The recession has made its impact across the United States. All fifty states have felt the economic difficulties in one way or another, and relocation patterns seem to give a little bit of insight into the effects caused by the recent economic downturn. Florida and California have both been hit hard by the country’s recent economic distress, but they are still among the top moving destinations for Americans. According to recent studies, California, Florida, Texas, Georgia, and Arizona were the top relocation states for Americans over the last year. People are most likely to move to or within these states. It is interesting to note that these states are among the warmer and dryer states in the country. It seems as though people who have the money to move where they want to are avoiding the colder and wetter states, no matter how beautiful or historically significant they may be… no big surprise there.
Although these states are the most popular when people do move from state to state, long moves are generally on the decline. A survey indicates that migration patterns are changing, including shorter moves and different motivations for relocation. One in five people who participated in the survey claimed they moved to pursue a lower cost of living, implying that the economy made it difficult for them to survive where they were. The number of respondents who indicated that they moved as a direct result of home foreclosure was 150% higher than the previous year, apparently indicating that displacement because of the housing crisis continues to affect the American public. These aspects of the current research make the outlook seem pretty bleak. However, not all of the news seems to be quite so foreboding.
Assuming that the people who participated in the recent surveys were telling the truth (and we have no real reason to believe otherwise), some of the input actually seems rather encouraging. Surprisingly, 54% of those surveyed claimed that the recession did not affect their decisions to relocate. They relocated because they found nicer homes, wanted to be closer to families, or started new jobs in different areas. In fact, 10% stated that they moved because reduced home prices had finally allowed them to afford to purchase homes in desirable areas. This may be the positive side of the housing bubble’s bursting – it may have gone from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market, but at least it’s someone’s market. It’s rough for those who are trying to sell, but people who have had a hard time affording to become home owners have a better chance than ever. While many Americans are consistently renting, a significant number of individuals surveyed said that they were renting temporarily while they were searching for houses to purchase. It seems as though the American Dream of home ownership has not died; it was seriously injured, but its condition may soon be upgraded from critical to stable.
Many moving companies are reporting that they are receiving an increasing number of inquiries and requests for estimates, indicating that a large increase in migration may be on the way. While optimistic reviewers of this information interpret an increase in interest in moving logistics to be an indication of an economic upswing, more cautious researchers point out that an upswing in relocation does not necessarily indicate an economic improvement. It is difficult to accurately interpret the significance of these relocation patterns until more is known about the circumstances and motivations involved with these moves. It may sound cliché, but maybe all we can do now is just hope for the best and act as wisely as possible until things turn around.