Relocations from San Francisco to Texas and Florida jumped by 32% and 46%, respectively, new research shows.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated migration across the U.S. in 2020 compared to 2019 but particularly from large, urban areas like San Francisco and New York to Sunbelt Metro cities like Austin, Dallas and Charlotte, according to a study published on March 31 from the CBRE real estate group, citing data from the U.S. Postal Service.
"Affordability is a major driver of movement between the high-cost coastal markets and Sun Belt cities," Eric Willett, CBRE Director of Research and author of this research report, told Fox Business. "Cities like Charlotte, Dallas, and Austin have long been the recipient of substantial in-migration from major metropolitan cities, but the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated that flow of people in 2020."
A summary of the study notes that anecdotal evidence suggests many of those "who left these cities may return once the pandemic is over."
An interactive map shows that moves from the San Francisco metro statistical area (MSA) to Texas increased 32.1% from 6,445 address changes in 2019 to 8,114 in 2020. The Dallas-Fort Worth MSA saw a 34.5% increase in transplants out of the San Francisco MSA from 1,966 moves in 2019 to 2,644 in 2020. The Austin MSA saw a 31.9% increase from 2,448 moves from San Francisco in 2019 to 3,230 in 2020.
Moves from San Francisco MSA to Florida similarly increased 46.2% from 2,823 moves in 2019 to 4,126 moves in 2020. The Miami MSA saw a 49.4% increase in San Francisco MSA transplants from 1,190 moves in 2019 to 1,778 in 2020.
Sacramento County, however, saw a 70% increase in the number of move-ins from San Francisco County in 2020, according to the summary.
"Among the 30 largest U.S. metros, Sacramento saw the most improvements in net move-ins compared to last year, much of it from nearby San Francisco," researchers wrote. "In 2020, Sacramento saw a gain of 0.3 per 1,000 residents, a marked improvement from its loss of 3.2 in 2019."
Researchers note, however, that moves out of San Francisco impacted only 1% of the metro area's population, and most moves out of large, urban areas were to other nearby areas.
"Young, affluent and highly educated individuals" led the majority of moves out of urban areas, in part due to the fact that most hold jobs that can be conducted remotely, CBRE found, citing address ZIP code changes compared with demographics data from ESRI LifeMode groups.
"Most LifeMode groups saw minor changes in movement last year. But the demographic cohort characterized as 'Uptown Indiviauls' (young, highly educated urban dwellers) was a significant outlier," researchers noted. "This cohort's propensity to move increased by nearly 10 percentage points in 2020 with four in 10 households changing addresses vs, roughly three in 10 in 2019."
About 135,600 more people left California in 2020 than moved in, according to data from the state’s finance department released in December, marking the third-largest migration loss in the state’s history. Just 21,200 people moved to the state between July 2019 and July 2020.
The 2020 growth rate was 0.05%, down from 0.23% the year prior – marking the slowest growth rate on record.
The median home price in California broke $700,000 for the first time in August 2020 -- a 14.5% increase from August 2019, when the median home price was $617,410, according to the California Association of Realtors.
Meanwhile, the median home price in Texas jumped 12.6% year over year in January -- to $277,900, researchers at Texas A&M's Real Estate Research Center found. Median, single-family home prices in Florida increased 16% from 2019 to $314,900 in 2020, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department.
Several large California companies, including Oracle and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, moved their headquarters to Texas in 2020, and Tesla's Elon Musk moved to Houston in December. Some have dubbed the pattern a "tech exodus" as technology companies allowed employees to work from remote locations.
Tech executives including Palantir Chairman Peter Thiel and former PayPal executive Keith Rabois recently moved to Miami as the city's mayor, Francis Suarez, attempts to court Big Tech players to Southern Florida. Suarez nicknamed Miami "the Capital of Crypto" and "the Capital of Capital" in two separate Tuesday tweets.