The Most Popular Affordable Metros in the U.S.

Key Takeaways:

– Elevated house prices and mortgage rates are influencing migration trends, pushing homebuyers away from expensive coastal metros
– San Antonio, Cincinnati, and Greensboro, NC are the most popular affordable metros for homebuyers looking to relocate
– National median sale price as of January 2024 was over $402,000, prompting people to look for more affordable options
– Redfin analyzed data for metros with median sale prices below $300,000 and positive in-migration, with San Antonio being the most popular choice
– Other affordable metros for homebuyers with a budget under $300,000 include Cincinnati, Harrisburg, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and more
– Affordability and climate concerns are driving migration trends, with the Sun Belt and Rust Belt areas being popular choices
– Climate risks like poor air quality and flooding are influencing migration trends, leading to the creation of “Climate Abandonment Areas”

REDFIN:

Elevated house prices and mortgage rates continue to influence migration trends, pushing homebuyers away from expensive coastal metros. San Antonio, Cincinnati, and Greensboro, NC, emerged as the most popular affordable metros in the country for house hunters looking to relocate. 

As of January 2024, the national median sale price was over $402,000. That’s unaffordable for many potential homebuyers, especially amidst a landscape where dips and jumps in mortgage rates can cause large market fluctuations. So, where are people looking to find houses within their budget? 

Redfin analyzed data for metropolitan areas that have both median sale prices below $300,000 and positive in-migration (more people moving in than out). Out of all the metros that met the criteria, San Antonio emerged as the most popular metro for homebuyers with a budget under $300,000. 

So, if you have a budget below $300,000 and want to move somewhere that’s growing, below are 17 metros that may work for you: 

Metros with median sale prices below $300,000 and positive net inflow

Metro Net Inflow Median Sale Price
San Antonio, TX 2,000 $290,000
Cincinnati, OH 1,300 $255,000
Greensboro, NC 1,300 $273,000
Harrisburg, PA 1,300 $255,000
Cleveland, OH 1,100 $186,000
Pittsburgh, PA 1,100 $195,000
New Orleans, LA 1,000 $268,000
Ocala, FL 1,000 $269,000
Little Rock, AR 900 $227,000
Oklahoma City, OK 900 $253,000
South Bend, IN 800 $200,000
Buffalo, NY 700 $230,000
Mobile, AL 700 $218,000
Tulsa, OK 700 $240,000
El Paso, TX 600 $257,000
Augusta, GA 500 $273,000
Memphis, TN 500 $250,000

Data sourced January 2024. Net inflow is the number of Redfin.com home searchers looking to move into a metro area, minus the number of searchers looking to leave. 

What does this mean?

In general, homebuyers in January looked to move to the center of the country in search of affordability, as low inventory and rising house prices drove people from expensive coastal metros. For some homeowners, moving was a means to maximize affordability and house size  – for others, it was to trade rain and snow for year-round sun. 

Nine metros in our data set are in the Sun Belt, which was a migration hotspot during the pandemic and has since seen spikes based on affordability and climate risks

Another cluster of metros in our data are located in the Rust Belt, which has been an affordable refuge for decades but has become more popular as of late. For example, Upstate New York, on the Eastern edge of the Rust Belt, was recently one of the fastest housing markets in the nation; homes sold in roughly a week. Cincinnati, Harrisburg, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, South Bend, and Buffalo are all considered Rust Belt metros. 

Today, affordability is the primary migration driver for home searchers. However, climate concerns are becoming more relevant, with air pollution emerging as a factor. In fact, roughly 1 million more people moved out of than into U.S. metros with high risks of poor air quality in 2021-2022. Other climate risks, like flooding, aren’t deterring buyers but are influencing migration trends, creating “Climate Abandonment Areas.”

Methodology: Data does not reflect actual moves. Data is instead based on a sample of about two million Redfin.com users who searched for homes across more than 100 metro areas. To be included in this dataset, a Redfin.com user must have viewed at least 10 homes in a three month period. Net inflow rounded to nearest 100; median sale price rounded to nearest $1,000.

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Property Chomp’s Take:

Elevated house prices and mortgage rates continue to influence migration trends, pushing homebuyers away from expensive coastal metros. With the national median sale price now over $402,000, many potential homebuyers are finding it increasingly difficult to afford a home in their desired location. As a result, people are looking for more affordable options in growing metropolitan areas.

According to data analyzed by Redfin, San Antonio, Cincinnati, and Greensboro, NC, have emerged as the most popular affordable metros for homebuyers with a budget under $300,000. These cities offer a combination of lower median sale prices and positive net inflow, meaning more people are moving in than out.

In January 2024, the following metros were identified as popular destinations for homebuyers with a budget below $300,000:

– San Antonio, TX
– Cincinnati, OH
– Greensboro, NC
– Harrisburg, PA
– Cleveland, OH
– Pittsburgh, PA
– New Orleans, LA
– Ocala, FL
– Little Rock, AR
– Oklahoma City, OK
– South Bend, IN
– Buffalo, NY
– Mobile, AL
– Tulsa, OK
– El Paso, TX
– Augusta, GA
– Memphis, TN

These cities offer a mix of affordability, growth potential, and desirable amenities for potential homebuyers. In general, homebuyers are looking to move to the center of the country in search of affordability, as low inventory and rising house prices in coastal metros continue to drive people away.

Climate concerns are also becoming a factor in migration trends, with air pollution and other climate risks influencing where people choose to relocate. Cities in the Sun Belt and Rust Belt are becoming popular destinations for homebuyers looking for affordability and a more favorable climate.

Overall, affordability is the primary driver for migration as homebuyers seek out more affordable options in growing metropolitan areas. Climate concerns are also playing a role in influencing migration trends, with more people considering factors like air quality and climate risks when choosing where to move.

The data analyzed by Redfin is based on a sample of about two million users who searched for homes across various metro areas. The net inflow and median sale price are rounded to the nearest 100 and $1,000, respectively.

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