Out-of-state homebuyers are on the rise — especially in these sunny cities

September 4, 2019 - 2 min read

Outside their comfort zone

Homebuyers are increasingly making moves out of state. According to a new analysis, some major metros are seeing nearly six in 10 home shoppers coming from outside the state’s borders.

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Where (and why) homebuyers are moving out of state

According to a new analysis from Realtor.com, Charleston, N.C., is the most popular metro for out-of-state home shoppers. The city saw a whopping 59.8 percent of its home listing views come from out of state last quarter.

Other cities with high shares of out-of-state shoppers were Boise City, Idaho; Honolulu; Columbia, S.C.; and Cape Coral, Fla.

George Ratiu, Realtor.com’s senior economist, says home prices have a lot to do with these cities’ popularity.

“Home prices have risen for seven consecutive years, far outpacing salary growth,” Ratiu said. “Although interest rates are the lowest they have been in three years, cost has become a deal-breaker for many buyers, especially in pricey West Coast metros. But instead of giving up on the American Dream, many buyers have decided to look for a home in medium-sized metros outside their state that offer price relief and a similar lifestyle.”

Homebuyers in these states enjoy the lowest mortgage rates

Baby Boomer homebuyers play a role

The cities also have something else in common: high appeal to retiring Baby Boomers.

“The fact that the majority of the metros on the list are hot spots for retirees signals a shift in Boomer preferences from the expensive cities where they built their careers to the more easy-going feel of vacation communities,” Ratiu said. “Some of them may be initiating the purchase of their retirement home as a second home, while others may be purchasing it in their post-career stage of life.”

Boomers shy away from downsizing, focus on home improvements instead

Out of the most popular 10 cities for out-of-state shoppers, almost 8 percent of home sales are on second homes or vacation properties. This is nearly triple the national average. In Cape Coral, Florida, second homes account for more than 17 percent of all sales.

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Aly J. Yale
Authored By: Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor
Aly J. Yale is a mortgage and real estate writer based in Houston who has contributed to Forbes and worked for organizations such as The Dallas Morning News, PBS, NBC, and Radio Disney.