While many U.S. homeowners refuse to sell their homes in fear of losing their low mortgage rates, nationwide return-to-work policies are motivating one in every 10 home sellers to relocate, according to a new Redfin survey.
Remote work fueled a homebuying boom during the pandemic, but returning to the office wasn’t the most common reason survey respondents cited for moving, despite back-to-office mandates are an emerging cause of relocation.
In Boise, ID, Redfin Premier agent Shauna Pendleton has a pair of clients who are selling their home after only about a year because their Seattle-based employer is requiring them to return to the office. They will likely have to sell at a loss since they bought when home prices were near their peak.
“My sellers both work at the same company, which told them they have to be in the office three days a week or they’ll lose their jobs. They have six months to make the move,” said Pendleton. “They'll probably have to take a $100,000 loss on their home. Their new house in Seattle won’t be anything close to the size of their property in Boise, and their mortgage rate will be much higher.”
Roughly 1 in 5 Respondents Cited Social Views, Taxes, Crime as Reasons for Move
With mortgage rates near the highest level in over two decades, many people aren't selling their homes, meaning some of those who are selling are doing so because they can't afford to wait. The results of Redfin’s survey showed that movers are considering additional factors including climate change and social issues when deciding where to live.
Nearly one in five (19.3%) respondents with plans to sell their home in the next year said they want to relocate to live in a place better aligned with their views on social issues. A similar share cited lower taxes (19%) and concerns about safety/crime (17.9%).
Also notable: one in 10 (10.6%) respondents said they’re planning to move because they’ve dealt with discrimination in their neighborhood. A similar share (8.4%) listed concerns about the impact of climate change on their neighborhood as a reason for relocation.
“Real estate is all about priorities and compromise,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “While a lot of homeowners are staying put, refusing to give up their rock-bottom mortgage rates, some are opting to trade their low rate for a safer neighborhood, lower taxes and/or neighbors with the same political views.”
The desire for more space is the most common factor driving people to relocate, with one-third (33.8%) of respondents citing it as a reason for their move. Next came the desire to be closer to family (22.6%), followed by the desire for a lower cost of living (21.6%).
Many of the people who are moving today want homes that are bigger and less expensive. While those two pursuits may seem contradictory, some house hunters are achieving both by moving somewhere that’s more affordable.
Of course, high mortgage rates are eating away some of the benefit of relocating to a less expensive place, with the average 30-year-fixed mortgage rate now at 7.12%.
Despite record-high mortgage rates and ongoing affordability concerns, the report revealed 616 respondents indicated that they’re still likely to sell their home and move within the next year.
To read the full report, including more data, charts, and methodology, click here.