City residents looking to move out in record numbers: survey

The brutal real estate market has the grass looking much greener in cheaper locales. 

The combination of rising mortgage rates and sky-high housing prices has US homebuyers seriously considering unprecedented moves to other metro areas. 

A new report from the brokerage Redfin found that a record 33.7 percent of users nationwide were looking to move from one urban center to another last month. That compares with 32.6 percent of users in the second quarter and approximately 26 percent of users pre-pandemic. 

The cherry on top of the financial incentives to swap city size for more affordable home prices is remote work and many Americans’ newfound ability to do their job from just about anywhere.

“We’ve always had a lot of people from the Bay Area and Los Angeles move to San Diego for a better work-life balance and a beachside lifestyle, and it has picked up since remote work became commonplace,” San Diego Redfin agent Jodie Lee said in the report. “This year, I’ve also seen quite a few remote workers move in from places like Seattle and North Carolina because they like the sunny weather and outdoor activities in this area.”

Redfin found that Miami was the No. 1 urban area currently being considered as a more attractive alternative than bigger city denizens — New Yorkers most of all. Next up are Sacramento, then San Diego, followed by Tampa, Las Vegas and, in sixth place, Phoenix. 

redfin survey leaving cities
An influx of high-income newcomers is often bad news for current locals, experts tell the brokerage.
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For current residents of those cities, making it into the top 10 is a dubious honor — and a warning. In a separate survey, Redfin found that influxes of high earners to an area often make it harder for locals to buy real estate. 

“For white-collar workers earning high salaries, remote work is a huge financial boon. It enables them to move from a tech center like San Francisco to a more affordable part of the country like Boise or Salt Lake City, get more home for their money and save some for a rainy day,” Redfin senior economist Sheharyar Bokhari said in the report, out this month.

“It can have the opposite effect on locals in those destinations – especially renters – who are watching from the sidelines as home prices skyrocket while their income stays mostly the same,” Bokhari added.

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