Household movement took hit in 2020Household movement took hit in 2020https://www.recenter.tamu.edu/news/newstalk-texas/?Item=253812021-01-08T06:00:00Z2021-01-08T17:00:00Z

​​​​WASHINGTON – According to newly released national data from the U.S. Census Bureau, household movement and reasons for moving changed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Many analysts expected a large interstate migration last year, such as from California to Texas or from New York to Florida, but that doesn’t appear to be the case,” said Texas Real Estate Research Center Senior Data Analyst Joshua Roberson. “The total mover count—including state-to-state movers—took a major decline in 2020. The biggest influence in this decline was the large drop off in movement from renter-occupied households.”

Owner-occupied households, on the other hand, moved at record levels, aligning with record home sales. Most activity was driven by household moves from one county to another within the same state, followed by movement to other states. 

Annual Total Movers

The data also reveal the flow of movers within or near metro areas, either to principal cities (the largest city in a metropolitan or micropolitan area, like Dallas, Austin, or Houston proper), surrounding areas just outside the principal cities, or non-metro areas even farther out. Net migration into principal cities was already in decline before the pandemic but took an even bigger dip last year. Instead, net growth went to surrounding, less-dense cities within the same metro. Meanwhile, growth to rural non-metro areas actually declined, hinting that while movers wanted more space, they also wanted common in-town amenities.

Reasons for moving also shifted last year. The following reasons, in no particular order, grew in influence last year: wanted to own a home, wanted a better neighborhood, retirement, and job hunting/replacement. Alternatively, the following reasons declined in influence over the same period: pursuit of a new job or transfer, move closer to job/shorter commute, wanted a newer or better home.

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Source: Texas Real Estate Research Center
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