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More buyers than ever before looked to relocate in July

A report from Redfin found that 33.7% of homebuyers looked to relocate in July

Even as mortgage rates rose and the overall housing market cooled, the share of homebuyers looking to relocate hit an all-time high in July, according to an analysis from Redfin released Thursday.

In July, 33.7% of Redfin.com users looked to move from one metro are to another, up from 32.6% in the first half of the year and 26% prior to the pandemic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, migration within the U.S. rose as remote work flexibility provided Americans with the freedom to move to different areas.

Sun belt destinations, like Miami, Florida, and Sacramento, California, whose popularity skyrocketed during the pandemic, remained at the top of the list in July. Miami had a net inflow of 6,704 people in July, the most of any metro area, while Sacramento came in at second recording a net inflow of 6,550. However, both metros saw a slower pace of migration than a year prior.

San Diego, which ranked as the seventh most popular migration destination in the second quarter, rounded out the top three. This is the metro area’s highest ranking since Redfin started tracking migration data in 2017. Migration into San Diego rose from a net inflow of 2,868 in July 2021 to 5,689 this year. Most of the homebuyers moving into the metro area are coming from Los Angeles and Seattle.

“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,” Jodie Lee, a San Diego-based Redfin agent, said in a statement. “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. San Diego also has a big military presence, and more service members are relocating here now that the cooling market means they have a better chance of getting an offer with a VA loan accepted.”

As San Diego has risen in popularity, Phoenix has fallen, dropping out of the top-three destinations for the first time in months and coming in at sixth. The metro area’s net inflow dropped from 6,510 in July 2021 to 4,853 this past July. Experts attribute this drop in Phoenix’s rapidly rising home prices, which increased 20% year over year to a median of $485,000 in June, well above the national median of $428,000 for the month.

Another top-10 surprise was Portland, Maine, which came in as the ninth most popular migration destination in July, marking its first time in the top-10. The metro’s net inflow rose slightly year over year to 2,582 from 2,544 a year ago. The coastal Maine city is popular with Bostonian’s both relocating and purchasing vacation homes.

Tampa, Las Vegas, North Port, Florida, Cape Coral, Florida and San Antonio, Texas, rounded out the rest of the top 10. The number of people moving to these metros was up from a year ago in all areas except for San Antonio.

On the other end of the spectrum, more homebuyers left the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York in July than any other metro area, the same as the first six months of the year, with Washington, D.C. and Boston rounding out the top five.

Compared to a year ago, the net outflow, or the share of buyers looking to move out of those areas, increased in all areas except for the Bay Area, where outflow slowed. Redfin attributes this to California’s cooling housing market and home prices in San Francisco dropping year over year in June. San Francisco was the only metro area analyzed by Redfin to see a yearly price decline in June.

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