For many people, 2021 was just as challenging as 2020. Along with an ongoing pandemic, Americans dealt with supply chain catastrophes, turbulent politics, and many other issues. Virtually every city, household, and industry was impacted, including the moving industry.
Naturally, there was a lot of relocation going on in 2021.
According to a Move.org survey, about 20% of Americans moved to different homes, and 20% of that population relocated to another state.
The reasons for moving vary from economics to politics to COVID-19 state policies.
Reviewing last year’s moving trends is the best way to predict what 2022 might look like. Below, TNT Moving Systems explains these trends in more detail and gives you some practical tips for moving in the new year!
2022 Moving Trends to Expect
So, let’s take a look at some of the most prominent moving trends from the past year and what we can expect in 2022:
Top Moving (and Exiting) Destinations
Many of the states that people moved to the most in 2020 remain on the list in 2021. And though it is too early to tell, we can expect these states to remain top destinations for relocators across the country:
• North Carolina
When it comes to the places that have seen the highest rate of exoduses, you will notice a couple of the same states in the previous list:
• New York
This information shows that states like Texas and Florida experienced many exits and vast influxes of new residents. It’s also worth noting that most people were moving to smaller towns rather than urban centers in states like Colorado.
Like 2020, most individuals who moved in 2021 remained relatively close to home. More than half of 2021 relocations were cross-town moves, and about 78% of relocators stayed in their states. Roughly 43% of movers moved to homes in the same city, while 35% moved to a different town but remained in the state. Only 20% of movers called a new state their home.
Not surprisingly, more people are moving out of U.S. metro areas, which has been a trend since long before the pandemic. Generally speaking, fewer people are moving into the city while many others are leaving the city for a nearby suburb. 84% of big city relocations fall somewhere within the parameters of the city center area.
Reasons for Moving
Everyone has a reason for moving, and this past year saw more varying reasons than usual. Lower cost of living was the biggest reason (45%) for relocations in 2021, while 43% moved to start a life amid a better culture. As with 2020, many movers committed to the major life change because of political convictions (39%), and 37% moved so they could pay less in taxes.
When it comes to the overall reasons for a move in 2021, here are how the numbers break down:
• Family (34%)
• Career (26%)
• Economic (20%)
• Lifestyle (20)
Suburban vs. Urban
While urban center exoduses trended before the pandemic, it has significantly accelerated it. Most real estate experts predict that the suburbs will continue to attract large swathes of buyers in 2022. To give you a picture, 82% of metropolitan cities have had more people leaving than coming in during COVID-19, and 91% of suburban counties have more new residents than those exiting.
Another trend that will likely continue from 2021 is that more people will keep relocating to non-traditional cities with a lower population. Many people are eager to get out of urban centers because of the pandemic, and suburban towns are attracting large numbers of remote workers; this is particularly true of workers from expensive cities (e.g., San Francisco, New York City, Boston, etc.).
Demographics also play a critical role in this trend. Millennials are entering their home-buying years. A growing number are seeking a high quality of life, lowering living costs, good school districts, and many other amenities they can find in the suburbs. And because many of them can work and flourish in their careers from home, they don’t have to live in a metro city to meet their needs and accomplish their goals.
Economics Rule the Day
Between 2019 and 2020, the USPS saw a 26.73% increase in change-of-address requests. While the skyrocketing new COVID-19 cases influenced part of the increase in large cities like New York City and San Francisco, the primary catalyst was a need for more economic stability.
At this point, there is no reason to expect that 2022 will be any different.
Some of the most common reasons people move to a new area include job opportunities, the ability to work remotely, overall cost of living, a saturated housing market, and statewide COVID-19 policies that impact business operations or quality of life.
2019 saw a stark increase in residents migrating outward from large cities, and these cities are feeling the impact. Rental rates in major cities like New York City and San Francisco have fallen significantly since the pandemic. Now, the trend is reversing, albeit mildly. Real estate experts do not expect rent in expensive cities to ever return to pre-pandemic rates. In many cases, higher-end apartments and condos are 20% less valuable than before the pandemic.
