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Miami, Sacramento top migration destinations

Florida cities, Miami and Tampa, are in the top 5

Miami, Sacramento, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Tampa were the most popular migration destinations based on net inflow among major U.S. metros in July, according to a new report from Redfin. A net inflow is a measure of how many more Redfin.com home searchers looked to move into a metro compared to those who leave. 

Miami consistently made the top 10 list since Redfin began regularly tracking quarterly migration in 2017 but has never taken the number-one spot until now. It had a net inflow of 7,610 Redfin.com users in July, more than triple the 2,216 it saw a year earlier. Two other Florida metros—Tampa and Cape Coral—were also in the top 10 last month and experienced year-over-year increases in net inflow.

“Miami has always been a melting pot, but the pandemic has brought even more out-of-towners to the area because so many people can now work from wherever they want. Homebuyers are moving here from all over the map—Atlanta, Cincinnati, New York, Columbia, Mexico City, Pittsburgh and Philly, to name a few,” said Miami Redfin real estate agent Milagros Alvarez. “The beaches, warm weather and low taxes are the major draws. Florida has also been much less shut down than other states during the pandemic, which some house hunters see as a positive.”

Table: Top 10 Metros by Net Inflow of Users and Their Top Origins
RankMetro*Net 
Inflow, 
July 
2021
Net 
Inflow, 
July 
2020
Portion of 
Searches from 
Users Outside 
the Metro, July 
2021
Portion of 
Searches from 
Users Outside 
the Metro, July 
2020
Top OriginTop Out-of-
State Origin
1Miami, FL7,6102,21633.8%25.7%New York, NYNew York, NY
2Sacramento, CA6,8688,02943.2%50.5%San Francisco, CAReno, NV
3Phoenix, AZ6,4764,98436.6%35.1%Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
4Las Vegas, NV5,0324,74342.7%49.0%Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
5Tampa, FL4,3152,77848.1%55.9%Orlando, FLWashington, DC
6Austin, TX3,2484,58730.4%36.7%San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
7Atlanta, GA3,1614,18620.5%25.8%New York, NYNew York, NY
8Cape Coral, FL3,1091,79070.7%76.7%Chicago, ILChicago, IL
9San Antonio, TX2,9851,53942.2%42.3%Houston, TXLos Angeles, CA
10San Diego, CA2,903-3628.6%23.3%Los Angeles, CASeattle, WA
*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users in July 2021†Among the two million users sampled for this analysis only‡Negative values indicate a net outflow

While Miami’s climate is a selling point for many homebuyers, it also poses risks. The city is one of the most vulnerable in the world when it comes to damages caused by coastal flooding and storms. More than half (59%) of Miami’s properties face some level of flood risk, according to First Street Foundation’s Flood Factor. Sea levels in Miami-Dade County are projected to rise two feet or more by 2060, threatening to displace many residents. The region also faces extreme heat risk. Still, most clients Alvarez works with don’t see these factors as dealbreakers.

“The homebuyers I talk to rarely mention climate change. Most of them aren’t concerned,” Alvarez said. “A lot of people seem to have this idea that it won’t impact them in their lifetime, so it doesn’t need to be a consideration when buying a home.”

People are leaving New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles

San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C. and Boston saw more survey respondents move away than any other metro areas in July, meaning they had the biggest net outflows. A net outflow is a measure of how many more Redfin.com home searchers looked to leave a metro than move in, out of a sample of 2 million users. 

Big, expensive cities normally lose the most residents. That trend accelerated during the pandemic as remote work gave people the flexibility to leave expensive job centers for relatively affordable places. 

Yet, a handful of the metros that experienced the largest outflows in July saw fewer people leaving than a year earlier—likely because many of the pandemic restrictions that made those places unattractive places to live have now been lifted.

Table: Top 10 Metros by Net Outflow of Users and Their Top Destinations
RankMetro*Net 
Outflow, 
July 
2021
Net 
Outflow, 
July 
2020
Portion of 
Local Users 
Searching 
Elsewhere, 
July 2021
Portion of 
Local Users 
Searching 
Elsewhere, 
July 2020
Top DestinationTop Out-of-State 
Destination
1San Francisco, CA38,68426,28725.2%23.9%Sacramento, CASeattle, WA
2Los Angeles, CA21,93812,46218.0%16.3%San Diego, CAPhoenix, AZ
3New York, NY18,38226,65027.2%34.2%Philadelphia, PAPhiladelphia, PA
4Washington, D.C.11,1618,34315.1%13.3%Salisbury, MDSalisbury, MD
5Boston, MA7,492-21017.2%11.8%Portland, MEPortland, ME
6Chicago, IL3,8184,43912.4%11.7%Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
7Denver, CO3,4463,80627.5%27.1%Chicago, ILChicago, IL
8Seattle, WA2,7973,60614.6%14.2%Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
9Detroit, MI2,49560028.7%22.2%Cleveland, OHCleveland, OH
10Albany, NY1,575-17164.1%36.8%Boston, MABoston, MA
*Combined statistical areas with at least 500 users in July 2021†Among
the two million users sampled for this analysis only‡Negative values indicate a net inflow
Source: Redfin.com

Nationally, Interest in Relocating Declined Slightly in July But Remains Above Pre-Pandemic Levels
Nationwide, 29.8% of Redfin.com users looked to move to a different metro in July, down slightly from 31.1% in the second quarter but up from 27.8% during the same month last year. As housing demand has increasingly outpaced supply, some of the most popular migration destinations have become prohibitively expensive for homebuyers. That may be driving a slight decline in the share of house hunters searching outside their metro, according to Fairweather.

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