SF isn’t the only city experiencing a major exodus, according to Zillow’s Mover Report


It’s no secret that San Francisco experienced a major exodus during the pandemic, as many newly released office workers fled the most expensive metropolitan area in the country.

Now, a new report says San Francisco had plenty of company among the big cities that saw significant emigration last year, and sheds more light on the most popular out-of-state destinations for those leaving.

Real estate listing company Zillow released its first Move-In Report on Tuesday as a result of major changes that led to more homeowners and renters moving during the pandemic. A company survey conducted online by Harris Poll found that 11% of Americans moved in the past year, slightly higher than the 9.8% migration rate recorded in 2018-19 by the US Census Bureau. USA

The spike in apartment vacancies and the drop in rental prices during the pandemic in San Francisco are already well documented, although the market has started to recover in recent months. A recent Chronicle report based on people filing U.S. Postal Service address change forms from San Francisco showed that the top 15 destinations for people who departed were all California counties, and the top six were all in the Bay Area.

Zillow’s approach was different: It partnered with North American Van Lines to compile the data for its report. Because the data came from moving companies, Zillow spokesman Matt Kreamer said, it was geared more toward people making large out-of-state moves than local moves.

Kreamer said the company’s search traffic shows that Sacramento is typically the top destination for San Francisco people, and vice versa, but it’s unknown how much of that search volume translates into actual sales or leases.

Zillow’s Mover Report found that among the major metropolitan areas, Chicago had the highest net losses, followed by New York, Los Angeles and San Diego, with San Francisco in the top five. (See table here).

The most popular destination for former San Francisco residents was Seattle. The second relocation spot was Austin, with Portland, Phoenix and Denver completing the top five.

For people leaving San Jose, the number one destination was Austin, followed by Denver at No. 2 and Boulder, Colorado, at No. 3. Charlotte, NC and Fayetteville, Ark., Ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. . .

People from Los Angeles and San Diego chose Dallas-Forth Worth and Phoenix as their top two destinations. Austin and Seattle were also popular cities for former Angelenos and San Diego.

The report found that the metropolitan area with the highest net inbound migration was Phonix, followed by Charlotte, NC, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Sarasota, Fla. (See chart here).

Zillow Senior Economist Jeff Tucker said in the Mover Report that the pandemic accelerated trends that were already beginning in 2018 and 2019, particularly people moving from expensive big cities to cheaper markets.

“The more affordable, mid-size metropolitan areas in the Sun Belt saw significantly more people entering than leaving, especially from larger and more expensive cities further north and on the coasts,” he said. “The pandemic has catalyzed purchases by first-time millennial shoppers, many of whom can now work from anywhere.”

The Zillow Mover Report also found that 31% of respondents have wanted to move for a year or more, and 76% said that emotional factors have prevented them from recovering and moving. But the majority of the moving workers surveyed (80%) said their recent move was worth it, and more than half felt happiness and relief after moving.

The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Zillow from March 10-12, 2021, among 2,005 American adults ages 18 and older, 244 of whom moved last year. Zillow noted that a sampling error could not be calculated because the survey was not based on a probability sample.

Movement data consisted of all inter-subway movements completed by North American Van Lines in the first 11 months of 2020. The data included the origin and destination zip code for each movement.

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