The shift of wealth to the exurbs since the start of the pandemic has often been referred to as “The Great Reshuffling”. As many employers have adopted a remote working environment, this has led to many Americans moving further away from big cities. In many cases, this has even resulted in out-of-state moves. With this said, fewer Americans are moving to new homes than at any time since the government began keeping track.
A look at the numbers
New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows just 8.4% of Americans live in a different house than they lived in a year ago. This is the lowest rate of movement that the bureau has recorded at any time since 1948. As a result, approximately 27.1 million people moved homes in the last year, which is the lowest on record.
For perspective, in the 1950’s & 1960’s approximately 20% of Americans moved homes in a given year. By the year 2000, this percentage dropped to 14% and then to 11.6% by 2010. Of course, The Great Recession of a decade ago combined with the pandemic and the uncertainties brought with it have also played a significant role in this outcome.
Factors contributing to this trend
- An aging population: Never before has the U.S. had more residents over the age of 65. As a result, many in this demographic tend to age in place and therefore do not move.
- The birthrate is at an all-time low: The low birthrate results in less growing families looking to move into larger homes.
- Economic uncertainties: The current economic environment with both the pandemic and inflation is a reason for pause for many Americans. This has led to a lower number of Americans looking to move.
- High home prices: Home prices have risen dramatically over the past 18 months, leading many Americans to delay their moves. Many of these would-be buyers are waiting to see where prices move to in the future.
The headlines in the recent few years can certainly be misleading. Although we have seen an increase in Americans moving due to the need for more space and the rise in remote working arrangements, less Americans overall are moving to new homes. Of course, all markets may differ dramatically. For example, states such as Florida continue to see more Americans moving in from other areas. Moving forward, we expect to continue to see this as well.
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