Bend, Boise and Charleston Are Attracting Twice as Many Out-of-Town Homebuyers as Last Year

Bend, Boise and Charleston Are Attracting Twice as Many Out-of-Town Homebuyers as Last Year Amid Pandemic-Fueled Migration


A record 31% of users looked to move to a different metro in January, driven by homebuyers relocating to relatively affordable metro areas.

Nationwide, 30.7% of users looked to move to a different metro in January, up from 25.9% during the same time period last year and the highest share since Redfin started tracking migration in 2017. 

More homebuyers have looked to move from one metro area to another since the onset of the pandemic, with many people who are able to work remotely choosing where to live based on things like affordability, home size and proximity to family instead of commute times. The increase is driven by buyers leaving pricey coastal areas like the Bay Area and Los Angeles in favor of relatively affordable places like Boise, ID and Bend, OR.

The latest migration analysis is based on a sample of more than 2 million users who searched for homes across 87 metro areas in January, excluding searches unlikely to precede an actual relocation or home purchase. To be included in this dataset, a user must have viewed at least 10 homes in a particular metro area, and homes in that area must make up at least 80% of the user’s searches.

The number of homebuyers looking to move to Bend, Boise and Charleston has more than doubled over the last year

Bend had a net inflow of roughly 1,600 users in January, up from 750 in January 2020, before the onset of the pandemic. A net inflow is a measure of how many more home searchers looked to move into a metro than leave out of a sample of 2 million Redfin users. 

Bend is one of 17 metros where net inflow has more than doubled over the last year. Another example is Boise, which had a net inflow of roughly 1,100 users in January, up from 500 the year before. And Charleston had a net inflow of about 1,000, up from 300. Compared to major cities like New York and Los Angeles, those are all relatively affordable areas that offer a slower pace of life and plenty of natural beauty.

Boise has been hot with out-of-towners for the last several years, but the pandemic has pushed people who were on the brink to move here as quickly as possible,” said local Redfin agent Kristin Lopez. “Almost all my buyers are people from California, Washington, Oregon, Texas and Arizona who can work remotely and have kids in online school. There’s an interesting dynamic right now because Boise is still less expensive than places like Seattle or Los Angeles, but migration has caused prices to skyrocket and supply to shrink. Some buyers have been searching for six months and now suddenly they’re priced out.” 

“It makes it hard for locals to buy a home,” Lopez continued. “Local wages haven’t caught up with the appreciation of home prices. And as long as interest rates stay low, I don’t foresee the market slowing down anytime in at least the next year.” 

Bend Redfin agent Amy Mora said the majority of people buying homes in Bend are coming from comparatively expensive West Coast cities like Seattle and San Francisco

“Many of these buyers are benefiting from their companies’ remote work policy and moving to central Oregon because home prices pale in comparison to a place like the Bay Area and Bend offers a simple, outdoor-focused lifestyle,” Mora said. “Out-of-towners are buying both primary and second homes. The prices here have shot up and almost every home for sale is receiving multiple offers. That means some local homebuyers are priced out, but others—especially retirees—are taking advantage of the hot market, selling their home and moving to a more affordable place like Arizona or Nevada.”

Portland, OR, Seattle and the Bay Area were the top origins for homebuyers moving into Bend from out of town, and Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Seattle were the top origins for those moving to Boise. New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago were the top origins for people relocating to Charleston. Although Bend, Boise and Charleston aren’t necessarily inexpensive—the median home-sale price in January was $509,000 in Bend, $420,000 in Boise and $330,000 in Charleston—they are more affordable than the places people are moving from. For instance, the typical home sold for $1.34 million in the San Francisco metro in January, and $725,000 in Los Angeles

Austin, Bakersfield, CA, Honolulu and Miami are also among the places with 100%-plus increases in the number of people looking to move in. To be included in this report, metro areas must have had a net inflow of at least 1,000 users in January. 

