Americans Moving Farther from Metro Areas to Purchase Homes

Washington, DC, November 4, 2022-"The rise of remote work and the ballooning cost of housing in major metro areas are leading Americans to move much farther away when buying a home,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Buyers who purchased homes in the year ended in June moved a median of 50 miles from their previous residences, according to a National Association of Realtors survey released Thursday. That distance is the highest on record in annual data going back to 2005 and follows five straight years in which the median distance moved was constant at 15 miles, NAR said.

“The moving distance likely soared because many employers solidified their in-office requirements, giving some remote workers the certainty to move farther from their offices, said Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of research.

“In mid-2021, ‘people had the freedom and the ability with the low interest rates to say, ‘I’m going to make this move now,’’ Ms. Lautz said.

“Stanton and Donna Zeff had planned to move to Florida when Mr. Zeff retired in about six years. Instead, they decided to make the move sooner because Mr. Zeff can now work remotely as a program manager.

“‘I can do my job out of the office just as well as I can do it in the office,’ he said.

“They sold their home near Dallas in January and recently bought a four-bedroom house in Davenport, Florida, which includes a suite for Mr. Zeff’s mother, who will be moving with them.

“Smaller communities were especially popular with buyers: 48% of home purchases were in small towns and rural areas, a record in data going back to 2003 and up from 32% a year earlier, the NAR survey showed.

“Suburbs are traditionally the most popular destinations for home buyers, but the share of suburban home purchases dropped to 39% from 51% the prior year, according to NAR. Only 10% of purchases were urban areas, down from 13% the year before.”