Key Highlights

  • Record 27% of homebuyers looking to relocate to more affordable, less dense areas in Q2 2020
  • According to com, home searches in small towns surging
  • Searchers looking to leave New York, the Bay Area and Los Angeles

The bright lights of the big city have been growing dimmer for a while now but the combination of the COVID pandemic and remote working has made those lights more difficult to see. A record 27% of homebuyers initiated home searches to leave the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City and Los Angeles in Q2 2020, according to

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 Overall, searches for homes in towns with fewer than 50,000 residents were up +87% y/y in May, more than triple the 22% y/y searches for homes in cities with more than 1M residents.

Glenn Kellman, CEO of Redfin, said the affordability crisis in cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York started this yearning to live elsewhere but the COVID pandemic made this yearning a crystal clear reality. Kellman told The New York Times that people …are wary of living in close quarters.” And, because these lookers can work from home, “…a huge percentage of people are now looking further afield.”

Top Metros by Net Outflow of Users in Q2 2020

  1. New York, NY
  2. San Francisco, CA
  3. Los Angeles, CA
  4. Washington DC
  5. Chicago IL
  6. Seattle WA
  7. Denver CO
  8. Boston MA
  9. Milwaukee WI
  10. Bellingham WA

According to Redfin economist Taylor Marr, “People are starting to take the plunge and move away from big, expensive cities…the pandemic and the work-from-home opportunities that come with it (are) accelerating migration patterns that were already in place toward relatively affordable parts of the country.”

So where are these “city-folks” moving?

Top 10 Metros by Net Inflow of Users

  1. Phoenix AZ
  2. Sacramento CA
  3. Las Vegas NV
  4. Atlanta GA
  5. Austin TX
  6. Dallas TX
  7. Tampa FL
  8. Miami FL
  9. Nashville TN
  10. Charlotte NC

Some are even going to suburbs like Montclair NJ, just 1.5 hours from NYC, where their dogs have back yards so their owners don’t have to take them out into city streets 4-5 times a day and risk others’ sneezes and coughs.

Thanks to Redfin, The New York Times and National Public Radio.


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