National property broker Redfin is reporting that half of all U.S. homeowners who moved since the pandemic began said that crime and safety was an important factor in determining where they moved. This includes all those who said it factored "a lot" or was the "most important factor" in their decision.
Among renters, the top issue was cost of living, with 40% rating it an important factor. The data in the report is based on an August 2021 Redfin survey of 1,023 U.S. residents who moved to a new home during the 18 months prior to the survey.
"There are plenty of positive reasons to make a move, but sometimes people move to flee a place where they felt unsafe," said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. "Concerns with crime, especially among homeowners, contributed to a recent increase in migration out of cities and into more suburban and rural areas. Cities historically have been able to attract residents looking for high paying jobs, but now that remote work is ubiquitous, some may have to work on improving safety and other quality of life factors to retain and attract residents. This might be an uphill battle, because as wealthy residents leave, they take tax dollars with them, leaving cities with less resources to address safety concerns for remaining residents."
Long-Distance Movers More Likely to Factor Taxes and Climate Change Into Their Decision
People who moved to a new metro area were more likely than those who stayed local to say that taxes and climate change were issues that factored into their decision of where to move. Nearly a third (32%) of metro-movers said that taxes were a major factor in their choice of where to move, compared to nearly a quarter (24%) of those who stayed in the same metro. Climate change was a major factor for 24% of metro-movers and 19% of those who moved within a metro. With many workers now finding themselves newly mobile thanks to recent expansions of remote work, this could portend a wave of migration inspired by taxes and climate change.