1 in 4 Americans Are Looking to Move to Save Money. Here's Where They're Going

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  • Sun Belt cities like Las Vegas, Miami, Tampa, and Phoenix were among the most popular destinations for relocators at the end of 2022.
  • Not surprisingly, the cities people are moving from are on the coasts, which have the highest standard of living and highest average cost for homes.
  • If a home purchase is in your future, put money aside for a down payment and other costs, and research the home-buying process.

These cities might be worth considering.

According to a recent report by Redfin, one in four Americans are looking to move to save money. With the cost of housing becoming increasingly expensive in some of the most popular cities in the U.S., many people are looking for more affordable places to live. So, where exactly are people moving? Let's take a look at the most popular destinations for relocators.

Sun Belt cities reign supreme

It should come as no surprise that Sun Belt cities like Las Vegas, Miami, Tampa, and Phoenix were among the most popular destinations for relocators at the end of 2022. These cities offer plenty of sunshine and lower living costs than their coastal counterparts. These cities also have a lower average home cost, making mortgage payments much more affordable.

The report also found that Sacramento was the No. 1 destination for those looking to relocate, followed by Las Vegas and then Miami. Here are the top 10 metros home buyers are moving to:

Rank Metro* Net Inflow, Q4 2022 Net Inflow, Q4 2021
1 Sacramento, California 5,700 6,600
2 Las Vegas, Nevada 5,400 6,300
3 Miami, Florida 5,300 9,500
4 Tampa, Florida 4,000 6,500
5 Phoenix, Arizona 4,000 8,400
6 Dallas, Texas 3,400 6,700
7 Cape Coral, Florida 3,300 4,700
8 North Port-Sarasota, Florida 2,900 4,500
9 Houston, Texas 2,800 2,100
10 Orlando, Florida 2,800 1,000
Source: redfin.com

Places home buyers are moving away from

The same report also shed light on which places home buyers were moving away from. Not surprisingly, the cities people are leaving have the highest standard of living and highest average home costs. Since mortgage interest rates are almost double what they were a year ago, adding $1,000 more to a mortgage payment for the same home, it's no surprise people are moving away from expensive areas.

With the exception of three cities, seven out of the top 10 are along the coasts, with San Francisco at the top of this list, followed by Los Angeles and then New York City. Cities not on the coasts include Chicago, Denver, and Detroit, which are large northern job centers.

The ranking of places home buyers are moving away from is based on net outflow -- a measure of how many more people are looking to leave a metro than move in -- so it's clear that these cities have become too expensive for some potential home buyers. The study also shows which cities people have been moving to. For example, the top destinations for those moving out of the San Francisco area are Sacramento and Seattle. Here are the top 10 cities people are moving away from.

Rank Metro* Net Outflow, Q4 2022 Net Outflow, Q4 2021 Portion of Local Users Searching Elsewhere Top Destination Top Out-of-State Destination
1 San Francisco, California 26,900 40,000 24% Sacramento, California Seattle, Washington
2 Los Angeles, California 23,100 32,000 20% San Diego, California Las Vegas, Nevada
3 New York, New York 17,600 19,300 27% Miami, Florida Miami, Florida
4 Washington, D.C. 12,900 13,600 18% Virginia Beach, Virginia Virginia Beach, Virginia
5 Chicago, Illinois 6,300 5,200 17% Milwaukee, Wisconsin Milwaukee, Wisconsin
6 Boston, Massachusetts 4,900 8,000 18% Portland, Maine Portland, Maine
7 Denver, Colorado 2,700 3,100 31% Chicago, Illinois Chicago, Illinois
8 Detroit, MI 2,200 1,000 30% Cleveland, Ohio Cleveland, Ohio
9 Seattle, Washington 1,500 15,400 17% Phoenix, Arizona Phoenix, Arizona
10 Hartford, Connecticut 1,500 500 71% Boston, Massachusetts Boston, Massachusetts
Source: redfin.com

It's no secret that high housing costs have been driving relocation decisions across U.S. metros over the past several years. The result is that record numbers of people, many of them first-time home buyers, are flocking toward more affordable Sun Belt cities like Las Vegas, Miami, Tampa, and Phoenix. Skyrocketing housing prices and higher costs of living have pushed many potential home buyers away from larger metropolitan areas such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City. The top cities people are moving to have a lower cost of living, more affordable housing, and tend to be in areas with a better climate.

How can you get ready to buy a home?

Buying a home is a big decision, but it doesn't have to be a stressful one. Here are a few tips:

  • It is important to understand the other expenses of homeownership before taking the plunge.
  • Educate yourself on the home-buying process. Start by reading books or articles (like this one!) on the subject, and then talk to friends or family who have recently bought homes. There's a lot to know, and the more you know, the better off you'll be.
  • Expanding the area you are looking at can also give you more housing types to choose from and maybe the chance to save money.
  • Get your finances in order by getting pre-approved for a mortgage, so you know how much house you can afford.
  • You'll also want to be saving up for a down payment, as well as any other costs associated with buying a home (closing costs, moving costs, etc.).

The housing market is always changing, and prices may continue to be volatile in the future. Doing your research and getting prepared will help you pull the trigger on a home purchase when the right opportunity presents itself.

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