Photo by Kyle Kempt on Unsplash

California dreamin’ ain’t what it used to be. During the months of April and May, 15.7 percent of Redfin users in Los Angeles searched for homes outside of America’s second-largest metropolitan area. The city ranked third, behind New York and San Francisco, in the share of people looking to relocate outside its limits.

While the top destination for home searchers in LA was nearby San Diego, when looking outside the state, Angelenos made up 35.2 percent of Redfin web traffic in Las Vegas, 22.7 percent in Phoenix and 14.1 percent in Dallas. These markets have more affordable median home-sale prices, totaling $300,000, $299,900 and $300,000, respectively.

Compared to LA, where the typical home sold for $635,000 in May, income-tax-free Nevada is an attractive option for many buyers. Inland Sun Belt communities offer the warm weather Angelenos are accustomed to without the high cost of living.

It might seem like an increasing number of Redfin users in LA are looking to flee the city, but this percentage is in line with the 16.1 percent of home searchers who were considering relocating during the same period last year.

San Francisco, on the other hand, has seen a 1.4 percent increase year-over-year, as tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google allow their employees to work remotely for the foreseeable future, some indefinitely.

Bay Area users have been perusing homes in Sacramento and Austin, where they make up 72.4 percent and 17.3 percent of searches, respectively. The median home-sale price is $425,100 in California’s state capital and $330,000 in Texas’ — that’s compared to $1.5 million in San Francisco.

“People are starting to take the plunge and move away from big, expensive cities, though most of them were probably already considering a lifestyle change,” said Redfin economist Taylor Marr.

“The pandemic and the work-from-home opportunities that come with it is accelerating migration patterns that were already in place toward relatively affordable parts of the country. But for many people, the lure of large homes in wide open spaces will be a passing dream fueled by coronavirus-induced isolation.”

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