Advertisement

People priced out of Austin and Orlando are moving to these cheaper cities

People priced out of Austin and Orlando are moving to these cheaper cities
  • Americans squeezed out of pricier cities are moving to more affordable spots nearby, a study found.

  • Austinites are heading an hour away to Killeen, according to the real-estate consultancy John Burns.

  • Orlando residents are decamping to Lakeland, Florida, trading nightlife for space.

Over the past few years, two cities have stood out as hot spots for US movers.

Orlando experienced a 2.7% bump in population — around 8,500 new residents — between April 2020 and July 2022, Census data shows. The Austin metropolitan area similarly grew 2.7% between 2021 and 2022, adding about 63,000 people, according to city data.

But with all those new residents came a surge in home prices.

In Austin, the median sale price jumped from $385,000 in January 2020 to $500,000 four years later, according to data from Redfin, a real-estate site. Meanwhile, it found that Orlando saw a jump from $260,000 to $365,000 over the same time period.

Now, some Austin and Orlando residents are realizing they have to leave to find homes they can afford, a recent analysis of change-in-address data from John Burns Research and Consulting found.

People are leaving Orlando for places like Lakeland, Florida, a city about one-third the size and an hour away, and Austin for Killeen, Texas. In 2021, 1,607 households moved from Orlando to Lakeland and 250 households left Austin for Killeen, John Burns said in its analysis published on March 5.

Lisa Copeland, an Austin real-estate agent, told Business Insider the main reason people are decamping is because of housing affordability. Buyers exhausted by the pandemic-fueled spike in prices are searching for smaller, quieter cities that didn't experience the same bump.

"We didn't see the same spiking of prices in the outer areas of the city," Copeland said. "They're far enough out that they fall into an affordable range."

Orlando residents are trading nightlife for quiet and space

Lakeland, a city of over 115,000 residents, might not have the same number of bars and restaurants as 300,000-plus Orlando, but it boasts an important Central Florida amenity, Jordan Prais, a local real-estate agent, told BI.

"It's still only 25 minutes to Disney," he said.

The main reason Lakeland attracts movers from Orlando, though, is its relative affordability, Prais added. The median home sales price in Orlando last month was $400,000, while Lakeland's was $295,000, according to Redfin.

"It's purely the price," he said.

For some buyers, it's also a shift to a quieter lifestyle away from Orlando's thriving theme-park and nightlife scene. Some of those transplants may be looking to start a family, Prais said. Lakeland, the home of the Florida Children's Museum as well as kid-friendly hikes and nature walks, offers a different pace than Orlando.

"It's not the best place to be if you're 24 looking to take on the night," he said."But if you're 34, looking at raising kids, it's a little bit better."

Austinites are also seeking cheaper spots nearby

Some Austinites are also trading bustling downtown amenities for a slower-paced scene.

Killeen, which has around 160,000 residents compared to Austin's nearly 1 million, is still about an hour's drive from Austin for those who need to commute there.

The median home sales price in Austin was $522,477 last month, while Killeen's was less than half, at $250,000, according to Redfin data.

Copeland said Killeen, which didn't experience the same "COVID spikes" in home prices as Austin and some other parts of Texas, has remained an oasis of affordability.

"Killeen is a great landing spot," Copeland told BI. "It sits on the I-35 corridor and still has great access to Austin."

Home to Fort Cavazos, an Army post formerly named Fort Hood, Killeen is known for its diverse population and family-friendly appeal, according to Niche.com, a quality-of-life ranking site.

Copeland said many healthcare workers moved to Killeen after increased prices drove them out of Austin.

"It's become a spot for people that really, really just want homeownership," she said.

Correction: March 29, 2023 — An earlier version of this story misstated Austin and Orlando home prices and the population of Killeen. They have been updated to reflect more recent data.

Read the original article on Business Insider