Then there are the incentive programs that many smaller, less expensive cities use to attract new residents. For example, Tulsa began giving workers thousands of dollars as a reward for relocating to the city. Some Texas and Florida towns have started to offer these incentives as well.
For sure, large urban centers that once dominated the real estate markets are losing traction. There’s a rising trend of residents leaving states like California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Washington. And many of these people are relocating to Texas, Florida, or smaller towns or suburbs within states like California or New York.
Housing Inventory and Prices
2021 was a seller’s market, as fewer houses were available in places like Florida, leading to a hyper-competitive market. Finally, inventory has started to rise, and relocators should be working with more of a buyer-friendly market than before. Expect inventory levels to rise at some point in 2022.
That said, don’t look for home prices to drop within the next few months. The inventory is balancing out, but prices are still growing. Some experts predict a 3.2% home price increase year over year, while others estimate prices will rise 12% by Summer 2022.
How to Move in the New Year
So, you’ve decided to move in the new year, and you need a little help getting prepared. While the prospect of planning your relocation may seem overwhelming, it will make for a much smoother process in the end.
By choosing a reputable moving company like TNT, simplifying your lifestyle, setting up utilities in advance, and taking other steps to plan the details of your move, you can help yourself and your entire family transition smoothly into the next chapter. Here are a few practical steps to get you started:
Use a Moving Company
Whether moving one street over or across the country, hiring a moving company will make your experience much less stressful and more efficient. There is no shortage of moving companies out there, but not all of them can meet your needs or be trusted. In fact, moving scams are rampant in the U.S. Start researching companies in your area well before your move date.
Different movers offer different services, and each company has a team comprising of individuals with unique skills and personalities. Even if a team is qualified, it doesn’t mean you will work well together. The key is finding movers with ample experience in your type of relocation and personalities with which you can gel.
Then there are the costs. You must ensure the company you choose can provide top-notch services within your budget. Much of the final price you pay will depend on the company’s location, the services they offer, and your specific needs (e.g., moving distance, item weight, timeframe, etc.).
List all the companies you’ve heard about, those your friends have used, and those that you find online. Read customer reviews, and research services and prices to narrow your options down to a few that you think will meet your needs. Then, call each of them to set up an in-home evaluation. Many moving companies will provide you with a free moving quote before committing to using their services.
Simplify Your Life
If you’re worried about finances, think of ways to improve your budget before you make the big move. Simplify your life by cutting out any unnecessary expenses. You might find that there are many costs you can eliminate because you will no longer need them in your current city. Maybe you can cancel that gym membership and cable subscription a tad early and start a new routine of working out at home and using a cost-effective streaming service.
Another way to boost your bank account while creating room in your life is to pare down your belongings and sell them online. Take a day to purge your closets and other spaces. Then, sort everything into piles. Try to be decisive with what you will sell, donate, recycle, or discard.
Transfer Utilities and Services
You will have many things to prepare in your new home to have a smooth transition. Along with planning out any necessary repairs and upgrades, be sure to set up your utilities and other services before you arrive in the new home. You don’t want to spend the first few nights without functioning gas, electricity, water, and internet!
The last thing you want is to get to your new home to realize that you don’t know where any of the boxes should go. You can prevent this from happening by labeling every box that you load up on the moving truck. Organize your boxes by like items or by room, and label each box accordingly with a marker or label maker.
Leave Time for Destressing
Moving can be chaotic, and you must relax for moments throughout the process. This is especially important if you are moving during the few months after the holidays. But don’t expect relaxation time to happen itself.
You must intentionally schedule activities (e.g., watching your favorite show, eating dinner with the family, taking your dog to the park, etc.) that allow yourself and your family to unwind from your daily responsibilities. Getting an early start on your moving plan will make it much easier for you to carve out time for relaxing.
It has been a dramatic couple of years for many Americans, and it’s reflected by the moving trends. As you begin planning your relocation, consider the trends many experts expect for 2022, as they may help you to make critical decisions along the way.
Also, remember the tips above for transitioning smoothly into your new chapter this year, and call TNT Moving Systems to schedule an in-home consultation. Our team of friendly, dedicated movers will help make your relocation a cinch!