Where are buyers moving from is important for REALTORS® to know, but it is challenging to find this data. The Census Bureau reports out migration data, but the latest data are from 2019. National moving companies, including United Van Lines, have published data on movers, but that information is limited to their customers. To find out more about where Virginia’s home buyers are coming from, we turned to our Virginia REALTORS® members.

In this February’s Flash Survey, Virginia REALTORS® told us about their experience working with recent home buyers and provided information not available from any other source. We received responses from 781 REALTORS®, including 595 members that had worked with a home buyer in 2021.

Highlights from the February 25-28 survey include the following:
  • The REALTORS® who responded to the survey worked with home buyers in 101 counties or independent cities across Virginia, representing three-quarters of all jurisdictions in the Commonwealth. The greatest number of transactions reported on in this Flash Survey were in Fairfax County, Chesterfield County, City of Virginia Beach, Loudoun County, and Albemarle County.
  • Where Are Buyers Moving FromThe vast majority of recent home buyers (73.9%) moved from within Virginia. Nearly 40% of home buyers moved from within the same county or city, and 34.8% moved from another county or city in Virginia. These patterns are very similar to what the Census Bureau reported in the 2019 American Community Survey, finding that 73.0% of all movers in 2019 moved within state, including 39.4% that moved within the same county/city and 33.6% that moved from another county/city in Virginia. (Note: the Census Bureau data are for all movers, not just home buyers.)
  • According to responses from Virginia REALTORS®, about a quarter of recent home buyers in Virginia moved in from out of state. About one in 10 out-of-state buyers moved to Virginia from North Carolina. Nine percent moved from New York, 8 percent moved from Florida, and 6% moved from both Maryland and Pennsylvania.

  • Needing a larger or upgraded home was the most common reason for recent home purchases in Virginia; about one-third of REALTORS® (32.0%) said that was at least one of the reasons their buyer was moving. The next most common reasons included a change in family situation, moving to be closer to family, and moving for a new job.
  • COVID-19 was a factor in some home buyers’ decisions. According to this survey of REALTORS®, about one in 10 recent home buyers in Virginia moved because they could locate further from their office as a result of working from home. About 5% of buyers moved to be away from a location with high COVID-19 rates and 1.0% moved for other COVID-19 related reasons.

Where buyers are moving from and why are they moving are important factors.

A note about surveys: This is not a randomized sample survey of Virginia REALTORS® members. However, the number of responses and the geographic coverage of respondents make it possible to draw conclusions about the population of Virginia REALTORS® working with home buyers in 2021, with a certain level of confidence. These statistics from this survey have a margin of error of +/- 4.0%.

Virginia REALTORS® reports on the economy and housing market in Virginia. New information is updated on the Virginia REALTORS® website. A new Flash Survey is sent out at the end of each month. For more information, please contact Lisa Sturtevant, PhD (lsturtevant@virginiarealtors.org).

*Information as of March 4, 2021.