- The American southwest boomed through the pandemic as masses of Americans moved into the region.
- The influx sent home prices soaring. While that harmed prospective buyers, it led others to benefit.
- Here are the three groups that made the most of the southwestern housing market during COVID.
The desire to live in the country’s warmest corner boomed over the past year. Masses of Americans fleeing cities and cooler climates flocked to Texas, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah, breathing even more life into the country’s fastest-growing region.
While the influx of new residents poses challenges — home prices skyrocketed across the country throughout 2021 — few areas have seen values soar as much as the southwest.
In the process, a small group of Americans made out out in the pandemic-era market.
Some of the biggest winners of pandemic-era moves were those who didn’t move at all. Residents in southwestern cities and suburbs now have “awesome equity” in their homes, Ali Wolf, chief economist at real estate data firm Zonda, told Insider.
“There’s this huge divide between the locals and the newcomers,” Wolf added. “The out-of-towner comes in and doesn’t really balk at pricing. But a local will look at pricing and say, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s so much more expensive.'”
That divide helped some locals capitalize on the boom. Cristian Mendoza, 25, left Baytown, Texas for El Rancho, New Mexico — a town roughly one hour from Santa Fe — after getting a better job. And while he’s held onto his home in Texas, he’s seen prices for Houston-area properties “go up pretty significantly over the last two years.”
For now, Mendoza is watching his Texas property appreciate, and he’s biding his time on splashing out in New Mexico.
“I don’t see myself buying a house over here anytime soon, just because of the prices. I’m probably going to be renting for a couple of years unless I find something cheaper a little bit outside of town,” he said.
2. Retirees and movers from the coasts
Americans coming to the southwest from expensive coastal hubs like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles might be paying a premium in local terms, but they’re getting a discount from the cities they left.
David Church, 48, already…