How love and politics are impacting homebuyers’ decisions



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Although affordability is still the No. 1 factor in most homebuyers’ moves, two surveys from Zillow and Redfin revealed politics and romance also play a role.

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Politics and romance are at the heart of homebuyers’ moving decisions this year, according to two surveys from estate portals Zillow and Redfin published on Tuesday.

Redfin’s survey said 32 percent of real estate agents had at least one client in 2023 who moved due to local laws or other political trends in their state. Forty-eight percent of agents said politics had no influence on their clients’ buying or selling decisions, and another 20 percent said they weren’t sure.

The Seattle-based brokerage said this is the first time they’ve surveyed agents about this topic; however, they’ve seen an uptick in anecdotes from agents about clients moving due to disagreements with their local and state legislators about gun control, abortion rights, climate change and other hot-button issues.

“Factors like housing affordability, proximity to family and living close to job centers often outweigh political preferences or local laws when people are choosing where to live,” the survey read. “But with the pandemic-driven rise in remote work, more Americans have the flexibility to factor in political preferences and local laws in deciding which metro area to call their hometown: A record share of homebuyers relocated to a different metro area in 2023.”

The strongest trend is homebuyers moving from “blue states” to “red or purple states.” Buyers from San Francisco are going to Austin, buyers from Seattle are going to Phoenix, and buyers from New York are going to  Orlando and other parts of Florida.

Redfin said buyers’ moves from Democratic states to Republican states are largely attributed to housing affordability and laws that are more tax-friendly. On the other hand, they said buyers moving from Republican states are willing to bear the brunt of a higher cost of living in exchange for stronger civil rights protections in Democratic states.

“I know at least 10 people who have moved away from Texas in the last year, mainly because they don’t agree with state laws,” Austin-based Redfin agent Andrew Vallejo said. “They all moved to the West Coast, to blue places where the policies align better with their personal views, specifically when it comes to women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights.”

While some homebuyers are moved by issues at the ballot box, others are moved by matters of the heart.

Zillow’s latest survey revealed 42 percent of recent homebuyers found a new beau after purchasing a new home. The trend is strongest among Gen-Zers (64 percent), followed by millennials (49 percent) and first-time (51 percent) buyers.

Unsurprisingly, homebuyers moving to urban locales have an easier time catching Cupid’s eye — 68 percent of buyers found love after moving to a big city, compared to 33 percent of buyers moving to rural cities and 22 percent of buyers who moved to the suburbs.

The survey also found higher-income buyers (58 percent), male buyers (55 percent) and single, never-married buyers (47 percent) had a better chance at finding a new partner than their counterparts who have lower incomes (28 percent), are female (28 percent) and have been divorced (9 percent).

“Life events like coupling up and falling in love often prompt households to buy a home,” Zillow senior population scientist Manny Garcia said in a prepared statement.”What we found is that love does not just prompt home buying, but home buying appears to prompt love as well.”

“Homeownership can provide financial security, a stable foundation and a place to create lifelong memories,” he added. “For many buyers, it also appears to be, at least in part, the springboard to putting down roots and finding love.”

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