Migration Destinations Like Phoenix, Atlanta, Vegas and Austin Keep Attracting Thousands of Homebuyers From Pricey, High-Tax Metros

Updated on December 2nd, 2019
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Two out of every five people searching for homes in Las Vegas were from out of town.

Twenty-five percent of Redfin.com home searchers looked to move to another metro area in the second quarter of 2019, compared to 24 percent during the same period last year. The national share of home-searchers looking to relocate has been at this level—the highest on record—since the fourth quarter of 2018. The latest migration analysis is based on a sample of more than 1 million Redfin.com users who searched for homes across 87 metro areas from April through June.

Moving In – Metros with the Highest Net Inflow of Redfin Users

Phoenix retained the number one spot on the list of metro areas with the highest net inflow of Redfin users in the second quarter. A net inflow means more people are looking to move in than leave, while a net outflow means there are more people looking to leave than people looking to move in.

The share of homebuyers searching in the Phoenix metro area from other metro areas was 33.7 percent in the second quarter, a slight decline from both a year earlier (34.0%) and the first quarter (34.5%).

“Every buyer that I have helped to purchase a home recently has been from out of state,” said Phoenix area Redfin agent Heather Corley. “In addition to the usual interest from California transplants, we’re seeing a lot of buyers coming from Chicago and Seattle, too. Usually the Phoenix housing market slows down going into the summer because of the heat, but we haven’t seen that yet this year.”

Table: Top 10 Metros by Net Inflow of Users and Their Top Origins

RankMetro*Net Inflow 2019 Q2†Net Inflow 2018 Q2Portion of Searches from Users Outside the Metro 2019 Q2Portion of Searches from Users Outside the Metro 2018 Q2Top OriginTop Out-of-State Origin
1Phoenix, AZ8,2086,32533.7%34.0%Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
2Sacramento, CA6,7996,18742.6%39.9%San Francisco, CASeattle, WA
3Atlanta, GA6,1135,13726.6%26.7%New York, NYNew York, NY
4Las Vegas, NV5,6863,79144.4%41.3%Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
5Austin, TX5,4033,24732.8%27.5%San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
6Tampa, FL4,2102,43556.5%43.1%Orlando, FLNew York, NY
7Dallas, TX4,1222,93523.9%22.2%Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
8Miami, FL3,9672,57825.7%24.1%New York, NYNew York, NY
9Boston, MA3,8341,83514.1%12.3%New York, NYNew York, NY
10San Diego, CA3,0132,54823.7%24.1%Los Angeles, CASeattle, WA
*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users in Q2 2019
†Negative values indicate a net outflow; among the one million users sampled for this analysis only

Most of the top migration destinations are relatively affordable metro areas, especially compared to the places from which they are attracting the most new residents. This is the first time that Boston has made it into the top 10 migration destinations. Most of the interest in Boston is coming from New York, which makes sense considering that Boston has similar job opportunities but sales, income, and property taxes that are all considerably lower than New York.
With the exception of Chicago, all of the most common origins for people moving to Phoenix have considerably higher home prices.

Median Home Prices: Phoenix and Top Phoenix Migration Origins, June 2019

Phoenix Migration Origin RankMetro AreaMedian PriceShare of Searches from Metro
Phoenix, AZ$280,00066.3%
1Los Angeles, CA$632,5008.1%
2Seattle, WA$580,0003.9%
3Chicago, IL$267,0002.8%
4San Francisco, CA$1,466,9002.4%
5Denver, CO$425,0001.7%

“Out-of-towners continue to gravitate to Phoenix for all of the quality-of-life benefits our area offers: home affordability, low taxes and cost of living, proximity to California and Mexico beaches, and natural beauty,” said Phoenix area Redfin agent Van Welborn. “Many of the buyers I’m working with are moving from high-cost cities like LA, Seattle, New York and San Diego. Our jobs market is strong as well with Intel, Apple and Honeywell all expanding and attracting workers.”

Moving Out – Metros with the Highest Net Outflow of Redfin Users

The list of metros people most-often looked to leave was once again topped by New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. in the second quarter. Net outflow is defined as the number of people looking to leave the metro minus the number of people looking to move to the metro.

Table: Top 10 Metros by Net Outflow of Users and Their Top Destinations

RankMetro*Net Outflow 2019 Q2Net Outflow 2018 Q2Portion of Local Users Searching Elsewhere 2019 Q2Portion of Local Users Searching Elsewhere 2018 Q2Top DestinationTop Out-of-State Destination
1New York, NY35,8552378839.8%37.2%Boston, MABoston, MA
2San Francisco, CA28,1902733221.0%21.5%Sacramento, CASeattle, WA
3Los Angeles, CA16,1031337816.2%15.5%San Diego, CAPhoenix, AZ
4Washington, D.C.7,985578411.4%10.0%Philadelphia, PAPhiladelphia, PA
5Chicago, IL4,669333510.3%9.1%Phoenix, AZPhoenix, AZ
6Denver, CO4,107300123.6%22.6%Fort Collins, COSeattle, WA
7Milwaukee, WI1,31279638.3%39.1%Chicago, ILChicago, IL
8Houston, TX72934326.4%25.2%Austin, TXLos Angeles, CA
9Detroit, MI55923621.4%21.9%Grand Rapids, MIChicago, IL
10Richmond, VA438-20333.3%28.3%Washington, D.C.Washington, D.C.
*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users in Q2 2019
†Among the one million users sampled for this analysis only

“People are increasingly looking to leave expensive coastal metros like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “Lower mortgage rates have made buying a home more affordable, but not affordable enough for typical homebuyers contending these areas’ sky-high home prices and taxes. The homebuyers who are heading out of town in search of affordability don’t just want to save a few hundred dollars per month, they want to save thousands of dollars per month, and the only way to achieve that kind of cost savings is to move somewhere more affordable.”

Find Your City

Below is an interactive tool to see where people are looking to move and where people are coming from for more than 80 U.S. metros. Find your city by clicking on the drop down menu:

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Senior Data Journalist / Real Estate Analyst

Tim Ellis has been analyzing the real estate market since 2005, and worked at Redfin as a housing market analyst from 2010 through 2013 and again starting in 2018. In his free time, he runs the independently-operated Seattle-area real estate website Seattle Bubble, and produces the "Dispatches from the Multiverse" improvised comedy sci-fi podcast.

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