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  • A new survey from Redfin shows one in ten sellers are moving because of return-to-work policies. One in five relocate due to their political views, while others cite taxes, crime, discrimination, and climate change. 

Redfin commissioned a survey (conducted in May and June 2023 by Qualtrics) to assess the top reasons sellers are relocating in today’s market, despite high mortgage rates. 

Based on the answers of the 616 respondents saying they’re likely to sell their home and move in the next year, one in 10 (10.1%) are moving due to back-to-office mandates from employers.

While that’s not the most common reason sellers are relocating, it’s a significant driver behind sellers who find themselves forced to move within a year (or a few) of purchasing their home. 

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. 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.

Shauna Pendleton

Boise, ID Redfin Premier Agent

Around 1 in 5 cited social views, taxes, and crime as reasons for moving

Thanks to mortgage rates hovering near the highest levels reached in more than two decades, far fewer sellers are listing their homes because, for the majority of them, it would mean exchanging their mortgage rate of 5% or less for one higher than 7%

So, in many cases, those who are currently selling are doing so because they don’t have the option of waiting. 

That said, urgent calls back to the office are not the only or even the biggest reason sellers are putting their homes on the market or planning to relocate. Almost one in five (19.3%) plan to move within the next 12 months to a place more in alignment with their views on social issues. 

Other concerns/priorities behind seller relocation include lower taxes (19%) and safety/crime (17.9%). Roughly one in ten (10.6%) said they planned to move because they’ve experienced discrimination in their neighborhood. And 8.4% indicated concern about the impact of climate change on their area as a factor behind their plans to relocate.

Real estate is all about priorities and compromise. 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.

Daryl Fairweather

Redfin Chief Economist

One-third of respondents (33.8%) indicated a desire for more space as a reason for moving, making it the most common driver behind relocation. After that came a desire to live closer to family (22.6%) and a desire for a more affordable cost of living (21.6%). 

Redfin-Desire-for-space-most-common-reasons-sellers-are-moving

Source: Redfin

Many of those moving or planning to move today are looking for larger homes with smaller price tags. And in some markets, that’s not an impossible ask. That said, today’s mortgage rates are definitely taking a bite out of any savings achieved by relocating to more affordable markets. 

Takeaways for real estate agents

Knowing the reasons behind a client’s decision to move is part of building a relationship with them; taking the time to learn their why increases your investment in helping them get the best possible outcome, even in a difficult market. 

Be the agent who’s willing to go above and beyond to let your clients know you see them and will do everything in your power to make this their best move yet, even if it wasn’t their idea to begin with.