The average homebuyer who moved out of state in 2020 chose to relocate to areas with larger, more affordable homes, according to data from Zillow. Buyers living in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco decided to move out of state the most in 2020 while Phoenix, Charlotte, Austin, Dallas, and Sarasota, Fla. received the most inbound movement. On average, these long-distance buyers left areas with local home values of $419,344 and moved into areas with average home values of $392,381. These averages match 2019 data as well.
And of the five years of data analyzed, the average size of homes in origin ZIP codes was the largest in 2020 — but so was the average size of homes in destination ZIPs. The difference in size of 33 square feet between homes in origin ZIPs and destination ZIPs — from 1,880 square feet to 1,913 square feet, respectively — is the rough equivalent of adding a decent-sized walk-in closet, pantry or an additional bathroom to a home.
Clearly, it seems the nation’s interstate movers were particularly motivated to get more house for less money in 2020. And most did so in the tried-and-true American way: By moving to the suburbs. In both 2019 and 2020, moves from suburban to suburban ZIPs were the most common — by far. But beginning last year, moves from urban to suburban ZIPs edged out moves from suburban to urban locales as the second-most-common type of move.
Last year’s big change in average home values between origin and destination ZIPs can be explained almost entirely by the rising average home values in origin ZIP codes. Home values in origin ZIPs jumped almost $25,000 from their 2019 averages, while those in destinations stayed roughly flat from 2019, falling just $657. This trend could be partially explained by more movers originating from typically pricier urban ZIP codes — as in 2019, urban ZIP codes in 2020 featured the highest average home values, so more movement out of such ZIP codes would naturally raise the average origin-area home value.