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Santa Barbara, Louisville and Buffalo Have Soared in Popularity With Out-of-Town Homebuyers Since the Pandemic Began

Photo: Walkscore.com Photo: Walkscore.com

Net inflow—the number of people looking to move in minus the number of people looking to leave—to Santa Barbara increased by 124% over the last year. In Louisville, net inflow increased by 113% and in Buffalo it increased by 107%.

SEATTLE, Washington. November 19, 2020 (Biz Republic) — Santa Barbara has grown the most in popularity with people moving in from out of town over the last year, followed by Louisville, KY and Buffalo, NY, according to a new report from Redfin, the technology-powered real estate brokerage. Net inflow—the number of people looking to move in minus the number of people looking to leave—to Santa Barbara increased by 124% over the last year.

In Louisville, net inflow increased by 113% and in Buffalo it increased by 107%. To determine the places that have grown the most in popularity for migrants, Redfin calculated the increases by analyzing the percent changes in net inflow in the third quarter of 2020 versus the third quarter of 2019, relative to the net inflow in the third quarter of 2020.

Significantly more Redfin.com users looked to move into all three places than leave in the third quarter of 2020, while more Redfin.com users looked to leave than move in during the third quarter of 2019. “Remote work has opened up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to buying a home,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather.

“Many residents of expensive areas like New York or Los Angeles couldn’t manage to afford rent and save for a home at the same time. So it’s no wonder that these folks are looking to buy homes in much more affordable places like Louisville and Little Rock.” The increasing popularity of Louisville, Buffalo and most of the other destinations on the top 10 list like El Paso and Tulsa is likely due in part to their affordability.

But Santa Barbara is an expensive outlier. The typical home in the metro sold for $855,000 in September, well above the $730,000 median in Los Angeles, located about 90 miles south of Santa Barbara and the number one origin for people moving there. “Homebuyers are moving into Santa Barbara and its surrounding beach towns from Los Angeles and San Francisco,” said local Redfin agent John Burdick.

“Santa Barbara has become even more popular since the beginning of the pandemic as remote workers leave dense cities for picturesque places with more open spaces and beaches. Another advantage is that it’s not too far from Los Angeles, so remote workers have the option of commuting one or two days a week when offices open.” Excluding Santa Barbara, all the metros that have grown the most in popularity with out-of-towners are relatively affordable, with median home prices below the national median of $334,000.

The typical home in Louisville sold for $229,000 in September, and in Buffalo it was $190,000. Six of the top 10 are located in the South, and two are in the state of New York. Los Angeles and New York are the number one places Redfin.com users are leaving as they move to the areas growing most in popularity. Los Angeles is not only the number one origin for people looking at homes in the Santa Barbara metro, but it’s also the top origin for people looking in El Paso, Little Rock and Tulsa.

New York City metro is the top origin for people looking in Buffalo and Syracuse, plus Louisville and Greenville, SC. Statewide, both California and New York have seen significant upticks in the number of people looking to leave over the last year, more than any other state. Louisville Redfin agent Danielle Field said the area has experienced an uptick in people moving in from all around the country, including California, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix, Austin, Seattle, and Florida.

A record 29.2% of Redfin.com users looked to move to another metro area in the third quarter, the highest share since Redfin started tracking migration in the beginning of 2017. That’s up from 26.4% in the third quarter of 2019 and 27.4% in the second quarter of this year. The uptick is partly due to the pandemic and the newfound work-from-home culture.

Sacramento was the most popular destination for homebuyers looking to move to a different metro area, with the biggest net inflow of Redfin.com users in the third quarter. It’s followed by Austin, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Atlanta, all relatively affordable areas that are perennially popular for people moving to different metros. More Redfin.com users looked to leave New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Chicago than any other metro.

Expensive urban cities typically top the list of places people are looking to leave. In San Francisco, nearly 25% of local Redfin.com users searched for homes outside their home metro in the third quarter, up from roughly 21% during the same time period last year. The jump is likely due in part to the rise of remote work, particularly for tech employees, that began in the spring when the pandemic hit.