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The Migration Patterns of Homebuyers

Redfin reports that 26% of home searches were in another metro during Q3 2019—a new all-time high and an increase from last year’s 25%.

Phoenix, Arizona, fell to No. 3 in the rankings for the quarter after two-consecutive quarters of being the metro with the highest new inflow—the share of people looking to move in rather than leave—of Redfin users. Boston, Massachusetts, was the most sought-after metro and had 17.2% of searches from outside the market. New York, New York, was the No. 1 out-of-state originator for Boston. 

“There is a sense here in New York that the sky has been falling for our housing market all year,” said Redfin New York market manager Nick Boniakowski. “People fleeing New York aren’t looking for a rural life, they are fleeing the high costs. Boston presents a slightly more accessible cost of living, while still providing urban quality of life that many desire today. Boston is appealing because it’s close and there are similar employment opportunities.”

Redfin said Boston taking the top spot is “unusual,” as Boston has a median-home price of $490,000. 

“Six of the top-ten migration destinations have median prices below the national median, and only San Diego has a higher median price than Boston. That said, Boston is still relatively affordable, when compared to New York, the metro it is drawing the most people from,” Redfin states. 

Boston’s 17.2% of homebuyer searches is a year-over-year increase from 12% and a jump from 14.1% in Q2 2019. 

Of the top-10 markets for the highest net inflow of users, Tampa Bay, Florida, had the lowest average home price at $235,000. San Diego, California's, average home price of $577,000 was the highest. 

New York; Los Angeles, California; and San Francisco, California once again took home the top spots for highest net outflow—more searches outside of metro than within it. 

“Homebuyers are leaving expensive metros for affordable metros and as a result there are fewer and fewer homes for sale in more affordable parts of the country,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “In San Francisco, for example, inventory has been rising because there aren’t many San Franciscans who can afford the high prices. San Franciscans are moving to Sacramento where homes are much more affordable, and that, combined with a lack of new listings, has caused inventory to decline in Sacramento.”

Hartford, Connecticut, had the highest percentage of users searching outside the metro at 70.8%. 

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.

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