People are always jonesing to move to the big cities, like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. But folks are constantly moving out of those cities, too—in search of bigger homes and perhaps a more laid-back lifestyle. So which metro is the most popular with out-of-towners and has the most locals who are happy to stay put?
Far more buyers are looking for homes in the ultra-affordable Spokane metro area, about four hours inland from Seattle, than are looking to move out of it, according to a recent report from realtor.com’s team of economists. (The metro area includes the surrounding suburbs and small towns.)
“Affordable markets are now attractive to shoppers,” says Javier Vivas, realtor.com’s director of economic research. “They’re frustrated by the fact that they can’t get into a home in more expensive markets.”
The economists looked at the number of listing views on realtor.com in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the third quarter of the year. Then they broke it down by where those views were coming from—inside or outside the metro area. Spokane topped the list with the most listing views from out-of-towners hoping to score a home in the city, and also the fewest listing views by locals looking for a home out of town.
About 36.4% of the Spokane shoppers came from other states, although the majority of potential buyers were based in pricey Seattle. That could be because home prices in the “Lilac City,” as it’s called, were just $290,000 as of Oct. 1, according to realtor.com data. Meanwhile, homes in the Seattle metro area are listed at nearly double that, at $555,050.
The state’s second-largest city boasts an outdoorsy culture with lots of hiking and cycling opportunities, plenty of lakes nearby, and a thriving arts scene. Fun fact: It hosted the World’s Fair in 1974.
“We’re the best-kept secret that’s all of a sudden been discovered,” says local real estate broker Marianne Bornhoft of Windermere Manito. “We have a ton of ski resorts really close by … [and] we have a very warm and welcoming culture.”
Spokane was followed by Deltona, FL, where the median home price in the metro is $287,350; Portland, ME, at $353,550; Charleston, SC, at $368,000; and Boise, ID, at $330,050. Unlike the areas that residents are looking to leave, these markets are still relatively affordable. They’re just under or not too far above the national median of $295,000.
Where are folks dying to move out of?
While folks can’t seem to wait to move into more affordable Spokane, it’s no surprise that aspiring homeowners are looking to get out of the priciest parts of the country.
Nearly 84% of residents in Silicon Valley’s San Jose area were shopping for homes outside of their metro. And why not? They live in the most expensive area in the nation, where the median home price is a whopping $1,099,050. That’s got to hurt. So they’re looking at cheaper California markets such as Sacramento, where the median home price is $449,050; Stockton, at $397,050; and Santa Cruz, at $900,000.
And it’s not just the denizens of Silicon Valley who are poised for flight.
The other top five cities where folks were browsing home listings elsewhere were San Francisco, where metro home prices are a median $899,050; Chicago, at $289,950; Washington, DC, at $437,050; and New York City, at $529,550.