Ted O’Neil | The Center Square
Americans in the first quarter of 2021 continued their 2020 pattern of moving from expensive, densely populated areas to warmer, more tax-affordable states, according to a new study from Updater Technologies.
Updater Technologies is an online platform that allows people to use a centralized hub for moving, including finding a moving company, connecting internet and utility services and updating their address. The company says the inbound and outbound data it uses is more reliable than tabulating mail forwarding forms because it captures fully completed permanent moves in real time. It also indexes cities and states based on population, since using raw numbers would skew toward the most populated areas based on sheer volume.
Out of roughly 300,000 household moves during the first quarter, only 16 states had a greater percentage of inbound moves than outbound: Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Colorado, Georgia and Maine.
Half of those states are considered to be year-round warm weather states. In addition, four of them – Nevada, Florida, Tennessee and Texas – do not levy a state income tax.
“It’s been fascinating to watch migration patterns shift away from cities and to warmer weather climates during the pandemic,” said Updater CEO David Greenberg. “With vaccinations underway, restrictions lifted in some of our hardest-hit cities, and companies rolling out permanent hybrid working solutions, we’re anticipating a summer moving season unlike any other with a series of new, atypical patterns.”
Updater said its first quarter data for 2020 showed a higher-than-expected volume of moves, but that plummeted in March as the coronavirus pandemic hit and many states issued shelter in place orders. Move volume did not reach expected summer levels until the third quarter, and the fourth quarter of last year showed typical volumes that would be expected in a non-pandemic year.
Densely populated New York had the second-highest percentage of outbound moves during the first quarter of 2021 at 61%, up from 58% during the first quarter of last year.
The 10 states with the highest percentage of outbound moves were Ohio, Louisiana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa, South Dakota, Vermont, Alaska, New York and Nebraska.
In looking at Metropolitan Statistical Areas, seven of the top 20 that saw a higher percentage of inbound moves compared to outbound were in Florida, up from four during the first quarter of last year.
MSAs with the greatest percentage of outbound moves were primarily highly populated urban areas in the Midwest and Northeast, including Milwaukee, Cleveland, New York City, Boston, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia.
The Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego MSAs were also in the top 20 for outbound moves.