real estate refugees
n. People who move out of the city and into the surrounding suburbs and towns so they can purchase a larger home on a bigger lot.

Example Citations:
Santa Marians are not accustomed to a lot of sound and fury, nor to cameras beaming chaotic scenes at their courthouse into living rooms from Kokomo to Katmandu.

"Our big things are the strawberry festival and the Elks rodeo," Machelle Hammond said.

The city of 80,000 sees little crime, with an average of two homicides yearly.

It draws many new residents from Los Angeles, real estate refugees seeking lower home prices and a peaceful place to raise their kids.
—Steve Chawkins and David Pierson, "All Agree, Jackson Case Has Santa Maria Talking," Los Angeles Times, January 18, 2004

Some of the factors that drive housing prices up and down in California are at play in other markets. And more directly, some tech-centric cities — including Austin — stand to benefit as real estate refugees seek affordable homes elsewhere.
—Bob Keefe, "Despite a 'horrible' economy, California home prices soar, making Austin alluring to real estate refugees," Austin American-Statesman, June 22, 2002

Earliest Citation:
For Los Angeles workers who have given up on ever affording a home there, where the median cost is $220,000, the $160,000 median price for a two-story, three-bedroom, two-bath house in Palmdale looks attractive. Real estate refugees from Los Angeles have turned Palmdale and the surrounding Antelope Valley into a vast bedroom community of look-alike ersatz Spanish developments at the outer edge of commuter tolerance.
—Paul Nussbaum, "Affordable Palmdale: L.A.'s last outpost," Chicago Tribune, August 19, 1989

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