The Typical Income of a Boise Homebuyer is 24% Higher Than Before the Pandemic

The Typical Income of a Boise Homebuyer is 24% Higher Than Before the Pandemic


Homebuyer incomes soared in pandemic boomtowns like Boise, Austin and parts of Florida, largely due to remote workers moving in from pricey job centers. Housing markets in many of those places are now slowing down.

The typical Boise homebuyer earned $98,000 in 2021, up 24.1% from 2019. That’s the biggest homebuyer income increase of the 100 most populous U.S. metros, an uptick caused mostly by remote workers moving in from pricey coastal job centers during the pandemic and intensifying competition.

Boise is followed by several other pandemic-fueled migration hotspots: Austin, a quartet of Florida metros (Cape Coral, North Port, West Palm Beach and Miami), Phoenix, Stockton, CA, Tacoma, WA and Salt Lake City. Income growth was more than double the nationwide average of 6.8% in all of those places.

Top 10 Metros Where Homebuyer Income Grew Most During the Pandemic

Metro areaMedian homebuyer income growth (2019 to 2021)Median homebuyer income (2021)Median home-price growth (December 2019 to December 2021)
Boise, ID24.1%$98,00053%
Austin, TX19.1%$137,00048%
Cape Coral, FL18.5%$96,00048%
North Port, FL18.5%$109,00047%
West Palm Beach, FL17.0%$110,00033%
Miami, FL16.9%$104,00038%
Phoenix, AZ15.9%$95,00048%
Stockton, CA15.3%$113,00034%
Tacoma, WA15.1%$107,00039%
Salt Lake City, UT13.8%$91,00041%

This table shows the top 10 metros where homebuyer incomes grew most from 2019 to 2021. 

This is according to a Redfin analysis of median household incomes for homebuyers who took out a mortgage (it doesn’t include buyers who paid using all cash) in 2019 versus 2021 from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

The outsized income increases in those places–all popular migration destinations–are due largely to relocating remote workers with high hometown salaries. An influx of people moving in also intensified competition for a limited supply of homes, making it so high-income local buyers were most likely to successfully compete with out-of-towners.  Affluent out-of-towners have contributed to rapidly rising home prices in many of those metros, pricing out many local buyers with lower incomes. The average out-of-towner moving to Miami in 2021, for instance, had 25% more to spend on a home than the average local,  and newcomers to Phoenix had 21% more.

Local employers raising wages in these places accounts for part of the increase, though the extent depends on the area. Wages for workers in the private sector (not limited to homebuyers) in Boise, for instance, rose about 17% from 2019 to 2021, and they were up about 5% in Austin.

“For white-collar workers earning high salaries, remote work is a huge financial boon. It enables them to move from a tech center like San Francisco to a more affordable part of the country like Boise or Salt Lake City, get more home for their money and save some for a rainy day,” said Redfin Senior Economist Sheharyar Bokhari. “It can have the opposite effect on locals in those destinations–especially renters–who are watching from the sidelines as home prices skyrocket while their income stays mostly the same.”

“Partly because of soaring home prices, Phoenix and Miami have some of the highest inflation rates in the country,” Bokhari continued. “That will eventually diminish the financial advantage of moving to these places for out of towners. High inflation also cuts into budgets for locals, who are spending more on things like food and fuel and saving less for an eventual down payment.”

All four of the Florida metros, along with Phoenix and Stockton (part of the Sacramento metro), are among the 10 most popular destinations for users moving from one metro to another in the second quarter. Boise and Salt Lake City saw huge upticks in out-of-town homebuyers at the beginning of the pandemic, and Austin was the number-one destination for relocating homebuyers in early 2021.

Home prices shot up over twice as fast as homebuyer incomes in Boise, rising 53% to $485,000 from December 2019 to December 2021. Prices rose 48% in both Austin and Cape Coral. Home-price growth outpaced homebuyer income growth in all 10 metros on this list, with prices rising more than 30% throughout the pandemic in each one. Price growth slowed to about 11% year over year in June in both Boise and Austin as the housing market cools.

Housing markets in pandemic boomtowns are starting to slow

While local incomes rose and home prices skyrocketed in 2021, housing markets in many of those pandemic boomtowns are faltering as high mortgage rates and unsustainable price growth tame demand. Migration into both Austin and Salt Lake City, for instance, has slowed significantly in 2022, largely because out-of-town buyers pushed prices up.

Boise, Austin, Cape Coral, North Port, Phoenix and Tacoma are among the 20 housing markets that cooled fastest in the first half of 2022. And Boise, Cape Coral, North Port, West Palm Beach, Miami, Stockton and Salt Lake City are among the 25 housing markets most susceptible to home-price declines if the U.S. enters a recession. But even though they’re susceptible to a recession-driven downturn, these places are unlikely to see housing-market crashes precisely because homebuyers there have relatively high incomes.

“People are still moving in from California and they still have enough money to buy nice homes in desirable neighborhoods, sometimes with all cash,” said Austin Redfin agent Gabriel Recio. “But the days of homes selling for 25% over asking price with multiple offers are over. Buyers are no longer as eager now that mortgage rates are up and there’s buzz in the air about the slowing housing market. Local buyers–and even buyers coming from out of town–now have a chance to take their time and buy a home at asking price or even under asking price.”

Homebuyer incomes fell in San Francisco

Homebuyer incomes rose during the pandemic in 94 of the 100 most populous U.S. metros.

It fell slightly in San Francisco (-1.5% from 2019 to 2021) and Baton Rouge, LA (-1.2%). It stayed the same in Akron, OH, Des Moines, IA, Louisville, KY and New Haven, CT.

Homebuyer income fell in San Francisco for much the same reason it rose so much in popular migration destinations: Remote workers with high salaries left expensive coastal cities for more affordable areas during the pandemic. San Francisco is the only major metro where the median home price fell year over year in June: It was down 0.5% to $1.58 million.

Dana Anderson

Dana Anderson

As a data journalist at Redfin, Dana Anderson writes about the numbers behind real estate trends. Redfin is a full-service real estate brokerage that uses modern technology to make clients smarter and faster. For more information about working with a Redfin real estate agent to buy or sell a home, visit our Why Redfin page.

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