Americans moved by the millions over the past two years. Several factors contributed. Among these were historically low mortgage rates which fell below 3% for a 30-year fixed interest rate mortgage. (The period has ended as mortgage rates have surged above 5% on the same basis.) Some Americans could also move more easily. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to shutter offices. Same have not reopened. The “work from home economy” has been a factor in relocation. People can live where they want to and not where they have to.
Where did people go? Some left the expensive coastal cities like New York and San Francisco. Many of these wanted more affordable homes. Smaller metros also had a better quality of life. Cities people wanted to move away from tend to be those with expensive housing costs.
To identify the city people cannot wait to leave, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from Realtor.com’s “Here Are the Most Popular Cities for Homebuyers in 2022 – and the Places People Can’t Wait To Leave” report. The report uses search data for 300 of the largest metropolitan areas in the first quarter of 2022 and identifies the percentage of locals looking at listings outside their metro area. Median home listing price for the entire metro area, including smaller towns and suburbs, also came from Realtor.com.
Many of the townspeople are leaving are impermanent by design. These include military towns such as Columbus, Georgia, which is near Fort Benning, and Dover, Delaware, the location of the Dover Air Force Base.
There also tends to be significant turnover in college towns. Among them is Gainesville, Florida, home to the University of Florida, Fort Collins, site of Colorado State University, and South Bend, Indiana, where Notre Dame University is located. An increase in crime has become an issue in Gainesville, and a decline in morale among police is a concern in South Bend.
Cities such as San Jose, California; Seattle; and Washington, D.C., have been hurt by their own success and become too pricey for many. Cities where people flocked to during the pandemic such as Manchester, New Hampshire, and Fargo, North Dakota, have witnessed soaring home prices, becoming unaffordable to many.
The city the most people want to leave is San Jose, California, one of the few cities where median home prices are over $1 million. Here are some details:
- Percentage of locals looking at listings outside of their metro: 86.7%
- Median home listing price: $1,399,000
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