This Is the No. 1 City People Want to Move to in the U.S.
You might think of it as an over-the-top vacation destination, but more and more people want to put down roots here year-round. Here's why.
If you’ve recently considered moving to an entirely new city, you’re not alone. Ever since the pandemic, many of us have had more flexibility when it comes to where we work and, as a result, where we live. That’s caused millions of people to rethink where they call home, whether they’re looking for the best place to retire or just generally searching for the nicest places in America to settle down, with lower living costs, better job opportunities and higher quality of life.
So, just where are people looking? According to a new study by real-estate site Redfin, one of the most popular places homebuyers are perusing also happens to be one of America’s most popular vacation destinations. Read on to find out what it is—and if it could be a good fit for you.
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How did the study determine the top cities of interest?
To pinpoint which cities were getting the most attention from potential homebuyers, Redfin’s analysts sifted through 2 million web searches between April 2023 and June 2023. The company homed in on members who viewed at least 10 for-sale houses, including at least one outside their current metropolitan area. In other words, it tried to focus on people who seemed to show serious interest in relocating to an entirely new place.
One caveat: The study didn’t track actual home purchases or moves after people showed online interest. And while those potential homebuyers might not actually pack up and head to another city, they are definitely moving-curious and likely to do so.
Which town do people most want to move to in the United States?
The city that came out on top in Redfin’s study is … Las Vegas. Yes, that Vegas—home to the world’s most famous stretch of casinos, resorts, thrill shows, tourist attractions and debauchery. It was the first time Las Vegas ever topped this particular list for Redfin.
Now, there’s a good chance Sin City has never crossed your mind as a place to live and that you’ve instead considered it as a fun weekend getaway. But for a lot of folks, that’s changing.
Why do so many people want to move to Las Vegas?
Tourists know Las Vegas for its bright lights, gaming and star-studded shows. But like a lot of cities, the experience for the locals is far different. “There’s a lot more to Las Vegas than just the Strip,” says realtor Michael Bondi, who’s lived in the area for almost 20 years. “The only time I go down to the Strip as a local is if there’s a concert, a sporting event or a restaurant I want to go to.”
World Population Review recently identified Nevada as one of the nation’s fastest-growing states. Here are some of the top reasons for that.
One of the biggest reasons to consider Las Vegas, especially for those in large metropolitan areas: cost of living. Someone who lives in San Francisco and makes $115,000 would need to earn just $62,683 to maintain their standard of living in Las Vegas, we found using a cost-of-living calculator from NerdWallet.
Plus, the home prices here are far more affordable than some of the big West Coast cities where, Redfin found, a lot of the people eyeing Vegas homes currently live. Redfin reports a typical home in the Vegas area costs around $412,000. Compare that with around $975,000 in the Los Angeles area, about $1.4 million in San Francisco and around $826,000 in Seattle.
Also appealing? Nevada doesn’t have state income tax.
Nevada ranks as one of the nation’s fastest-growing states. Interestingly, at some points this year, the state reported higher unemployment rates than the country as a whole, but there are still a lot of job opportunities in the area. Just think about all the touristy businesses downtown!
The opportunities are only growing too, Bondi points out. Las Vegas recently added a few new professional sports franchises, and it may soon be home to a couple major motion picture studios … which will translate to thousands of new jobs.
“We’ve got so many projects coming here that are going to transform Las Vegas,” Bondi says.
Quality of life
Ultimately, it’s not the Bellagio or the Venetian that Bondi likes having close to his home in the Vegas suburbs. It’s the two Home Depot stores within a five-minute drive, along with the calm traffic. It’s that type of convenient suburban environment that many of his clients from big cities have been searching for. “It takes me 20 minutes to go from one side of town to the other,” he says. “We have traffic, but it’s manageable.”
Plus, there’s the weather: Vegas’s dry desert climate means comfortable temperatures much of the year … as long as you can brave the summer heat.
And, of course, if you’re looking for a bit more excitement, you can always venture down to the Strip!
Where else are people looking to move?
Las Vegas isn’t the only city getting attention among Americans looking for a new place to live. Redfin’s study also looked at the nine other top cities drawing eyeballs from would-be movers. One thing nearly all of them have in common: They’re located in the Sun Belt, keeping with the recent trend of Americans moving to warm-weather places. (And yep, a few Florida beach towns made their way onto this list.)
Here are the other cities in the top 10:
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Tampa, Florida
- Orlando, Florida
- Sacramento, California
- North Port/Sarasota, Florida
- Cape Coral, Florida
- Dallas, Texas
- Miami, Florida
- Houston, Texas
The top cities residents are looking to leave, according to Redfin? San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, Seattle, Hartford, Denver and Detroit.
Is now a good time to move?
Of course, any potential homebuyer should be aware that average nationwide mortgage rates in June stood at 6.7%, versus 3% in early 2022. That’s thanks to the Fed raising interest rates at a historic pace to tame inflation. And it means your monthly mortgage payments could be higher if you do choose to move.
Bondi notes this has actually kept home inventory low in the Las Vegas region. So if you want to move there or to another in-demand city, it’s a good idea to start your search early. “If you’re thinking of relocating within the next year, you need to start looking now,” he says. “It’s getting to be a really competitive market.”
About the expert
- Michael Bondi has been a full-time realtor in the greater Las Vegas area for 19 years. He holds a Certified Residential Specialist designation and works with clients in Las Vegas and its surrounding suburbs of Summerlin and Henderson.
- Redfin: “Las Vegas Tops List of Popular Homebuyer Destinations for First Time, with West Coast Migrants Drawn to Cheaper Homes”
- World Population Review: “Fastest Growing States 2023”
- Fox 5: “First look at Las Vegas Media Campus: One of 2 film studios potentially coming to Las Vegas”
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Nevada had the highest unemployment rate in February 2023”
- United States Census Bureau: “QuickFacts: Las Vegas city, Nevada”