Miami is still drawing homebuyers from around the US

by Andrew Morrell

Miami remains one of the top destinations for Americans looking to move elsewhere, according to a recent analysis from Redfin. The online home listing company compiled data from approximately 1 million users who searched for homes for sale on its platform in the first quarter of 2019. From these data, Redfin was able to deduce where prospective homebuyers were looking to move to.

In its analysis, Redfin ranked Miami the fifth-most-searched city among users located outside of the metro area itself. Miami recorded a net inflow of 4,400 Redfin users from somewhere other than Miami, up from about 3,000 at the same time last year. More than 28 percent of searches for Miami home listings were conducted by non-local users, with New York City being the primary location of those users.

For comparison, Phoenix posted the highest net outflow number, with almost 8,000 users from outside the Phoenix area looking for homes on Redfin. But another Florida hotspot for domestic migrants — Tampa — saw the highest percentage of searches from nonresidents. Nearly 56 percent of searches for Tampa-area listings on Redfin came from outside the metro area. Again, New Yorkers made up the largest pool of prospective buyers in Tampa.

Redfin’s search data from Q1 largely mirror conclusions drawn from official census estimates of recent domestic migration patterns. Florida had more domestic in-movers in 2018 than any other state, according to a recent U.S. Census report, while cities and states in the South and West were found to be gaining the most residents from elsewhere. Meanwhile, expensive metros throughout New York and California were found to be losing residents at a high rate, likely exacerbated by recent federal tax code changes. Redfin’s report covering searches conducted in Q1 2019 show these trends holding steady over the last two years. 

“People are feeling more confident about the economy and now feel financially secure enough to make a cross-country move to a metro where their money will go further,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “Homeownership may be out of reach for current residents of San Francisco or New York, but there are plenty of affordable homes and lower taxes in places like Phoenix, Atlanta and Austin.”

Further, the Redfin report pointed out that the six metro areas seeing the most interest from nonresidents (New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Denver) each saw an increase in the number of users searching elsewhere compared to Q1 2018. This may indicate the growing importance of value and affordability for today’s class of homebuyers.

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