The pandemic caused a lot of people to reevaluate how they live and work, and for many, it meant moving into a new home to fit their new needs. While some have thought of this time as a “great reshuffling” across America, recent data from real estate tech company Knock shows that Americans didn’t shuffle too far from home during this time of upheaval.

Almost six out of every 10 pandemic homebuyers moved to a new city within the same state, and often to a less populous city, according to Knock’s findings.

The tech company surveyed about 2,000 U.S. homeowners through market research company HarrisX from April 28 to May 4, 2021. Survey results reflect a sample of U.S. homeowners over the age of 18 that mirror the national population of homeowners, with results weighted for age, gender, region and race/ethnicity.

Younger generations were also more apt to move as a result of the pandemic, according to the survey results. Out of those that chose to move during the pandemic, 58 percent were millennials or Gen Z.

“Almost overnight, our homes took on a whole new meaning,” Knock Co-Founder and CEO Sean Black said in a statement.

Sean Black | Photo credit: Knock

“In addition to where we live, they became where we work, go to school, workout and everything in between. It prompted us to re-evaluate what we want and need our home to be. Although the pandemic may have ignited this trend, it’s not likely to subside anytime soon. People are placing a higher value on where they live, and for many it means putting where they live ahead of being close to the office, especially now that so many have the ability to work remotely, at least part of the time. It also could mean we will see people moving more often, especially as technology helps to simplify the process of buying and selling homes.”

Nearly three-quarters of pandemic homebuyers moved to a new area, and 59 percent moved to a different city in the same state. Almost 40 percent of buyers moved to a city or town with a population of less than 10,000 people.

By contrast, only 54 percent of homebuyers said they had moved to a new area prior to the pandemic, and just 41 percent said they moved to a city within the same state. Similarly, only 29 percent of individuals who had purchased their home before the pandemic lived in a city with less than 10,000 people.

By region, Southerners made up the greatest proportion of pandemic homebuyers, with more than half of pandemic homebuyers residing in the south. Midwesterners and Westerners each made up 19 percent of people who moved and purchased a home during the pandemic, while only 11 percent of pandemic homebuyers were from the Northeast.

Almost one-quarter of homeowners surveyed stated that they plan to buy a new home within the next year, with 49 percent of those homeowners falling into millennial and Gen Z generations. Most buyers planning a move within the next year also plan to relocate (69 percent of homebuyers), and 35 percent of those homebuyers plan to move to a town with less than 10,000 people.

In the long term, Midwesterners and Northeasterners are more likely to relocate out of their regions (70 percent and 67 percent plan to stay in their regions, respectively), while Westerners and Southerners are more likely to stay where they are 86 and 84 percent, respectively, plan to stay put).

Most homebuyers are looking to relocate to California, with 12 percent heading that way. Following California, Florida (11 percent of buyers) and Texas (9 percent of buyers) are the most popular destinations.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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