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Once Affordable Cities Are Reporting Record Price Gains

Housing Markets

Once Affordable Cities Are Reporting Record Price Gains

Havens of affordability are now tallying record-breaking home price gains as migrating Americans overtake pools of resident buyers

February 22, 2022
Spokane, Washington freeway
Image: Stock.adobe.com

Droves of migrating Americans are testing out new zip codes while working remotely, but a coming-and-going cycle among new arrivals and departures is driving up prices, even in the nation’s most affordable markets. Smaller cities like Spokane, Washington are attracting high-end movers from New York and Los Angeles, who can purchase double the square footage of their old homes at half the price in a less frenzied market, The New York Times reports. 

According to Zillow, a Spokane resident who made the median income could afford roughly two-thirds of the available homes on the market several years ago, but post-pandemic home costs are up 60 percent, pricing out a large segment of the resident population and escalating a pre-existing housing shortage. 

The story plays out locally but is national in scope. It is the story of people leaving high-cost cities because they’ve been priced out or become fed up with how impossible the housing problem seems. Then it becomes the story of a city trying to tame prices by building more housing, followed by the story of neighbors fighting to prevent it, followed by the story of less expensive cities being deluged with buyers from more expensive cities, followed by the less expensive cities descending into the same problems and struggling with the same solutions.

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