Looking to move? The pandemic is pushing people out of Bay Area cities into the suburbs

A new report suggests more homeowners are looking to relocate in part due to the pandemic. According to real estate firm Redfin, a record number of people in the last two months searched to move away from big metropolitan cities like San Francisco and into suburbs and smaller towns.

Realtors said it’s not surprising given the pandemic, more people are now working from home. For some people, living in a less dense city is becoming more appealing.

“The pandemic made us really think about do we really want to be in the city?” said Tania Zapata of San Francisco. “We are not going to be able to go outside. My daughter has to be wearing a mask.”

Zapata and her growing family moved out of their two bedroom with a den and two bath home in the Nema building across from Twitter in downtown San Francisco into a five-bedroom home in Napa with a vineyard.

The pandemic is one of the main reasons.

“You can no longer enjoy the city and all the benefits of the city,” said Zapata. “There is not really any point to be in the city.”

According to Redfin, a record 27 percent of home searchers are looking to leave the Bay Area, Washington D.C. and Seattle for places like Sacramento and Nashville.

New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles all had the biggest net outflow meaning more people looking to leave than move in.

“I think this makes total sense,” said Realtor Rick Smith. “I think that there are people that have been cooped up in their homes especially here in the Bay Area, where a million dollars only buys a condo or a townhouse.”

Smith said people have left the Bay Area for less expensive places before and now more people, especially renters, are giving it serious thought. Many employers like Twitter and Facebook are announcing permanent remote work policies.

Redfin reports Bay Area residents make up the largest portion of migrants looking to Sacramento.

“Sacramento, El Dorado Hills, Folsom area spend far less money much bigger house and still work from home,” said Smith.

Realtor Jessica Branson said many of her clients are looking at Lake Tahoe and Sonoma as an escape to travel.

“From what I’m seeing from my standpoint is that a lot of people are looking at these smaller areas more for vacation homes,” said Branson.

“This place is amazing,” said Zapata. “We are going to have chickens we have a big enough place outdoors.”

Zapata feels her family made the right move, unsure how long the pandemic will last.

“We don’t know really know how long this is going to take,” said Zapata. “We have no idea if there's going to be a vaccine soon or not.”

As for what this means for the Bay Area housing market, realtors said it’s still a hot market. Demand is high with interest rates at an all-time low and many properties are getting multiple offers.