High inflation has homebuyers relocating to more affordable areas in record numbers

Coastal cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Boston are 'seeing early signs of a housing-market slowdown'

A record number of homebuyers are seeking to move to more affordable areas as inflation continues to soar and squeeze already cash-strapped consumers, according to a new report.  

In the first quarter, 32.3% of Redfin.com users nationwide looked to move to a different metro area, according to the real estate brokerage. It's an increase from the 31.5% of users who looked to move during this time last year and the 26% of users during pre-pandemic times.     


According to Redfin, record-low mortgage rates in 2021 coupled with remote work allowed many consumers to relocate. 

Now, "continually increasing home prices–along with quickly rising mortgage rates, which make monthly payments even higher–are adding fuel to the fire," according to Redfin. 

 A sign is displayed outside a house for sale in Pittsburgh, Jan. 4, 2019.  (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File / AP Newsroom)

As a result, pricey coastal cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Boston are "seeing early signs of a housing-market slowdown," according to the brokerage. 

In fact, Redfin said the number of people leaving Seattle "picked up significantly over the last two years," underscoring how the pandemic is changing where people choose to live. 


It's unsurprising given the fact that Seattle, for example, is the eighth-most expensive major metro in the country, behind coastal California, according to Redfin. 

Real estate agent Rosa Arrigo stands in the doorway as Giovani and Nicole Quiroz of Brooklyn, New York visit an open house in West Hempstead, New York on April 18, 2021.  ( (Photo by Raychel Brightman/Newsday RM via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

In February, a typical home in the Seattle area sold for $750,000, which is up 15% compared with a year ago, the brokerage reported. 

"Those soaring home prices, combined with a high concentration of tech jobs–which can typically be done remotely–have encouraged many Seattleites to seek more affordable, sunnier pastures," Redfin said. 

In the first quarter alone, Seattle had a net outflow – which is how many more users looked to leave an area than move in – of nearly 24,000 residents, up from 10,000 in 2021, according to Redfin.