People Didn’t Move Far During the Pandemic

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While people moved during the last year, most of them stayed in state, according to a new survey released by Knock.

Nearly six of 10 pandemic homebuyers moved to less populated cities within the same state, according to Knock’s survey of more than 2,000 homeowners. Seventy-two percent of homebuyers moved to a new area, while 59% moved to a new city in the same state. Many sought less density as 39% of buyers moved to a city or town with fewer than 10,000 people.

Fifty-eight percent of people who moved during the pandemic were either millennials or Gen Z. That group also showed a propensity to stay within the same state.

By comparison, 54% of those who moved before the pandemic moved to a new area. And 41% moved to a new city within the same state. Perhaps feeling the need to stay near the office, 29% who purchased their home before the pandemic moved to a city or town with fewer than 10,000 people.

Like other sources, Knock’s research pointed to a move to the South. Before the pandemic, 38% who moved went South. However, 51% of those who moved during the pandemic live in the South. The Midwest (19%), West (19%) and Northeast (11%) are also home to sizable percentages of people who moved during the pandemic. In the future, California, at 12%, is the top moving destination. It is followed by Florida (11%) and Texas (9%).

The movement isn’t over even as the world opens back up. Twenty-four percent of homeowners surveyed plan to purchase a new home within the next year. Almost half (49%) are either Gen Z or millennials. Thirty-seven percent of those younger buyers prefer a city or town with fewer than 10,000 people. Among Gen X buyers, 32% want to move to a smaller town. One-quarter of baby boomers and silent generation future home buyers feel the same way.

Those moving will continue to target less populated areas in the same state, with 43% saying they want to move to a city or town with fewer than 10,000 people. Sixty-nine percent of homeowners expecting to buy a new home in the next year want to go to a new area.

The move to a less populated area isn’t a surprise, considering 40% of respondents are seeking a larger home. A quiet neighborhood (39%) and outdoor space (37%) were also the top reasons prompting homeowners to move.

The Knock survey is consistent with a recent report from Newmark, which indicates that people generally moved to suburbs.

For instance, in Southern California, there were 106,000 more US Postal Service change of address requests for people leaving Los Angeles County than arriving. Newmark says this is a 1.1% decline in population. Eighty-three percent of these people moved to other areas in Southern California.

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