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Affordable Beach Communities Top the List of Metros with the Highest In-Migration According to the 2020’s Hottest Cities for Homebuyers Report from CoreLogic

Nearly half of the top 15 metros with highest in-migration activity were in Florida while California’s coastal metros had some of the highest out-migration activity


IRVINE, Calif., August 4, 2021CoreLogic, a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, today reveals its analysis of homebuyer migration trends in 2020. According to its 2020’s Hottest Cities for Homebuyers report, more homebuyers moved to affordable, coastal metro areas in Florida like Lakeland and Tampa, as many moved away from large coastal areas like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The report noted that a mix of events during last year’s pandemic that included flexible work policies, low federal interest rates and increased need for financial savings led to a mass migration away from crowded, expensive metro areas. “The pandemic created a perfect recipe for consistently employed Americans,” said Archana Pradhan, CoreLogic’s principal economist. “If it had been any other mix of events, for example, if low housing inventory was coupled with job inflexibility, we wouldn’t have had such a large group of homebuying consumers feeling empowered to make bold moves in their living situations.”

Top Metros for 2020 Residential Migration

Top 5 Out-Migration Metros

Top 5 In-Migration Metros

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL 

San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA 

Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC 

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL


*For the full Top 15 Metros list, download the report.

 The metros that topped the list of highest in-migration activity had similar draws for homebuyers. The report notes that these top metros offer more affordability because of lower costs-per-square-foot, lower property taxes, and no state income taxes. Additionally, warmer, sunnier climates with strong outdoor lifestyle amenities were common in the top 15 metros for in-migration.

Residential Migration Insights

The busiest months for relocation were between April 2020 and December 2020, according to the report. Home loan applications for purchases rose 11% in 2020 compared to 2019. An April 2021 CoreLogic consumer homebuyer study showed an increase in confidence in purchasing power, as well. Ninety percent of U.S. homeowners and renters surveyed said they were somewhat or extremely likely to qualify for a mortgage. Bank loans (38%) and savings (81%) are the primary sources respondents noted they would use to purchase a home. A strong 84% of consumers noted they had been able to save more income to purchase a home due to the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, with nearly half saving 11% or more of their income.

Agent Technology Insights

The report notes that technology played a major role in 2020 homebuying activity. Easy access to virtual meeting spaces, 3D and premium imagery and online customer experiences contributed to the willingness of homebuyers to move to farther away ZIP codes and even across state lines. Scott Little, Executive, Real Estate Solutions at CoreLogic, says agent adoption of its digital marketing tools and online homebuying services rose sharply in 2020. “Agents have benefited from CoreLogic’s integrated digital platforms and marketing services that enable faster, more intuitive ways for their clients to find and sell their dream homes,” Little said. With CoreLogic, agents can provide their clients with everything they need to know about the properties, communities, schools, and local service professionals in areas that were miles away, making big moves across longer distances easier.

“More than half of the homes we sold were to buyers who’d never physically set foot on the property,” said Deneka Waddell, REALTOR®, Holmes Realty Group. “We’ve seen a steady increase in adoption of digital tools over the years, but 2020 really poured fuel on the fire. If you aren’t marketing listings using the latest technology, there’s no way you can compete.”

Residential migration hasn’t slowed, and CoreLogic’s economists and real estate professionals expect to see this activity continue in 2021. To learn more about these residential migration trends, download the full 2020’s Hottest Cities for Homebuyers report here. 

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