March 7, 2023

10 min read

Thousands of Homeowners Left New York in 2022, Where Did They Go?

Executive Summary

What are the most important factors one considers when buying a home? Location, size, price and age are at the top of the home top most lists. However, context is important when answering this question.  For example the criteria changes if you are buying a first “starter” home vs a “forever” home, or if you are selling your home to move across the country.

Real estate markets today are more dynamic and rapidly changing than ever before. With market segments shifting over 10% quarter over quarter, it's important to keep up with the latest data to make informed decisions. The most common method of tracking moves across the country are via search results on listing platforms, which is an educated guess at best.

However at Parcl Labs, using our proprietary real-time real estate data, we are able to track exact moves for home sales and purchases in real time at the specific property level. We applied this methodology to the New York Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) to find homeowners who sold their NY homes in 2021, and moved elsewhere in 2022 and to understand why.

Here are some major insights from our analysis:

  • Tens of thousands of people moved out of the New York MSA to hundreds of MSAs around the country in 2022; Chicago was the most common destination MSA and the Southwest was the most common destination region
  • In 2022, the median price per square foot of real estate in the New York MSA was $337, pricier than all but two of the top destinations for movers who left the metro area last year
  • The median age of homes in the New York MSA is 63 years old, older than all but two markets that movers preferred in 2022
  • The unemployment rate in the New York MSA was 6.49% in 2021, higher than all but three top destination MSAs

10s of Thousands of Homeowners Left New York in 2022

According to our home migration data, 10s of thousands of homeowners moved out of the New York MSA last year to hundreds of MSAs around the country. All US MSAs that homeowners moved to from New York are in the map below:

Additionally, the 10 most common metropolitan areas (MSAs) people moved to last year from New York were:

  1. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
  2. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
  3. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
  4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
  5. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
  6. Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ
  7. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA
  8. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
  9. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
  10. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

According to our analysis, the most common metropolitan area people moved to from New York last year was Chicago. However when looking at regions, the Southwest was the most popular destination with the Los Angeles, Riverside, and Phoenix MSAs all cracking the top 10.

Why Do People Move Out of New York?

We tracked tens of thousands of moves last year from the NY MSA to hundreds of MSAs around the country. A move was defined as those who had sold a home in the NY MSA in 2021, and bought elsewhere in the US in 2022.

According to a 2022 study by moveBuddha, two top reasons people leave New York City are unemployment or underemployment and high cost of living. In this blog we look into these top reasons, along with leveraging our real estate data to examine other trends around home size and age.

Unemployment or Underemployment

One of the top reasons people give for leaving New York City is unemployment or underemployment. A common narrative is when businesses closed or reduced their workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it had an outsized effect on New Yorkers. The high cost of living in the city can make it difficult for those who are unemployed to make ends meet and As a result, many are leaving the city to find work elsewhere. We leverage Parcl Labs demographic data to investigate if the state of affairs in 2021 contributed to home sales that same year:

Unemployment rates peaked in the second quarter of 2020 across the US, and started to stabilize in some areas more quickly than other. Compared to top destinations, the New York MSA had a higher unemployment rate in 2021 than all but three MSAs.

However, while unemployment remained relatively high in the New York MSA compared to the rest of the country, the median income in the MSA remained high as well with the third highest median income when compared to top destination MSAs. Notably in 2021, the Washington DC metro area had the highest median income and lowest unemployment rate.

High Cost of Living

The cost of living in New York City is notoriously high, and in a post pandemic world of remote work, an increasing number of people may be choosing to leave high cost city living behind.

At a median price of $337 per square foot of real estate in 2022, the New York MSA was pricier than all but two of the top destinations for movers who left the metro area last year. Only Boston and Los Angeles were more expensive. It’s possible that homeowners are moving to these areas seeking more affordability. However while home prices skyrocketed across the country last year, New York prices did not appreciate as much as some of the top destinations.

Tampa home prices appreciated twice as much as New York homes last year, with New York being in the bottom half of these top destination metros in terms of home price appreciation in 2022. While New York was still the third priciest metro area on this list in 2022, this could cause problems in the future for those who look to move in the future.

Home Size and Age

In addition to high rents, New York City apartments are notoriously small. People could be finding it difficult to live in small spaces, especially with a larger percentage of the population working from home.

At 1637 square feet, New York MSA home sales was in the middle of the pack of size of home sold last year. Surprisingly homes on median were larger in New York than Los Angeles, Tampa and Miami. It could be that the reputation of small apartment rentals does not extend to single family homes and condos.

New York is also an older market than most of the top destinations on our list. It is possible that movers are looking for an upgrade and would like to get newer amenities at a lower cost.

The median age of homes sold in the New York MSA is 63 years old, compared to only 25 in somewhere like Phoenix. New York is the third oldest market on our list, younger than only homes sold in Detroit and Philadelphia. Older homes can come with a litany of problems and costly upgrades, making this a possible reason for movers who left the area in 2022.

Our analysis of Parcl Labs real-time real estate data shows that people could be leaving the New York MSA for many reasons, including unemployment/underemployment, high cost of living, age of home and home size. While Chicago was the most common destination MSA for movers, regionally the Southwest was the most popular place for those seeking greener pastures. As the real estate market continues to rapidly change, it's important to keep up with the latest data available at Parcl Labs to make informed decisions.

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