As remote work took off due to the pandemic, many people packed up and fled densely populated expensive states for cheaper living arrangements and better lifestyles. This trend is confirmed by a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) that used the United States Postal Service's change-of-address data to identify migration trends. The report found that the states with the most inbound moves in 2022 were Florida (318,855), Texas (230,961), and the Carolinas – North Carolina (99,796) and South Carolina (84,030).
The report also noted that 46 percent of moves in 2021 were made for housing-related reasons, an increase of six percentage points from 2020. This is likely due to the fact that people are searching for specific and better neighborhoods, cheaper housing, and/or a newer/larger home.
The areas with the highest inbound move rates have 5 percent more jobs now compared with March 2020. The Miami metro area experienced the largest inbound increase from before the pandemic, with moves increasing by nearly 60 percent in 2022 compared with 2019. In 2022, Houston saw the greatest influx of incoming residents.
Conversely, cities with large downtowns, such as New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, continued to experience population decreases. In big cities, more people are going out than coming in, even as employers require a return to the workplace. This is due to declining affordability in these metros. Migration gains were seen in Los Angeles, San Jose, and Washington, DC.
Overall, it is clear that the pandemic had an effect on the moving rate for 2022, with people driven by the opportunity to work remotely, the desire for more space, and better affordability. Despite the decrease in the moving rate, it is evident that people are still relocating in search of better opportunities and lifestyles.
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