Jul 29, 2023 - Real Estate

D.C. transplants move further from the city

Data: Zillow; Note: Origins include the entire metro area; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Zillow; Note: Origins include the entire metro area; Chart: Axios Visuals

D.C.'s job market still makes it a hot region for transplants, but people want space once they get here, D.C. real estate agent Christine Walker says.

Why it matters: The pandemic has made a lasting impact on where people choose to live.

Zoom in: Roughly 65% of the page views for D.C.-area Zillow listings are from locals, according to first-quarter Zillow data shared with Axios.

  • Outside of the metro, Baltimore and New York are the top origins.
  • Meanwhile, Charlotte and Dallas-Fort Worth fell off the top 10 list, while San Francisco and Miami-Fort Lauderdale climbed the search traffic charts.

Driving the news: Recent census figures show shrinking populations around the D.C. metro. Meanwhile, populations grew in King George (Md.), Frederick (Va.) and Charles (Md.) counties, among others.

What's happening: Transplants relocating to the area want an office, outdoor space and distinct living areas — all of which are easier found in the suburbs, Walker says.

  • Despite suburban sprawl, Walker says demand for housing in the D.C. region is strong because of the robust job market.

"You can go to any happy hour and meet all 50 states," Walker says.

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 region states and Texas, says Redfin deputy chief economist Taylor Marr.

  • On the East Coast, people left New York and headed south to Philly, the Carolinas and Florida, he adds.

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 by 7%.

Between the lines: If people are moving right now, it's in search of cheaper housing elsewhere, Marr says.

The intrigue: Domestic migration has scaled back, but we're seeing a resurgence of immigration, Marr says.

What's next: Growing environmental concerns will start to influence migration patterns, though affordability will likely still be the No. 1 driver, Marr predicts.

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