The most popular cities on Redfin for Bay Area residents looking to move away now

The most popular cities on Redfin for Bay Area residents looking to move away now

More than two years into the pandemic, the Bay Area and California continue to see an unprecedented population decline, with outmigration one of the major factors fueling the trend — but where exactly are Bay Area residents looking to move now?

According to this year’s latest migration data from Redfin, most Bay Area users of the real estate listings website have not been searching too far away from home. More than three-quarters of them — 76.3% — have been looking at homes for sale within the region. That mostly tracks with Chronicle analysis of U.S. Postal Service data from 2020 that showed 72% of address changes in the Bay Area were moves to other Bay Area counties.

For the Redfin users who were looking beyond the Bay Area, referred to as “origin leavers,” the biggest draws were other metropolitan areas within the state: Sacramento topped the list, at 20.4%, followed by Los Angeles at 12.5%. This also confirms a trend seen in USPS data from 2020, which showed that despite widespread migration, only a small fraction of Bay Area residents had left the state.

The Redfin data looks at search history on the site for the first quarter of 2022 for the San Jose metro area, which Redfin defines as including San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland.

The numbers for Sacramento make sense, Redfin deputy chief economist Taylor Marr said: California’s capital area offers more affordable homes, but people who move there can “keep ties to the Bay Area” and “come in once a month for meetings” if needed.


The third-most-searched destination outside the Bay Area was Seattle at 5%. Washington’s most populous city has seen the “ripple effects” of people from the Bay Area moving there, Marr said: Local residents have been “priced out at record levels.”

Meanwhile, Seattle looks the way the Bay Area did about eight years ago, he said.

The Bay Area “saw most inbound migration back in 2014,” when many people, both domestically and internationally, were moving here for tech jobs, Marr said. The tide began turning in 2015, he said, as cities including Seattle, Denver, Austin and Portland became more attractive for tech workers.

Outmigration has since accelerated, while the number of people moving to California has decreased, Marr said.

The pandemic and federal policies accelerated those trends, as reflected in California Department of Finance population estimates based on U.S. census data released early this month.