Share of homebuyers looking to move cities hits new high

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Homebuyers have been dropping out of the market. Of the ones who are still in, more are eyeing a cross-city relocation, Redfin data suggests.

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There aren’t a ton of buyers left in the housing market after last year’s mortgage rate spike forced many hopeful homeowners to the sidelines.

But of those who do remain, an unusual number are eyeing a cross-city move, according to a new report from Redfin’s data team.

The Seattle-based real estate website and brokerage business reported Wednesday that more than 1 in 4 buyers in July were looking to relocate — the highest share dating back at least as far as 2017. Back then, only 1 in 6 buyers were considering a cross-metro move, Redfin said in its report.

Still, that doesn’t mean relocations are on the rise. The number of Redfin users looking to move away from their current metro area declined 7 percent over the last year. It’s just a smaller drop than the one that occurred in the number of users who are looking to move within their current metro, which is down 17 percent year over year.

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This trend sheds more light on one component of a housing market in which many potential sellers feel locked in by their ultra-low mortgage rates, which makes it less appealing for the owner to list their current home or buy another one at today’s higher rates.

As more of these “elective” movers dropped out of the market, the remaining pool of buyers started to skew more toward groups who needed to move for various reasons — including moving away from home.

Redfin’s conclusions are based on an analysis of its own website users who viewed home listings in metro areas other than the ones in which they currently reside. Users who look at listings almost exclusively in other metros received the greatest weight in Redfin’s report.

Redfin users were particularly interested in listings in the Las Vegas area. That was the place with the greatest “net inflow” of Redfin user interest, where more people were looking to move in than out. Potential buyers from Los Angeles made up the largest number of users interested in Vegas homes.

Markets in Florida, Texas and Arizona remained among those attracting the most net inbound interest, with more people looking to move in than the number eyeing a departure.

On the other side of the coin, the places where residents were searching for home listings in other cities or states were largely the more expensive metros, such as L.A., the California Bay Area, New York and Chicago.

In Denver, 35 percent of Redfin users were looking to move out of the city, the highest share among the 10 U.S. cities with the highest net migration outflows.

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