Metros with at least a 100% year-over-year increase in users looking to move in, January 2020 to January 2021

Metro areaNet inflow of users (January 2021)Net inflow of users (January 2020)Top three origins (January 2021)
Austin, TX7,9462816Bay Area, Houston, Los Angeles
Bakersfield, CA1,139407Los Angeles, Bay Area, Tampa
Bend, OR1,591755Portland, OR, Bay Area, Seattle
Boise, ID1,058465Los Angeles, Bay Area, Seattle
Cape Coral, FL3,7441370Chicago, Miami, New York
Charleston, SC1,014338New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago
Dallas, TX6,2152499Los Angeles, Bay Area, Seattle
Honolulu, HI1,409634Los Angeles, Bay Area, Seattle
Houston, TX1,85454Los Angeles, Bay Area, New York
Miami, FL4,9631742New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago
North Port, FL2,5221060Chicago, Tampa, New York
Orlando, FL3,1751266Miami, New York, Tampa
Philadelphia, PA1,277600New York, Washington, D.C., Allentown, PA
Portland, ME1,405642Boston, New York, Washington, D.C.
Salisbury, MD1,100201Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York
San Antonio, TX2,198977Houston, Los Angeles, Austin
Tampa, FL4,0361869Orlando, New York, Washington, D.C.

*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users in January 2021

†Negative values indicate a net outflow; among the one million users sampled for this analysis only

Austin, Phoenix and Las Vegas are attracting more out-of-town homebuyers than any other metro

Austin had a bigger net inflow of residents than any other major metro in January. It’s followed by Phoenix, Las Vegas, Dallas and Atlanta. Relatively affordable inland areas like those five are typically the most popular destinations for people relocating. 

The share of home searches from out-of-towners as opposed to locals also increased from last January in nine of the 10 most popular destinations (Atlanta is the exception). Nearly 45% of searches for homes in Austin were from out of town, up from 32.6% a year earlier. 

Top 10 Metros by Net Inflow of Users and Their Top Origins (January 2021)

RankMetro*Net Inflow (January 2021)†Net Inflow (January 2020)Portion of Searches from Users Outside the Metro (January 2021)Portion of Searches from Users Outside the Metro (January 2020)Top OriginTop Out-of-State Origin
1Austin, TX7,9462,81644.9%32.6%San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
2Phoenix, AZ7,3945,10938.9%35.9%Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
3Las Vegas, NV6,7024,04553.4%49.3%Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
4Dallas, TX6,2152,49934.0%27.0%Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
5Atlanta, GA5,5093,67426.8%27.3%New York, NYNew York, NY
6Sacramento, CA5,5063,64548.6%44.9%San Francisco, CAReno, NV
7Miami, FL4,9631,74231.4%26.8%New York, NYNew York, NY
8Tampa, FL4,0361,86959.1%55.9%Orlando, FLNew York, NY
9Cape Coral, FL3,7441,37076.9%75.3%Chicago, ILChicago, IL
10Nashville, TN3,2592,10040.3%36.9%New York, NYNew York, NY

*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users in January 2021

†Negative values indicate a net outflow; among the one million users sampled for this analysis only

San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles are losing more residents than any other metro

San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Seattle topped the list of metros with the biggest net outflow in January. A net outflow means more people are looking to leave than move in. 

Expensive coastal areas typically see the biggest net outflows, a trend that has held steady during the pandemic. 

Net outflow increased from last year in all 10 of the top places people are leaving. Plus, the share of locals searching for homes in other metros as opposed to their home metro increased from last January in nine of the 10 metros people are leaving. The portion of users in New York looking to move away has declined slightly since last year, but that’s likely because a lot of New Yorkers searching for homes elsewhere have already left the metro, so their search origins reflect their current location.

Top 10 Metros by Net Outflow of Users and Their Top Destinations (January 2021)

RankMetro*Net Outflow (January 2021)†Net Outflow (January 2020)Portion of Local Users Searching Elsewhere (January 2021)Portion of Local Users Searching Elsewhere (January 2020)Top DestinationTop Out-of-State Destination
1San Francisco, CA28,38618,45124.7%22.6%Sacramento, CAAustin, TX
2New York, NY26,52817,19733.5%34.8%Philadelphia, PAPhiladelphia, PA
3Los Angeles, CA17,6749,79418.4%16.5%San Diego, CALas Vegas, NV
4Washington, DC10,0514,91514.3%11.6%Salisbury, MDSalisbury, MD
5Seattle, WA6,0102,08816.3%13.2%Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
6Chicago, IL5,9033,23013.2%10.6%Cape Coral, FLCape Coral, FL
7Denver, CO4,4802,09929.8%23.8%Seattle, WASeattle, WA
8Boston, MA2,41485214.4%11.6%Portland, MEPortland, ME
9Milwaukee, WI1,48961242.0%37.6%Chicago, ILChicago, IL
10Indianapolis, IN1,37844243.4%35.1%Chicago, ILChicago, IL

*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users in January 2021

†Among the one million users sampled for this analysis only

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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