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Bay Area transplants no longer buying up all the Seattle homes

Among the many boogeymen that Seattleites have looked to blame during the housing boom that’s seen prices skyrocket and inventory shrink to record lows, transplanted Bay Area tech works have been chief among them

Among the many boogeymen that Seattleites have looked to blame during the housing boom that’s seen prices skyrocket and inventory shrink to record lows, transplanted Bay Area tech works have been chief among them. Newcomers and their fat wallets have often been blamed for clogging the market and taking away homeowner opportunities from those already here.

Turns out, according to Redfin, that complaint is so last year.

Last year, we discovered that about one in four people who were searching on Redfin from the San Francisco Bay Area were looking for homes in other parts of the country. That was up from about one in seven in 2011, having increased consistently over the four years. As of this spring, the portion of Bay Area buyers looking to move has leveled off, but what’s changed is where they’re looking to go. Most notably, Seattle has become a less popular destination, while “other” cities, which include Washington, D.C., Austin, Denver, and Boston at the top of the list, have become more common havens for those fleeing the Bay Area.

It would stand to reason that since housing prices have risen so much around Seattle, it’s not quite the attractive option it once was, even if it’s still more affordable.

Still, Seattle Redfin agent Daniel Burton says he’s still working with a lot of Bay Area transplants, just in a different way.

“It’s quite common for people to begin home searches a year or so before they buy to test the waters and get settled financially, and in their new jobs and cities,” said Burton. “We’re working quite a bit with this second wave of Bay Area homebuyers—people who searched for Seattle homes while still in the Bay Area and decided to rent for a year or two after moving, and are now entering the market to buy.”