Why so many Americans are moving out of high-cost cities during the epidemic

The latest report shows that despite the lifting of embargoes across the United States, a record number of people are seeking to move out of high-cost cities such as New York and San Francisco.

A street scene in San Francisco, California

Fox News reports that a recent report released by real estate agency Redfin shows that 31.2 percent of Americans searching for property on Redfin’s website in January and February searched for property in cities other than where they live, up from 26.1 percent in the same period last year.

While the number of people seeking to move to other cities has been steadily increasing since the “new crown outbreak,” the January/February rate was the highest since Redfin began tracking the figure in 2017, the report said.

Redfin said the increase in the number of people changing cities may be due to the popularity of telecommuting, which has made the affordability of housing and proximity to friends and family less of a priority for most people when planning to buy a home than the proximity to their workplace.

Redfin’s report shows that net outflows from these cities in January and February were the highest on record, with New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles seeing significant year-over-year increases, and Washington, D.C. and Seattle doubling.

To escape the high cost of living in these cities, people are looking for more affordable properties in neighboring cities. For example, the report shows that Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the most popular destination for New Yorkers to move to; the average sale price of a home in Philadelphia in February was about $238,000, compared to $590,000 in the New York metro area.

Similarly, people looking to move away from San Francisco are targeting nearby Sacramento; the typical Sacramento home sold for $490,000 in February. Los Angeles residents favored San Diego, where a typical home sells for $685,000.

Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said the recent expansion of the “new crown vaccine” across the U.S. and the easing of the embargo and restart of economic activity indicate that the wave of people moving to other cities will continue.

Fairweather also said that as corporate offices reopen to some extent, some of the out-migration is temporary; but for many, the epidemic and teleworking patterns have had the long-term effect of giving them the freedom to choose where they live.