Survey: The pandemic doesn’t appear to be driving renters away from the region

Renting Spring House Hunt
A view of downtown Boston from the Evelyn Moakley Bridge, Thursday, May 19, 2016, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Renters looking to move to metro Boston were mostly searching from New York, according to an Apartment List survey. Elise Amendola / AP Photo

Nearly 37 percent of metro Boston residents are looking to leave the region, according to a recent survey by Apartment List.

That figure reflects searches on the site after March 11, when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and represents only a slight uptick in the number of people looking to move away from the region, according to the survey, which was released April 28. The data reflect searches, not completed moves.

The most popular destinations for renters looking to leave the region during the first quarter of 2020 were Providence (16.7 percent), Hartford (10.6 percent), and New Haven (7.2 percent).

(10 things you need to know about moving during the pandemic.)

Renters looking to move to the Boston metro area from elsewhere were mostly searching from New York (13.9 percent), Providence (5.8 percent), and Worcester (5.3 percent).

“The share of folks looking to move to Boston from elsewhere increased a bit from 29.7 percent pre-pandemic to 35.6 percent,” Chris Salvati, a housing economist at Apartment List, said via e-mail.

“Although moving activity has been put on pause temporarily, search activity is continuing, and location preferences (at least at the metro level) don’t yet appear to be significantly altered,” Salvati added. “That said, we do expect that the pandemic could have notable impacts on migration trends, but these are likely to play out over a longer time horizon, so it may simply be too soon to observe big changes in our data.”

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