Share of homebuyers seeking to relocate declines again

Are homebuyer migration patterns starting to normalize and resemble pre-pandemic trends? A new statistic from Redfin seems to suggest so.

A report from the national real estate brokerage revealed that 30.2% of homebuyers were looking to move to a different metropolitan area in third-quarter 2021. That’s the lowest percentage in four quarters, down from 31.1% in Q2 2021 and a peak of 31.5% in Q1 2021. Interest in relocating to a new metro fell for the second straight quarter following four straight quarterly gains.

Redfin based its analysis on a sample of about 3.3 million users. To be included in the data, a user must have viewed at least 10 homes in a particular metro area, with homes in that area comprising at least 80% of the user’s searches. If these searches were in a metro area outside of the user’s current residence, the user was counted as considering a move to a new metro.

Despite the recent declines, interest in relocating to a new area remains heightened compared to third-quarter 2020 (when 29.2% of prospective homebuyers showed interest in these moves) and pre-pandemic days (when this share hovered around 26%).

“We expect Americans to continue relocating at a higher rate than they did before the coronavirus pandemic,” said Taylor Marr, Redfin’s deputy chief economist. “As employers fight to retain talent during the ongoing labor shortage, they’ll face mounting pressure to introduce permanent flexible-work policies that will give more workers the option to move where they want.

“We’re also starting to see a resurgence in demand for vacation homes, which could help sustain the relatively high rate of house hunters searching outside their home metro,” Marr added.


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