The City Americans Are Leaving Fastest

Almost no period since the 1980s can match the jump in real estate prices from the start of the pandemic until recently. That is due partly to America’s mobility, as well as to mortgage rates that were extremely low until a few months ago. Not all cities had the same migration pace as Americans sought homes in areas where they wanted to live as a consequence of the work-from-home trend.

Much of the migration was from expensive cities on the coast, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose. Some havens of the rich, where home costs jumped, saw middle-class residents move to places that were more affordable as well. Much of the migration was to inland cities that were viewed as more affordable. Among these were Boise and Memphis.

Interest rates are no longer an incentive for people to find new houses. They have risen from 3% for a 30-year fixed mortgage a year ago to over 5% recently. The financial dynamics of this is to take affordability on a dizzying ride that puts prices of many houses out of reach.

Realtor.com’s recent Stay or Go: The U.S. Metros Where Homeowners Stick Around—and the Ones They Can’t Wait to Leave report highlighted cities where people lived in their homes the longest and those where they stayed for the shortest periods.

Nadia Evangelou, director of real estate research at the National Association of Realtors, noted that “The places where homeowners often stay for the shortest periods are those that are more attractive to out-of-state buyers, or younger and first-time buyers who might be starting their families.”

The cities where people move out of the most quickly are an odd mix in terms of population and location. Colorado Springs tops the list. People own homes there for an extremely short four years and nine months, on average. It is also an expensive city in terms of housing. The median home price for a home for sale is $525,000.

Large cities are also on the list of the top 10 with people leaving the fastest. This includes Atlanta and Phoenix. However, the relatively poor city of Indianapolis makes the list as well.

There is an idiosyncrasy about Colorado Springs. It has a large military base called the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Many members of the military move often from assignment to assignment.

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