A Record Share of Homebuyers Are Relocating

A Record Share of Homebuyers Are Relocating as Skyrocketing Housing Costs Make Affordable Areas Even More Attractive

  • Nearly one-third (32.3%) of Redfin.com users looked to move away from their hometown in the first quarter, an all-time high. 
  • The number of homebuyers leaving Seattle has increased sixfold since before the pandemic–largely due to remote work and soaring home prices–one factor in the early signs we’re seeing of a housing-market slowdown in Seattle and other pricey coastal metros.
  • The number of homebuyers moving into Miami, the most popular migration destination, has risen just as quickly.

A record 32.3% of Redfin.com users nationwide looked to move to a different metro area in the first quarter. That’s up from 31.5% a year earlier and up significantly from 26% in 2019, before the pandemic. 

Skyrocketing home prices and rising mortgage rates have made relocating to a more affordable area the only viable option for some prospective homebuyers.

Homebuyers are leaving Seattle at a much faster rate than before the pandemic

The number of homebuyers leaving the Seattle area has picked up significantly over the last two years, an apt example of how the pandemic is changing where people choose to live. The typical home in Seattle sold for $750,000 in February (up 15% year over year), making it the eighth-most expensive major metro in the U.S., behind only coastal California. Those soaring home prices, combined with a high concentration of tech jobs–which can typically be done remotely–have encouraged many Seattleites to seek more affordable, sunnier pastures. 

At the same time, would-be homebuyers leaving Seattle is one reason why its housing market is showing early signs of cooling, with a slowdown in the number of buyers contacting Redfin agents in 2022 compared to last year and a year-over-year decline in mortgage applications. 

Seattle had a net outflow of nearly 24,000 residents in the first quarter, up from about 10,000 a year earlier and about 4,000 two years earlier, before the pandemic began. Net outflow is a measure of how many more Redfin.com users looked to leave an area than move in. 

Phoenix is the number-one destination for Redfin.com users leaving Seattle. While Phoenix home prices are up significantly from a year ago, the $456,000 median is still far lower than Seattle’s. 

“I’ve worked with many home sellers recently who are moving to a completely new area,” said Seattle Redfin agent Nicole McCormick. “A lot of them are remote workers–or people who feel confident they’ll be able to get a new job–leaving for sunnier places where they can get more home for their money, like Phoenix or Sacramento. There’s also a pattern of selling and moving to the San Juan Islands, located a few hours away from Seattle. Those people are trading the city for a more rural, outdoorsy lifestyle–but homes are just as expensive.”

Seattle had the fifth-biggest outflow of any major U.S. metro in the first quarter, behind four other expensive coastal job centers: the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.

Top 10 Metros by Net Outflow of Users and Their Top Destinations
Rank Metro* Net Outflow, Q1 2022 Net Outflow, Q1 2021 Portion of Local Users Searching Elsewhere, Q1 2022 Portion of Local Users Searching Elsewhere, Q1 2021 Top Destination Top Out-of-State Destination


1 San Francisco, CA 52,964 40,736 23.7% 23.9% Sacramento, CA Seattle, WA
2 Los Angeles, CA 37,148 28,208 18.6% 18.5% San Diego, CA Phoenix, AZ
3 New York, NY 32,834 48,588 27.7% 35.6% Miami, FL Miami, FL
4 Washington, DC 25,409 16,626 16.7% 14.7% Salisbury, MD Salisbury, MD
5 Seattle, WA 23,867 9,813 18.6% 16.3% Phoenix, AZ Phoenix, AZ
6 Boston, MA 14,173 4,661 18.9% 14.9% Portland, ME Portland, ME
7 Chicago, IL 8,945 9,164 14.1% 13.6% Cape Coral, FL Cape Coral, FL
8 Denver, CO 5,155 8,448 27.9% 30.6% Chicago, IL Chicago, IL
9 Minneapolis, MN 2,967 -619 25.4% 20.8% Chicago, IL Chicago, IL
10 Portland, OR 2,864 -682 18.1% 17.6% Seattle, WA Seattle, WA


*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users in Q1 2022

†Among the two million users sampled for this analysis only

Nearly six times more homebuyers looked to move to Miami in the first quarter than before the pandemic

Miami was the most popular migration destination in the first quarter, unchanged from the second half of 2021. Popularity is measured by net inflow, or how many more Redfin.com users looked to move into an area than leave. Phoenix, Tampa, Sacramento and Las Vegas round out the top five most popular migration destinations. 

Sunny, relatively affordable areas are typically the most popular places for people to move to, a trend that has picked up with the pandemic. Net inflow into all five of the most popular destinations has increased significantly since before the pandemic. 

The number of residents flowing into Miami in the first quarter was up nearly sixfold from two years earlier, and it has almost tripled in Tampa and almost doubled in Sacramento. 

Top 10 Metros by Net Inflow of Users and Their Top Origins
Rank Metro* Net Inflow, Q1 2022 Net Inflow, Q1 2021 Portion of Searches from Users Outside the Metro, Q1 2022 Portion of Searches from Users Outside the Metro, Q1 2021 Top Origin Top Out-of-State Origin


1 Miami, FL 16,480 8,860 34.2% 31.8% New York, NY New York, NY
2 Phoenix, AZ 14,009 12,402 37.2% 38.6% Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles, CA
3 Tampa, FL 11,147 7,585 49.8% 59.8% Orlando, FL New York, NY
4 Sacramento, CA 9,541 8,440 42.1% 47.8% San Francisco, CA Seattle, WA
5 Las Vegas, NV 9,333 10,953 43.7% 52.7% Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles, CA
6 Cape Coral, FL 7,930 6,852 66.2% 76.3% Chicago, IL Chicago, IL
7 North Port, FL 7,402 5,183 66.1% 79.7% Chicago, IL Chicago, IL
8 San Antonio, TX 6,334 3,966 43.9% 47.5% Austin, TX Los Angeles, CA
9 Dallas, TX 6,115 9,174 25.5% 32.8% Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles, CA
10 Atlanta, GA 5,310 8,845 20.1% 26.6% New York, NY New York, NY


*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users in Q1 2022

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


The latest migration analysis is based on a sample of about two million Redfin.com users who searched for homes across more than 100 metro areas in the first quarter, excluding searches unlikely to precede an actual relocation or home purchase. To be included in this dataset, a Redfin.com user must have viewed at least 10 homes in a particular metro area, and homes in that area must have made up at least 80% of the user’s searches. Redfin’s migration data goes back to 2017. We published January and February homebuyer migration data last month; the data in this report covers the entire first quarter (January, February and March). 

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.

Email Dana

Be the first to see the latest real estate news:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

By submitting your email you agree to Redfin’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Scroll to Top