Sustainability Infrastructure

Housing prices being driven up by migration to South and West, data shows

A pandemic-related need for more space and a greater number of people now reaching the age typical of first-time home buyers are also playing a role in driving up home prices.
A "sold" sign sits atop a realty company's lawn sign
A “sold” sign sits atop a realty company’s lawn sign in this Brandon, Miss., subdivision Sept. 25, 2019. Associated Press/Rogelio V. Solis

Story at a glance


  • New data from Freddie Mac identifies four main drivers of increasing home prices.  

  • Limited supply, low mortgage rates, an aging population and the pandemic have all contributed.  

  • The data adds to other research that notes a shift in where Americans are choosing to live, such as avoiding major cities and settling on small or midsized cities in the South and West.  

New research from Freddie Mac, the federal home loan mortgage corporation, states that low mortgage rates, limited supply and increased migration to the South and West have driven up home prices.  

The research, published in an online research note on Thursday, states that home prices have gone up across the country by 33 percent over the past two years.  

In addition, Freddie Mac found “a race to beat future rate increases” and a record number of people in the typical age range for first-time home buying. The research notes that there are now 46.1 million people in the United States between the ages of 25-34, 18 percent more than there were in 2006, which has driven up demand for single and multifamily housing.  


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Research crafters note however, that there are other factors playing a role in the increasing prices of housing including the pandemic and the subsequent need for more space and home offices as well as government stimulus funds.  

In fact, a recently published working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research claims that the national shift to remote work accounted for more than half of the 23.8 percent increase in housing prices between 2019 and 2021.  

Although fewer Americans moved in 2020, where Americans are choosing to pick and go has changed during the pandemic. Data from Freddie Mac joins a collection of research pointing out that the COVID-19 pandemic sped up the migration out of large cities that has been taking place over the last 20 years.  

As of February 2022, people are leaving the country’s 25 largest cities at a rate three times higher than pre-pandemic, according to Freddie Mac, with the greatest number of people moving to small and midsized cities in the South and Mountain West.  


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