Nearly 28% of Users Searched For Homes Outside Their Metro in July

Sacramento Was the Most Popular Migration Destination in July, With More Than Half of Home Searches From Buyers Outside the Area

Updated on October 28th, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating the trend of moving from expensive coastal areas like San Francisco and New York to affordable inland places like Sacramento, Phoenix and Las Vegas. Portland, OR is also one of the most popular destinations in July after falling off the list in the second quarter.

Of all users, 27.8% looked to move to another metro area in July 2020, up from 27.4% in the second quarter and 25.2% in July 2019.

The work-from-home culture stemming from the coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating the trend of migration away from expensive coastal cities to more affordable inland areas that has been going on for at least five years.

“People who can work remotely are re-examining where they want to live, and for most of them that means they’re looking at places that are less expensive,” said Veronica Clyatt, a Redfin agent in Pleasanton, CA, located about 40 miles east of San Francisco. “I’ve had buyers drop out of their search in the Bay Area because they’re moving to Sacramento or Texas, and I’ve had people moving over to Pleasanton because it’s less expensive than San Francisco. Everyone wants a bigger house and a bigger yard, and they want to pay less. A lot of people moving away from the Bay Area have had it in the pipeline for awhile, and remote work is accelerating the process.”

The latest migration analysis is based on a sample of more than 1.5 million users who searched for homes across 87 metro areas in the second quarter of 2020, 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.

Sacramento, Phoenix and Las Vegas Are Still the Most Popular Destinations

Sacramento has overtaken Phoenix as the most popular destination for homebuyers looking to move to a different metro area. Sacramento, Phoenix and Las Vegas—all places with a median home price of under $475,000—are perennial hotspots for migrants. Austin and Atlanta round out the top five in terms of net inflow, as they did in the second quarter. A net inflow means more people are looking to move in than leave, and a net outflow means more people are looking to leave than move in.

“It’s a feeding frenzy in Las Vegas right now, with low inventory and tons of interested buyers. We’re seeing mass migration of people from other states moving into Nevada,” said Las Vegas Redfin agent Marco Di Pasqualucci. “The lack of state income tax, warm climate and the relatively low cost of housing—you can buy a nice home for around $300,000—make Las Vegas an attractive place for people looking to move away from expensive areas.”

Portland, OR was one of the 10 most popular destinations in July after dropping off the list in the second quarter, with nearly 20% of searches coming from buyers outside the metro area, up from 17% last year. San Francisco is the number one origin for buyers searching in Portland.

“There have been a lot more people moving from San Francisco to Portland,” said Portland Redfin agent Nicole Arnold. “Most of them are working from home at tech jobs, and they’re realizing they need and want more space. A house in Portland is about half the price as one in San Francisco. Buyers are selling their Bay Area homes and cashing out their equity to move here, where they’re able to live a different lifestyle in a larger home.”

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

RankMetro*Net Inflow†Net Inflow LYPortion of Searches from Users Outside the Metro (July 2020)Portion of Searches from Users Outside the Metro (July 2019)Top OriginTop Out-of-State Origin
1Sacramento, CA8,0704,49750.6%44.5%San Francisco, CAReno, NV
2Phoenix, AZ4,9974,13735.1%34.0%Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
3Las Vegas, NV4,7393,71549.0%46.7%Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
4Austin, TX4,6173,00136.7%33.5%San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
5Atlanta, GA4,2073,53725.8%27.0%New York, NYNew York, NY
6Dallas, TX3,5862,15528.9%24.6%Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
7Tampa, FL2,7942,01155.9%55.2%Orlando, FLNew York, NY
8Nashville, TN2,4661,25336.8%29.3%New York, NYNew York, NY
9Portland, OR2,2451,59019.7%17.1%San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
10Charlotte, NC2,2341,62839.7%40.4%New York, NYNew York, NY

*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users in July 2020
†Negative values indicate a net outflow; among the one million users sampled for this analysis only

People are looking to leave New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles

The top five places with the biggest net outflow in July—New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Chicago—are the same as they were in the second quarter. Expensive coastal areas typically see the highest share of people looking to leave.

Indianapolis, where roughly 36% of local users looked for homes outside their home metro in July, is on the list of places with the biggest net outflow for the first time since we started tracking migration. The most popular destination for people leaving Indianapolis is Chicago, though Chicago is also one of the places home searchers are looking to leave.

“Many of the sellers I work with are relocating to a different state,” said Indianapolis Redfin agent Andrea Ratcliff. “The most common reason is a new job that requires a move to a different area, and some sellers are retired couples who own two homes and have decided to sell their primary residence in Indianapolis and move full time to their vacation home.”

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

RankMetro*Net Outflow†Net Outflow LYPortion of Local Users Searching Elsewhere (July 2020)Portion of Local Users Searching Elsewhere (July 2019)Top DestinationTop Out-of-State Destination
1New York, NY26,58421,69234.2%39.8%Boston, MABoston, MA
2San Francisco, CA26,24717,05223.9%21.1%Sacramento, CASeattle, WA
3Los Angeles, CA12,40510,22616.3%16.4%San Diego, CALas Vegas, NV
4Washington, D.C.8,2985,39613.3%12.0%Salisbury, MDSalisbury, MD
5Chicago, IL4,4153,07311.7%10.8%South Bend, INSouth Bend, IN
6Denver, CO3,8051,98127.1%23.7%Seattle, WASeattle, WA
7Seattle, WA3,6121,18414.2%11.7%Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
8Milwaukee, WI1,33767437.9%39.5%Minneapolis, MNMinneapolis, MN
9Indianapolis, IN79133135.9%30.1%Chicago, ILChicago, IL
10Detroit, MI63220922.4%21.1%Chicago, ILChicago, IL

*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users in July 2020
†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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