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SAN FRANCISCO, May 17, 2012 – Trulia today released the latest findings from its Metro Movers Report – the first housing report that starts with where homebuyers and renters are today and provides the inside scoop on where they want to live tomorrow. The Spring 2012 report examines all property searches on Trulia among all U.S. metros between April 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012.

Jobs Are Low Priority For Most House Hunters

When people search long-distance for a new home, affordability and warm weather tend to trump job opportunities. Most long-distance searchers look for homes in markets with higher unemployment and slower job growth than where they live now. For instance, three times as many people in MinneapolisSt. Paul (6.2 percent unemployment) are looking for homes in Phoenix (8.5 percent unemployment) than in the reverse direction. Meanwhile, five times as many people in Chicago (9.8 percent unemployment) are looking for homes in RiversideSan Bernardino (13.2 percent unemployment) and seven times as many people in Washington DC (5.9 percent unemployment) are looking for homes in Orlando (10.3 percent unemployment) than in the reverse direction, respectively.                                                                                               

Top Home Searches Are Between Neighboring Markets

Among all domestic home searches on Trulia, more than half (56 percent) are to another metro area – 36 percent of which are between neighboring metros, including all of the top ten searches. The most frequent cross-metro search is from Los Angeles to its inland neighbor, RiversideSan Bernardino, followed by New York to Long Island.


Top 10 Home Searches


Origin Metro

Destination Metro


Los Angeles, CA

RiversideSan Bernardino, CA


New York, NY-NJ

Long Island, NY


Orange County, CA

Los Angeles, CA


Dallas, TX

Fort Worth, TX


Los Angeles, CA

Orange County, CA


Detroit, MI

WarrenTroyFarmington Hills, MI


New York, NY-NJ

Newark, NJ-PA


Newark, NJ-PA

New York, NY-NJ


WarrenTroyFarmington Hills, MI

Detroit, MI


Washington, DC-VA-MD-WV

BethesdaRockvilleFrederick, MD

Short-Distance Home Searchers Want More Space

House hunters searching within 100 miles are twice as likely to look at more suburban or smaller markets, where typical neighborhoods consist of single-family homes with yards, than at more urban or larger markets, where homes are smaller and more likely to be apartments or condos (measured by density). Seven of the top ten searches, shown above, are toward lower-density metros. Suburban and smaller-city markets tend to have had bigger price drops during the housing crash and lower-cost housing now. However, these places still attract more home searches even when they are just as expensive as nearby urban markets. More than twice as many searches are from crowded Los Angeles to suburban Ventura County than in the reverse direction, even though homes are similarly expensive and the housing bust was similarly severe; same with Boston and Cape Cod, and New York and Fairfield County CT.

Long-Distance House Hunters Seek Affordability and Warmer Winters

The top long-distance searches for homes more than 500 miles away are toward the South and West. Unlike short-distance searchers, long-distance searchers are mainly attracted to lower prices and bigger price drops, not just lower density. Long-distance house-hunters are 1.7 times more likely to look for homes in markets with bigger price drops in the bust, relative to where they live now, than in markets that held up better. Long-distance searchers also factor in weather: people are 1.8 times more likely to look for homes in markets with warmer winters than in markets with colder winters, relative to where they live now.


  • “More online house hunters are looking toward the suburbs and smaller cities than toward big, dense cities,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist. “Even though people say they want urban amenities like public transit, a shorter commute to work or restaurants they can walk to, when they start searching for a new home, they’re drawn to more space at a lower price rather than the benefits of big-city living.”

  • “People gravitate toward great deals when they search far from home, but finding a job in those markets might be a challenge,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist. “Markets where home prices fell more during the bust also have slower job growth and higher unemployment. A cheap house is no bargain if you can’t find a job that lets you pay the mortgage.”


To view the full methodology and to check out Trulia’s current and archived industry reports and surveys, see here.

Trulia gives home buyers, sellers, owners and renters the inside scoop on properties, places and real estate professionals. Trulia has unique info on the areas people want to live that can’t be found anywhere else: users can learn about agents, neighborhoods, schools, crime and even ask the local community questionsReal estate professionals use Trulia to connect with millions of transaction-ready buyers and sellers each month via our hyper local advertising services, social recommendations and top-rated mobile apps. Trulia is headquartered in downtown San Francisco and is backed by Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital. Trulia and the Trulia logo are registered trademarks of Trulia, Inc.