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Movement out of Expensive California Housing Markets Dominated U.S. Migration Patterns in Early 2017

One in five Redfin users searched for homes outside their metro; Boston, Chicago and Seattle had the most loyal residents

SEATTLE–One in five prospective homebuyers searched mostly for homes outside their current metro area in the first quarter of 2017, according to a report from Redfin (www.redfin.com), the next-generation real estate brokerage. The inaugural Redfin Migration Report, which will be released on a quarterly basis, analyzed a sample of nearly one million Redfin.com users searching for homes across 75 metro areas in the first three months of 2017.

The Redfin Migration Report uses proprietary Redfin data to provide a snapshot of where its users searched for homes in the most recent quarter in order to reveal emerging trends in relocation. The results correlated closely to actual purchases of Redfin home-buying customers made within and across metros. Moving forward, the report will be able to track these trends over time.

Three migratory trends emerged from the first quarter data:

1. Home seekers are leaving the most expensive metro areas, namely in California. Redfin found that some of the most expensive metros had the largest net outflow—the number of local users searching for a home in a different metro minus the number of users from another metro searching for a home in the subject metro. The San Francisco Bay Area topped the list of places with the largest net outflow, followed by New York and Los Angeles. At the state level, California had the largest net outflow.

“Fast-growing coastal cities may be generating the high-paying jobs, but they haven’t created enough budget-friendly housing to keep pace. The price of real estate and desire for homeownership is compelling many to uproot and seek housing in more affordable communities,” said Nela Richardson, Redfin chief economist. “Even a Bay Area family with two solid incomes can struggle to afford a modest home. For many, the only path to homeownership is to pack up and move out.”

Redfin Migration Report, Housing Market, US Migration, California, Puget Sound, Movement2. The South and the Sun Belt are popular destinations for home seekers. Sacramento had the highest net inflow of users from other metro areas. Phoenix, Las Vegas, Dallas and Atlanta were also popular search locations, pulling homebuyers from coastal cities, including many from California.

Among states, Florida and Texas were the most popular destinations for those people looking to migrate away from their home metro last quarter. These states have an attractive combination of warm climates, relative affordability, especially when compared with the most common user origins, and strong local economies and jobs markets.

Redfin Migration Report, Housing Market, US Migration, California, Puget Sound, Movement3. Chicago has the most loyal residents. Chicago topped the list of places where people are looking to buy a new home close to their current location, with 92.5 percent of local users searching only in the Chicago area. Likewise, more than nine out of 10 homebuyers in Boston, Seattle and Nashville searched for properties close to home.

To read the full report, complete with an interactive data map of metro-to-metro migration trends, please visit: https://www.redfin.com/blog/blog/2017/04/movement-out-of-california-driver-of-u-s-migration.html.

About Redfin
Redfin (www.redfin.com) is the next-generation real estate brokerage, combining its own full-service agents with modern technology to redefine real estate in the consumer’s favor. Founded by software engineers, Redfin has the country’s #1 brokerage website and offers a host of online tools to consumers, including the Redfin Estimate, the automated home-value estimate with the industry’s lowest published error rate. Homebuyers and sellers enjoy a full-service, technology-powered experience from Redfin real estate agents, while saving thousands in commissions. Redfin serves more than 80 major metro areas across the U.S. The company has closed more than $40 billion in home sales through 2016.