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LendingTree Finds the Metros Where Homeowners Most Recently Moved

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The moving process can be difficult, expensive and time-consuming, so many homeowners choose to live in the same place long term. But with the housing market as hot as it has been over the last few years, a large number of homeowners have recently moved.

To determine where homeowners most recently moved into their homes, LendingTree analyzed Census data to find the share of homeowners, in the nation’s 50-largest metropolitan areas, who relocated in 2017 or later.

LendingTree also examined the relationship between how long homeowners have lived in their homes and local home price growth.

Key findings

  • Las Vegas, Phoenix and Jacksonville, Fla., are the metros where the largest share of homeowners moved recently. Across all three metros, an average of 22.5% of homeowners moved in 2017 or later, almost 6 percentage points higher than the national average of 16.6%.
  • Los Angeles, San Jose, Calif., and Pittsburgh are where the fewest homeowners have moved over the past few years. An average of only 11.2% of homeowners across the three metros moved in 2017 or later.
  • In general, metros with a larger share of homeowners who recently moved see home prices appreciate faster than metros where homeowners tend to stay in their homes longer. There is a relatively strong positive correlation between the share of homeowners who moved in 2017 or later and three-year home price growth across the nation’s largest metros. For example, the median home value in the top three metros in LendingTree’s study grew by an average of 26.5% from 2016 to 2019. In the three lowest-ranked metros, the median home value only increased by an average of 16.5% over the same period.
  • Areas where people live in the same house for longer are often, but not always, more expensive. Many metros where people stay put in the same house for longer, like in Los Angeles and San Jose, are home to very expensive real estate. But there are many exceptions — for example, people tend to remain in the same home for longer in areas like Pittsburgh and Buffalo, N.Y., two relatively inexpensive metros.

Metros where the largest share of homeowners moved in 2017 or later

1. Las Vegas

  • % of homeowners who moved in 2017 or later: 23.2%
  • 2019 median home value: $313,100
  • 2016 to 2019, home price appreciation: 33.98%

2. Phoenix

  • % of homeowners who moved in 2017 or later: 22.3%
  • 2019 median home value: $283,500
  • 2016 to 2019, home price appreciation: 22.73%

3. Jacksonville, Fla.

  • % of homeowners who moved in 2017 or later: 21.99%
  • 2019 median home value: $230,100
  • 2016 to 2019, home price appreciation: 22.65%

Metros where the smallest share of homeowners moved in 2017 or later

1. Los Angeles

  • % of homeowners who moved in 2017 or later: 10.5%
  • 2019 median home value: $666,900
  • 2016 to 2019, home price appreciation: 15.34%

2. San Jose, Calif.

  • % of homeowners who moved in 2017 or later: 11.4%
  • 2019 median home value: $1,116,400
  • 2016 to 2019, home price appreciation: 22.43%

3. Pittsburgh

  • % of homeowners who moved in 2017 or later: 11.8%
  • 2019 median home value: $165,900
  • 2016 to 2019, home-value appreciation: 11.64%

How the coronavirus pandemic impacts moving trends for homebuyers and current homeowners

Though there has been some concern that the COVID-19 pandemic will result in a mass exodus of homeowners away from major metropolitan areas, LendingTree research suggests this hasn’t been the case.

Housing markets in most major metros have boomed over the last year, suggesting that not only do people want to keep living in big cities, but they’re also willing to pay top dollar to do so. As a result, in the wake of the pandemic, an even larger share of homeowners will likely have lived in their current homes for less than two years.

For new homebuyers, this trend will probably mean they’ll have to deal with higher home prices when buying a house. And as a result, they’ll likely benefit even more from having a strong credit score and large down payment.
The upward price trends — influenced by large numbers of recent movers — could result in higher real estate taxes for current homeowners. On the positive side, it could also make building home equity easier.

Methodology

The data used in this study comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey with one-year estimates (the latest survey available at the time of publication.)

To calculate home price appreciation, we took the 2019 median home value, subtracted it by the 2016 median home value then divided the difference by the 2016 median home value. Finally, we multiplied that number by 100 to get the value as a percentage.

 

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