According to CoreLogic's newly released 2020's Hottest Cities for Homebuyers report, more U.S. 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."
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.