Skip To Content

    15 Cities Everyone Moved To During The Pandemic — And Which Ones They Vacated

    Sunny Florida was a big hit. ☀️

    There's a reason it seemed like everyone was leaving New York City, LA, and San Francisco during 2020 — they were.

    Netflix / Via Giphy /

    These three cities, which have long drawn people despite notoriously high rent and small living spaces, had the most people leave in 2020, according to CoreLogic, a property data and analytics company. 

    The trend away from these major metros (and others, like Washington, DC, Miami, and Seattle) reflected a noticeable shift in priorities. As many Americans started working from home in 2020, they searched for more living space and fewer crowds. 

    Turns out most people relocated to (and bought homes in) these 15 US cities:

    Warner Bros. Animation / Via Giphy /

    According to the study, people took advantage of 2020's record-low mortgage rates and bought homes in these 15 cities, many of which offered buyers more living space for less, lower property tax, no state income tax, and a sunny, outdoorsy lifestyle. (Florida was the winner by far.)

    1. Riverside, California

    Town at the base of the foothills
    Musah Annak / Getty Images/EyeEm

    Riverside may not be located right on the ocean like LA, but, without traffic, it's about an hour from both downtown LA and the Pacific. Not bad when you consider that the average home price was less than half the cost of buying a home in LA in 2020 ($436,288 and $989,157, respectively). 

    2. Lakeland, Florida

    3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

    Beautiful beach and pier
    John Coletti / Getty Images

    Sandwiched between the much larger metros of Charleston, South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina, is Myrtle Beach, home to the Grand Strand, a 60-mile string of beaches. It may be a popular vacation destination, but it's hard to deny the perks of direct waterfront access, famous golf courses, and homes for $280,949 on average in 2020.

    4. Las Vegas, Nevada

    Woman takes photo in deserty surroundings
    Swissmediavision / Getty Images

    There's more to Vegas than the strip — it's actually surrounded on three sides by natural beauty: two nature preserves and the giant Lake Mead. In addition to access to nature, Nevada has no state income tax and an average 2020 home price of $372,974. Sure beats San Francisco's average of $1,266,711 😬.

    5. Tampa, Florida

    City skyline on the water
    Sky Noir Photography By Bill Dic / Getty Images

    Tampa has big-city vibes, sunny weather, and direct access to the ocean. Homes in 2020 might have been around $100,000 more expensive than the neighboring city of Lakeland (#2) in 2020, but $348,849 isn't bad when you consider that it's right on the Gulf Coast.

    6. Port St. Lucie, Florida

    7. Jacksonville, Florida

    Aerial view of the city of Jacksonville and the river
    Art Wager / Getty Images

    Miami gets all the attention, but the biggest city in the income tax–less state of Florida is Jacksonville. It has a spacious, suburban feel, which paired with beaches, waterways, amazing food, golf courses, and homes that sold for an average of $319,559, made moving to Jacksonville in 2020 a no-brainer for many Americans.

    8. San Antonio, Texas

    The River Walk in San Antonio
    Joe Daniel Price / Getty Images

    Unlike many cities on this list, San Antonio doesn't offer homebuyers a beachy breeze, but it does offer up a welcome dose of culture. People come to see the Alamo or walk the San Antonio River Walk and stay for the BBQ, Tex-Mex, and more affordable housing — $288,887 on average in 2020.

    9. Deltona, Florida

    10. Dallas, Texas

    View over the city of Dallas
    John Coletti / Getty Images

    Dallas may be a major city, but it's retained its affordability with no state income tax and homes that sold for $343,968 on average in 2020. It's a price that's hard to pass up when you consider that you'll be situated in the region's cultural hub — with a great arts district and a booming food scene.

    11. Stockton, California

    12. Cape Coral, Florida

    Waterways of Cape Coral
    Jeff Greenberg / Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

    The Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area straddles the Caloosahatchee River, which leads into the Gulf of Mexico. With almost as much water as land, this area is home to manatees, amazing kayaking, bird watching, and several aquatic preserves. The community is perfect for those craving a water-heavy lifestyle — and homes that averaged $326,674 in 2020.

    13. Phoenix, Arizona

    Camelback Mountain in Phoenix
    Matt Mawson / Getty Images

    With year-round sun and warm temps, the Phoenix area is a dream for people who love the outdoors and want to be able to hike the same trails in January as they do in June. The city's Camelback Mountain draws tourists, but locals know the city offers much more — including affordable housing (average home prices in 2020 were $369,519).

    14. Sarasota, Florida

    Beautiful white sand beach on the ocean
    Chuck Smith / Getty Images/EyeEm

    Just down the way from Tampa and across from St. Petersburg is the Sarasota metropolitan area, which includes the communities of North Port and Bradenton. The area's beaches, restaurants, shopping, and warm weather make this city a no-brainer — as do home prices that averaged $394,137 in 2020. 

    15. Greeley, Colorado

    Have you moved cities since the pandemic began? Share your journey in the comments!

    And for more stories about life and money, check out the rest of our personal finance posts

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form