Portland, OR Saw an Increase of Migrants From Expensive West Coast Cities in Q4

Migrants Out of Expensive West Coast Metros Flocked to Portland, Oregon in Q4

Updated on October 3rd, 2020

Meanwhile, affordable stalwarts Phoenix, Sacramento, Las Vegas and Atlanta continued to dominate the list of the top migration destinations.

Twenty-six percent of Redfin.com home searchers looked to move to another metro area in the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to 25% during the same period last year. This ties the all-time high for the national share of home-searchers looking to relocate that was set in the third quarter of 2019. 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 October through December.

Moving In — U.S. Metros Attracting the Most Migrants

Portland, Oregon regained a spot in the top 10 list of metro areas with the highest net inflow of Redfin users, coming in at seventh after falling out of the list in Q1 of 2019. Nashville was also a new addition to the top 10 this month at number 10. San Diego and Charlotte both fell out of the top 10. 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.

Phoenix moved back into the number one spot in the fourth quarter after slipping to third place in the third quarter. Boston’s reign at number one was short-lived: after one quarter at the top it fell to ninth place.

At just $400,000, Portland has one of the most affordable median home prices among major West Coast cities, which makes it an attractive location for inbound residents from other more expensive cities across the west coast such as San Francisco (median price $1.32 million), Seattle ($572,500) and Los Angeles ($649,000).

Origin Metro Median Price, December 2019 Share of Migration to Portland, Q4 2019
San Francisco, CA $1,322,500 27.8%
Seattle, WA $572,500 15.3%
Los Angeles, CA $649,000 13.1%
Eugene, OR $325,000 8.1%
New York, NY $488,000 4.0%
San Diego, CA $581,000 2.7%
Sacramento, CA $410,000 2.3%

“The ability to work remotely is a huge factor in people relocating, especially within the same time zone,” said Portland Redfin agent Megan Warren. “I just met with a homebuyer who is moving here from Oakland in the spring. Working remotely is allowing him to sell his condo in a less desirable part of the Bay Area for over $500,000 and buy a serious upgrade in space, safety, and neighborhood in the Portland area.”

Table: Top 10 Metros by Net Inflow of Users and Their Top Origins
Rank Metro* Net Inflow 2019 Q4 Net Inflow 2018 Q4 Portion of Searches from Users Outside the Metro 2019 Q4 Portion of Searches from Users Outside the Metro 2018 Q4 Top Origin Top Out-of-State Origin
1 Phoenix, AZ 6,509 5,254 33.9% 33.1% Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles, CA
2 Sacramento, CA 5,675 5,988 44.1% 42.3% San Francisco, CA Seattle, WA
3 Las Vegas, NV 5,660 3,178 46.8% 42.0% Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles, CA
4 Atlanta, GA 5,377 4,669 27.2% 26.7% New York, NY New York, NY
5 Austin, TX 4,038 3,029 32.3% 29.4% San Francisco, CA San Francisco, CA
6 Dallas, TX 3,420 2,804 25.6% 24.0% Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles, CA
7 Portland, OR 3,402 4,088 18.6% 20.1% San Francisco, CA San Francisco, CA
8 Tampa, FL 2,904 2,292 53.3% 53.1% Orlando, FL New York, NY
9 Boston, MA 2,874 2,451 13.9% 13.3% New York, NY New York, NY
10 Nashville, TN 2,864 2,371 34.9% 33.2% New York, NY New York, NY
*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users in Q4 2019
†Negative values indicate a net outflow; among the one million users sampled for this analysis only

Moving Out – U.S. Metros Losing the Most Migrants

Some of the most expensive areas in the country dominated the list of metros facing negative migration. New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., were among the cities with the greatest number of people looking to move away in the fourth quarter.

“The current inventory crunch really started building in the fourth quarter, pushing home prices in the expensive coastal cities back up after a slight reprieve earlier in the year,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “As price increases begin to gain steam again in these areas, we’re predicting that migration to more affordable areas will increase, which in turn will begin to drive prices up there, as well.”

Table: Top 10 Metros by Net Outflow of Users and Their Top Destinations
Rank Metro* Net Outflow 2019 Q4 Net Outflow 2018 Q4 Portion of Local Users Searching Elsewhere 2019 Q4 Portion of Local Users Searching Elsewhere 2018 Q4 Top Destination Top Out-of-State Destination
1 San Francisco, CA 28,560 28,973 23.0% 23.4% Sacramento, CA Seattle, WA
2 New York, NY 28,500 22,263 37.1% 35.6% Boston, MA Boston, MA
3 Los Angeles, CA 16,271 14,679 16.6% 16.6% San Diego, CA Phoenix, AZ
4 Washington, D.C. 6,339 5,258 11.1% 10.6% Philadelphia, PA Philadelphia, PA
5 Chicago, IL 3,616 2,477 10.4% 9.4% Phoenix, AZ Phoenix, AZ
6 Denver, CO 3,004 2,558 23.7% 23.8% Seattle, WA Seattle, WA
7 Hartford, CT 1,323 1,057 69.8% 75.9% Boston, MA Boston, MA
8 Milwaukee, WI 1,030 708 38.5% 38.6% Chicago, IL Chicago, IL
9 Houston, TX 558 451 25.8% 26.5% Austin, TX Los Angeles, CA
10 Detroit, MI 524 114 22.1% 20.6% Grand Rapids, MI Chicago, IL
*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users in Q4 2019
†Among the one million users sampled for this analysis only

Find Your City

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


Tim Ellis

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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