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Neal Templin: Homebuyer migration to 'cheaper' cities shocks the locals

Neal Templin, on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Migrants — be they remote workers, people moving for a new job, or retirees — approach buying a Denver house with a budget of about $880,000 on average. Locals on average are looking to spend about $700,000.

Guess who’s winning the bidding wars that increasingly erupt in the Mile High City?

That trend is playing out across the country as housing shortages, and the resulting sky-high home prices in California, Boston, New York, Seattle and other areas with strong job and wage growth send people looking for more affordable homes. They arrive in what once might have been considered secondary cities — Austin, Boise, Atlanta and Portland, Maine, to name a few — with wads of home equity to invest and a smile on their faces because local prices seem so cheap to them.

Measuring price parameters home shoppers plugged into its website late in 2020, Redfin analyzed homebuying budgets of locals and potential migrants for 34 U.S. cities, and in 31 cases the out-of-towners had notably bigger budgets:

—Nashville: Migrants look to spend $719,488, 48.2% more than locals.

—Atlanta: Migrants look to spend $697,922, 33.4% more than locals.


—Austin: Migrants look to spend $852,276, 32.2% more than locals.

—Charlotte: Migrants look to spend $553,857, 21.3% more than locals.

—Portland, Oregon: Migrants look to spend $758,683, 15.2% more than locals.

Only in three California markets did Redfin find the locals preparing to outspend newcomers shopping for homes in the area: San Francisco, San Jose and Fremont.


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