BAM Key Details:

  • Redfin’s latest report shows a drop in homebuyer migration as remote work options decrease and home prices go up in popular migration destinations. 
  • Spokane, WA, made the top 10 list of metros with the highest net inflow for the first time on record as more buyers moved there from Seattle, Los Angeles, and Portland, OR. 
  • Also for the first time on record, Los Angeles, CA, became the number one metro buyers were leaving in November (by net outflow), displacing the Bay Area. 

The cross-market migration boom is officially slowing as fewer Redfin.com users search for homes outside their current metros.

A new report from Redfin shows a decline in the pandemic-fueled migration for November as the share of homebuyers relocating drops for the third straight month to 23.9%, its lowest level in 18 months—down from 24.1% a year ago and from a record high of 26% over the summer. 

Redfin-Migrations-slowing-Nov-2023

Source: Redfin

For buyers who are still relocating, the most popular destinations are still relatively affordable metros like Sacramento, Las Vegas, and Orlando. And for the first time on record, Spokane, WA, reached the top ten list as more buyers in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Portland, OR, moved there to take advantage of its lower home prices. 

Also in November, Los Angeles became the number one metro buyers are moving out of, displacing the Bay Area, which has taken the top spot for more than two years. 

Data for Redfin’s report is based on home searches of roughly two million Redfin.com users viewing for-sale homes across more than 100 metro areas from September to November 2023. 

Read on for the highlights. 

Behind the drop in homebuyer migration

Homebuying slowed in 2023 thanks to record-low housing affordability with the one-two punch of high mortgage rates and record-low inventory driving up home prices. 

Compared to a year ago, 4% fewer Redfin.com users searching for homes in November were looking to move to a different metro, compared to a 3% year-over-year decline in Redfin.com users viewing for-sale homes within their current metro. 

That slightly bigger drop (4% vs 3%) explains why migrating homebuyers account for a smaller share of total Redfin.com home searches. 

That said, as mortgage rates continue to decline, as housing economists expect, that share may increase in the new year. 

For now, we can chalk up that lower share to two key factors:

  • Buyers today have comparatively less flexibility to work remotely as employers (in some industries more than others) call workers back to the office. 
  • Generally speaking, home prices have increased more in top migration destinations compared to pricey coastal metros, making a dent in potential savings for migration-minded homebuyers

Sacramento, for example, has seen a jump in home prices of about 35% since before the pandemic, compared to an 8% increase in Bay Area home prices. 

But even with that, all 10 of the most popular migration destinations—including Sacramento—still have home prices well below those of their most common origin metros. And the share of migrating buyers is still higher than the 19% share from before the pandemic.

Top 10 metros homebuyers are moving into (by net inflow)

For the first time in Redfin’s records (which go back through 2017), Spokane, WA, made the top ten list of popular destinations for migrating homebuyers. 

Landing at #10, Spokane is the second-most populous city in the state of Washington. And compared to the typical Seattle home price of $775,000, Spokane offers a significant discount at $416,000. 

So, it’s hardly surprising the number one origin metro for migrating buyers moving to Spokane is Seattle, followed by Los Angeles and Portland, OR. 

The three most popular metros on the list below—Sacramento, CA; Las Vegas, NV; and North Port, FL—all have relatively affordable home prices, making them attractive options for buyers moving away from pricey job centers like San Francisco and New York City. 

Popularity is based on net inflow. In other words, how many more Redfin.com users are looking to move into a metro than to leave it. 

Top 10 metros homebuyers were moving into (by net inflow) in November 2023:

  1. Sacramento, CA
  2. Las Vegas, NV
  3. North Port–Sarasota, FL
  4. Cape Coral, FL
  5. Salisbury, MD
  6. Myrtle Beach, SC
  7. Orlando. FL
  8. Portland, ME
  9. Nashville, TN
  10. Spokane, WA

Redfin also shared a map of the most common origin metros of Redfin.com users looking to move to Sacramento, CA—the number one migration destination for November 2023. 

Redfin-Sacramento-mirgration-patterns-Nov-2023

Source: Redfin

Top 10 metros homebuyers are leaving (by net outflow)

November 2023 marks the first time Los Angeles, CA, took the number one spot on the list of metros with the highest net outflow—and the first time in more than two years any metro has displaced the Bay Area from that number one spot. 

Net outflow measures how many more Redfin.com users were looking to leave a metro than to move into it. 

The Bay Area dropped to number two on the list, followed by New York at number three. 

Migration from both LA and the Bay Area has slowed down compared to the height of the pandemic when migration peaked with remote workers leaving pricey California metros in search of more affordable housing. 

But compared to the Bay Area, where migration has slowed steadily, Los Angeles has seen its net outflow speed up in recent months. 

The top 10 list of cities with the highest net outflow is dominated by coastal job centers, mainly because these cities are significantly more expensive to live in than popular destination metros. 

For example, the median home sale price in Los Angeles is about double that of Las Vegas, the most common migration destination for buyers leaving LA. 

Top ten cities homebuyers were leaving the most (by net outflow) in November 2023:

  1. Los Angeles, CA
  2. San Francisco, CA
  3. New York, NY
  4. Washington, D.C.
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. Chicago, IL
  7. Boston, MA
  8. Philadelphia, PA
  9. Detroit, MI
  10. Denver, CO

Read the full report for more information.