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Nearly 25% of U.S. homebuyers want to relocate to a new city

With escalating housing costs squeezing out buyers, more people are looking to relocate from big cities to Sun Belt states where homes are cheaper — particularly Florida.

Nearly 25% of the property search queries on online real estate brokerage are for cities where the person doesn’t live, according to the company’s most recent data. That’s up roughly 10% from five years ago.

Out of 100 metro areas examined during the three months ended in October, the following 10 cities had the highest net inflow of property searches on Redfin’s website. Net inflow is the number of people looking to move into a city minus the number of people looking to leave. 

  1. Sacramento, California: 7,800
  2. Las Vegas: 7,100
  3. Miami: 6,700
  4. San Diego: 6,500
  5. Tampa, Florida: 5,600
  6. Phoenix: 4,700
  7. Cape Coral, Florida: 4,600
  8. North Port-Sarasota, Florida: 4,300
  9. Dallas: 3,800
  10. Orlando, Florida: 3,700

By far the most popular relocation choices are in Sun Belt states in the Southwest and Southeast, with half of the top destinations in Florida.

And the majority of those looking to relocate are from large cities, especially San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., and Boston. The following cities had the largest outflow of property searches, according to Redfin’s data:  

  1. San Francisco: 35,800
  2. Los Angeles: 34,100
  3. New York: 22,400
  4. Washington, D.C.: 18,100
  5. Boston: 7,800
  6. Chicago: 7,300
  7. Detroit: 4,200
  8. Denver: 3,400
  9. Seattle: 1,600
  10. Philadelphia: 1,500

To avoid rising housing costs, buyers are choosing Sun Belt metros largely because homes are cheaper than what they’d find in the largest U.S. cities, the study says. For instance, a typical home in Las Vegas costs around $410,000, roughly half of what it would cost in LA.

To measure the share of homebuyers looking to relocate from one metro to another, a person browsing Redfin for properties in another city counts as a migrant. Migrants are given a weighted score based on the share of properties searched in a city where they don’t live. The net inflow rankings were compiled based on the total number of migrants.

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