And while the pandemic has seen strong growth to housing markets across the country, the areas that are expected to lead demand for home buying in 2021 are not the traditional big coastal area draws.  Real estate experts at Zillow (opens in new tab) asked a panel of real estate experts and economists to identify the areas expected to experience the biggest growth in both demand and home values, and they came to a unanimous conclusion: Austin, Phoenix, and Nashville would lead the Sun Belt Surge, while the more familiar real estate heavyweights such as L.A., San Francisco, and New York would underperform.  This is not a sudden trend, however, but has been growing over the past several years, said Zillow senior economist Jeff Tucker: ‘The pandemic has not upended the housing market so much as accelerated trends we saw coming into 2020. These Sun Belt destinations are migration magnets thanks to relatively affordable, family-sized homes, booming economies and sunny weather.  ‘Record-low mortgage rates and the increased demand for living space, coupled with a surge of Millennials buying their first homes, will keep the pressure on home prices there for the foreseeable future.’ Rea estate experts at Redfin also believe that thriving cities in the South away from expensive coastal areas will become an even more prominent feature of the housing market in the next year.  Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather said: ‘Many homebuyers are now able to widen their searches to parts of the country that weren’t options when they were tied to offices in expensive cities, and the consequences for popular destinations will be numerous.’  The news will affect home movers and established locals in very different ways, however: the Sun Belt Surge is ‘great news for remote workers because their San Francisco salary can buy a lot more in Nashville or Austin than the Bay Area.’ If you’re a local, though, you must prepare for ’tougher competition from out-of-towners with big budgets.’  The migration will also impact local services, ‘with people like construction workers, plumbers, childcare workers and landscapers seeing increased demand and increased prices for their services–but that would mean higher prices for locals as well.’  And where are most people moving to these areas from? California, of course. Sabrina Archolecas, senior asset manager for the Texas branch of RedfinNow (opens in new tab), even goes as far as to nickname Austin ‘Texa-fornia’, thanks to the huge numbers of home movers from the Golden State to the Texan capital city.  We can totally see why: Austin is diverse and fast-growing, with as many regional tech and business headquarters as you’d expect in the Bay Area. The only thing Californians moving to Austin might not be prepared for is the intense summer heat.