Utah's Zillow audience is becoming more local as relocations slow nationwide
People in expensive Western cities make up a shrinking share of searches for Utah homes, an Axios analysis of Zillow data shows.
Driving the news: The people searching for homes in Utah are, increasingly, already here, according to pageview data Zillow shared with Axios, comparing the first quarter of this year to last.
- Of the nation's 100 biggest metro areas, Salt Lake, Ogden and Provo ranked No. 3, 4 and 5, respectively for the growth in the percentage of pageviews that originated in-state.
- Meanwhile, the share of pageviews from other western cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver and Seattle dropped.
Why it matters: Migration into Utah exploded in the past decade, with the bulk of our newcomers coming from big, expensive western cities, according to data released in May by the Kem C. Gardner Institute.
- The sharp shift in search data may be an early sign that migration could taper off in the coming years.
The big picture: Since 2021, there's been an exodus from high-cost tech hubs along the West Coast — including the Bay Area and Seattle — for more affordable mountain states and Texas, says Redfin deputy chief economist Taylor Marr.
Yes, but: "We're seeing a big pullback in migration right now," Marr tells Axios.
- It's simply too expensive for most people to buy right now. Across the U.S., the number of Redfin users searching for homes within their metro is down 18% from a year ago, per a June report.
- Meanwhile, the number of users surfing listings in a new area dropped 7%.
Between the lines: If people are moving right now, it's in search of cheaper housing elsewhere.
The intrigue: Because Zillow did not supply total pageview counts, it's unclear whether the growing share of in-state interest is due to a drop in views from out of state, or an increase from within Utah.
- Median sale prices for Utah homes peaked in April 2022 and haven't returned, according to Redfin data.
- The slight cooling of the housing market may have prompted some potential local buyers to look into upgrading or becoming homeowners after years of rising prices.
What we're watching: Many Utahns have long blamed the influx of West Coasters, especially Californians, for driving up housing prices here. That has at times given way to a general antipathy for our new neighbors.
If migration slows but home prices stay high anyway, it'll be interesting to see whether rural and exurban Utahns start to view the state's metro areas with the kind of hostility now reserved for San Francisco.
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