27% of Buyers Intend to Relocate
June 26, 2020
A quarter of home buyers say they intend to uproot from where they currently call home. The pandemic has nudged them to look to relocate to smaller metros.
The real estate brokerage Redfin reports that its data of more than 1 million house hunters shows a record 27% of home searchers at its site looking to move to another metro area in April and May.
Similar recent housing reports have indicated an increasing desire among home buyers to leave dense urban areas for more spacious suburbs. A report released last week from realtor.com® showed that more than half of the nation’s 100 largest metros are focusing on the suburbs in those areas. Suburban listing views on realtor.com® in May exceeded those from a year prior. While the migration to the suburbs is not a new trend—it was also showing up prior to the pandemic—it’s accelerating, says Javier Vivas, realtor.com®’s director of economic research.
“After several months of shelter-in-place orders, the desire to have more space and the potential for more people to work remotely are likely two of the factors contributing to the popularity of the burbs,” he says.
Homes in smaller towns are seeing an uptick in listing views. Redfin notes that page views of homes for sale in towns with fewer than 50,000 residents saw traffic rise 87% year over year in May. That is nearly four times the 22% yearly increase in page views of homes in cities with more than 1 million residents.
“While there has been a huge increase in the number of people looking online at homes in small towns, the long-term impact of the pandemic on people actually moving from one part of the country to another remains to be seen,” says Taylor Marr, Redfin’s economist. “People are starting to take the plunge and move away from big, expensive cities, though most of them were probably already considering a lifestyle change. The pandemic and work-from-home opportunities that come with it are accelerating migration patterns that were already in place toward relatively affordable parts of the country. But for many people, the lure of large homes in wide open spaces will be passing a dream fueled by coronavirus-induced isolation.”
New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles showed some of the largest net outflow among Redfin.com users in April and May, which means more people are moving out than moving in. Meanwhile, Phoenix; Sacramento, Calif.; Las Vegas; and Dallas are seeing the highest net inflow of Redfin.com users in April and May. These metros are also relatively less expensive than larger coastal regions.
Updated: July 30, 2021