MReport June 2021

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M REPORT | 53 O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST DATA Americans Are Motivated to Move, But Will It Last? It's possible that April's small decline in the share of homebuyers looking to relocate to new metropolitan areas is an early indication that the trend is waning, analysts say. H as the well-document- ed, pandemic-driven desire to migrate into the suburbs from denser urban areas hit its peak? It's possible that April's small decline in the share of home- buyers looking to relocate to new metropolitan areas is an early indication that the trend is waning as more Americans receive COVID-19 vaccinations and return to the office. That said, experts do not have the definitive answer, but offer insights for our consideration. "The swell in relocations may be coming down from its peak, but the share of homebuyers look- ing to relocate to a different area is still well above pre-pandemic levels. Redfin agents in popular destinations say the surge of out-of-towners shows no signs of slowing," said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. "The small decline in April could be the start of a slowdown in the yearlong surge of people moving from one metro to anoth- er, but it could also just be a blip before things pick right back up. The dust has not settled, as there are still a lot of unknowns about what portion of workers will re- turn to the office and how many will pick up and move because they finally have clarity from their employers about whether or how often they can work remotely. Once people know more about their future, we could see another big wave of migration ..." Nationwide, 30.6% of Redfin. com users looked to move to a different metro area in April, down slightly from 31.5% in the first quarter but up from 26% at the same time last year, according to Redfin's reporting. Back in March, Fannie Mae reported that there was wide- spread anecdotal evidence that the pandemic had shifted consumer demand from core city centers to lower-density markets, like the suburbs. "A look at the population of people applying for a mortgage, revealed a clear shift in behavior," wrote Rebecca Meeker for Fannie Mae. Since then, many property data providers have confirmed mortgagees' want to relocate. Redfin's April data show this trend, which shows some signs of slowing, is still strong for certain regions, and that home price is an increasingly significant factor. It seems that sunny, inland metros and sections of Florida are the most desirable destinations for movers this spring. "Phoenix, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Austin, and Atlanta were the most popular destina- tions for users looking to move to a different area in April. That's based on net inflow, which is a measure of how many more home searchers looked to move into a metro than leave, out of a sample of two mil- lion users," reports team Redfin. "Relatively affordable inland metros tend to be the most popular destinations for Redfin. com users searching for homes in a different part of the country, as home searchers leave expensive coastal cities like Los Angeles and New York in favor of places with more affordable, more spacious homes." For all 10 of the top-10 most- moved-to metros, inflow is up from last year during the same period. "I'm still seeing tons of interest from homebuyers outside the area," said Sacramento Redfin agent Andrea White. "Some remote workers living in San Francisco or Silicon Valley are paying more than $3,000 a month to live in very small spaces. When potential buyers look at listings in Sacramento, they realize their big-city rent costs more than a mortgage here. Most of them aren't concerned that competition is intense and home prices are going up because it's an attractive lifestyle move. Employees who have the option to work remotely often decide it's worth the tradeoff to move out of a big city to live in a larger home for less money." She added that she works with house hunters looking in the Sacramento Valley because they're planning for the future. "Some buyers from the Bay Area and Southern California are nearing retirement and want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, and some are planning to have children in the future and they're looking for a more spa- cious home to raise their family."

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