee, WI Milwaukee, WI
6 Boston, MA 4,600 10,100 21% Portland, ME Portland, ME
7 Hartford, CT 3,400 750 79% Boston, MA Boston, MA
8 Detroit, MI 2,200 4,800 27% Grand Rapids, MI Cape Coral, FL
9  (tie) Denver, CO 2,100 3,900 35% Chicago, IL Chicago, IL
9 (tie) Seattle, WA 2,100 7,500 19% Spokane, WA Phoenix, AZ
*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users searching to and from the region in June 2023-August 2023

 Below is a map of the most common origins of Redfin.com users who are moving to the Sacramento metro. To view similar maps for the metros in this report and other metros, please visit the area’s Redfin housing market page and scroll down to the “migration” section. 

Map of Sacramento inbound & outbound migration trends

Methodology

Our migration analysis is based on about two million Redfin.com users who viewed for-sale homes online across more than 100 metro areas from June 2023 to August 2023. To measure the share of homebuyers looking to relocate from one metro to another, we calculate the portion of overall home searchers that are migrants. 

A Redfin.com user counts as a migrant if they viewed at least 10 for-sale homes in the relevant three-month period and at least one of those homes was outside their home metro area. For instance, if a Redfin.com user based in Seattle views 10 homes in a three-month period and all of them are in Phoenix, that user counts as a full migrant to Phoenix. If a user based in Seattle views 10 homes in a three-month period and five are in Phoenix but five are in San Diego, that user counts as half of a migrant to Phoenix and half of a migrant to San Diego. If a user based in Seattle views 10 homes in a three-month period, nine in Seattle and one in Phoenix, that user counts as one-tenth of a migrant to Phoenix

The analysis includes combined statistical areas with at least 500 Redfin.com users based in that region and at least 500 users searching for homes in that region. For instance, a user based in Seattle searching for a home in Phoenix counts toward the first condition, a user based in Phoenix searching for a home in Seattle counts toward the second condition, and a user based in Seattle searching for a home in Seattle counts toward both. Redfin’s migration data goes back to 2017.



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