Seeking Happiness? Then Move, Realty Firm Says

HOUSTON – (By Dale King, Realty News Report) – More than three-quarters of survey respondents say they are quite happy, or at least a little happier, after recently moving to a new home, says a study just released by the Seattle-based Redfin real estate brokerage.

The 83 percent happiness figure includes 54 percent who said they “feel much happier since the move” and another 29 percent who reported feeling “a little bit happier” following the relocation.  Eleven percent reported being less happy, 4 percent said they felt “a little bit less happy after the move” and three percent complained they were “much less happy” after moving into a new dwelling.

Redfin buttressed its main point by quoting one of its Austin-based real estate agents, Debbie Newby, who has seen “an influx of out-of-towners move in during the pandemic.”

“Many of them actually grew up in the area, left for a job and are now able to come back and live near family,” she noted.

“A majority of my buyers today are Texas natives who are thrilled to be coming home,” Newby said. “I recently worked with one young couple who had been living in the Bay Area and working in tech. The wife grew up in Austin and wanted to move back to be closer to her family members, one of whom was ill. They bought a home near Zilker Park in January and are now working remotely. They’re ecstatic to be in Austin.”

Redfin said that while Austin home prices have soared well above the national median during the pandemic, the Texas metro remains more affordable than major coastal hubs, including San Francisco and New York.

This information dovetails with another finding of the Redfin analysis. More than one-third (34 percent) of people who moved during the coronavirus pandemic now live in a home where only one adult has a full-time job. By comparison, just 29 percent lived in a single-income household before the pandemic. This is based on an August 2021 Redfin survey of 1,023 U.S. residents who have relocated to a new address since March 2020.

The analysis states that as the portion of people living in single-income households increased, the share living in dual-income households declined. Slightly more than half (58 percent) of recent movers surveyed by Redfin now live in a home with two adults working a full-time job, down from 62 percent before the COVID epidemic.

“While some people chose to move down to a single-income household, others had no choice,” Redfin Deputy Chief Economist Taylor Marr said. “Thousands of Americans lost their jobs during the pandemic, and scores of parents had to leave the workforce when daycares and schools shut down. Most workers are rethinking where their careers fall on life’s priority list.”

Work-From-Home = A Better House

Remote work during the pandemic also enabled many families to relocate to more affordable places, where it’s often more feasible to live in a home with just one income.

In the third quarter, 30 percent of Redfin clients were hoping to move to a new metro area, up from 26 percent before the pandemic. Among the most popular destinations were Atlanta, San Antonio and Tampa — all metros with median home sale prices below the national level.

“A lot of the families that were able to move down to one income during the pandemic were high earners,” Marr said. “High earners tend to have the flexibility to work remotely, which means it’s easier for them to relocate to a more affordable place where only one adult needs to work full time.”

Lower-wage workers who are still required to show up in person, such as restaurant and grocery staff, are less likely to have the opportunity to move, said the Redfin economist.

He also noted that the pandemic retirement boom “may have also contributed to the increase in the share of single-income households. The pandemic drove more than three million baby boomers into early retirement, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.”

“Most people who move relocate to somewhere less expensive,” Marr said. “Moving tends to make people happier because it means they’re getting more bang for their buck – frequently in the form of additional space, better weather and schools or a shorter commute to their workplace.”

Nov. 18, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021

 For more about Texas real estate, check out the book Houston 2020: America’s Boom Town – An Extreme Close Up  by Ralph Bivins. Available on Amazon  

Houston 2020 Ebook version      

File: Seeking Happiness? Then Move


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