Americans have plenty of must-haves on their real estate lists, including ample outdoor space, walk-in closets, marble countertops, or hi-tech home offices. However, as the political landscape becomes increasingly frayed, buyers and renters are taking more time to consider something else — the laws that will shape their day-to-day experiences in a new locale.
According to Redfin’s latest consumer survey, state abortion laws have become a lynchpin for 15 percent of movers who said they refused to live in a state where abortions are legal and another 12 percent who said they’d only live in a state where abortions are legal. Another 45 percent said they’d “prefer” to live in a state with laws that align with their stance on abortion, while 28 percent said they didn’t care.
“Interest in relocating has soared during the pandemic as remote work has allowed many Americans to prioritize affordability and living near family over proximity to the office,” the report explained. “Texas, where most abortions were recently banned, has been a popular landing spot—especially for people coming from California. Austin, San Antonio and Dallas have all ranked among the top 10 migration destinations in recent months.”
Beyond women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination laws, strong voter protections, and marijuana legalization have become increasingly important for buyers and renters.
Twenty-three percent of movers said they wouldn’t want to live in a state with LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws, which includes access to gender-affirming healthcare for transpeople and workplace and housing rights for LGBTQ people. Another 49 percent said it was important to live in a state with LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws, and 27 percent were ambivalent.
Respondents felt almost as strongly about marijuana legalization, with 46 percent of movers saying they wanted to live in a state where cannabis usage is fully legal for residents older than 21. Twenty-two percent of movers said they don’t want to live in a state where marijuana is fully legal, while 32 percent didn’t care about their state’s approach to legalization.
Although respondents were split about abortion, LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws, and the full legalization of marijuana, they overwhelmingly agreed about voter protections — another hot-button issue in the wake of the 2020 Election and pre-inauguration Capitol insurrection. Fifty-five percent of movers said they wanted to live in a state with strong voter protections, which includes access to vote-by-mail, more polling places, easier absentee voting, and voting rights for felons.
Redfin Deputy Chief Economist Taylor Marr said most movers’ decisions will come down to finances, but politics are playing a larger role in the cities and neighborhoods buyers and renters choose to place their roots.
“People take the politics of a place into consideration when deciding where to move, but the truth of the matter is that other factors including housing affordability and access to jobs and schools take priority,” Marr said in a statement. “Oftentimes this means someone will move from a blue state to a red state (or vice versa), but choose a home in a neighborhood where most people hold the same political views as they do.”