Residents flee city life for wallet-friendly housing    

When it gets cold, birds flee for warmer weather. When there’s a pandemic, people flee for more space and better weather.

Since last year, people have been leaving large, expensive metropolitan cities, like Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, for more affordable suburbs, according to CoreLogic’s list of the nation’s top metros for residential in-migration and out-migration. Why? The convenience and necessity of doing everything at home — work, school, exercise and entertainment — spurred on homebuyers to upgrade their living and outdoor spaces.

If you’re leaving the city, you have to go somewhere.  Riverside, California; Lakeland, Florida, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina are the top-three destinations for inbound residents, according to CoreLogic’s list.

Why are residents leaving big cities? Former residents of Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco had reasons to relocate prior to COVID-19. It’s expensive to live in a big city. 

Los Angeles County lost 40,036 residents between July 1, 2019 and July 1, 2020, according to Livabl

During the pandemic, reasons for moving varied. United Van Lines provided some data for outbound residents from New York and California in 2020. 

  • 25.26% of New Yorkers left for retirement. 
  • 45.04% of New York residents left with an income of $150,000 or more. 
  • 27.38% that left New York were 65 or older. 
  • 30.65% of California residents left for job-related reasons.
  • 44.86% with an income of $150,000 or more left California. 
  • 25.89% that left California were 55 to 64 years of age. 

Hot cities for ex-big city dwellers

Myrtle Beach, according to the CoreLogic report, is the No.1 destination people moving from other areas. Weather conditions, cost of living, economy are some of reasons why people transplant there. Myrtle Beach topped USA Today’s list of affordable cities in 2019. The article noted that the cost of living was 8.1% less than the national average.    

According to a June market report from the Coastal Carolina Association of REALTORS, the median home sale price exceeded $350,000. That represents a 24% increase from 2020 and the largest year-over-year increase since 1999. 

In March, Riverside saw 3,494 existing single-family houses sold, with a median of $500,000. It’s 22.9% increase over 12 months according to Press Enterprise

In June 2021, Lakeland home prices were up 20.5% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $270,000. On average, homes in Lakeland sell after six days on the market compared to 23 days last year. There were 475 homes sold in June this year, up from 396 homes last year, according to Redfin

Whether it’s about spending more time outdoors, finding affordability or looking for more space to roam, people are likely moving to these destinations to fulfill foundational needs.