Affordable Living, Where Are People Relocating?

With the rising cost of living in the country’s major cities of the Northeast, people are looking to start the lives elsewhere. When most people move away from a city, justifiable due to the overwhelming costs, they’re looking for more or less similar amenities with perhaps a touch less overcrowding. People are no longer just retiring to the south in their elder years, they’re fleeing the Northeast in search of a more affordable cost of living. So, where exactly are these people going you ask? The most favorable contender is Oregon.

United Van Lines recently released their annual United National Movers Study where for the third consecutive year, Oregon was the No. 1 “Top Moving Destination”. United Van Lines has been doing this same study for 39 years and in the past 6 years, Oregon’s migration rate increased by 6%. In this year’s study, Oregon had 69% of moves to be inbound, while New York was 65% outbound. It’s really no surprise that people are migrating from the northeast and moving toward the southwest. The Economist posted an article back in March that stated the cost of living in New York rose 23% between 2009 and 2014. New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut all joined New York at the top of the outbound moves list.

In the article, Michael Stoll, an economist, professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, states, “This year’s data reflects longer-term trends of people moving to the Pacific West, where cities such as Portland and Seattle are seeing the combination of a boom in the technology and creative marketing industry, as well as a growing ‘want’ for outdoor activity and green space.” Alongside their movers study, United Van Lines also surveys their customers to help understand why they’re making such moves. States that lost the same number of residents as they gained are considered the “balanced” states of the study. Those of which included Alabama, North Dakota, Delaware, and Louisiana.

According to the study, those who moved were moving for one of various reasons. Either it was for their job, which accounted for 53% of reasons of moving, or moving for proximity to family (20%). Some people noted that they couldn’t afford to live in those areas anymore or longed for a more outdoor lifestyle. Unfortunately, with a sudden influx of migration to places like Oregon, the market reacts and thus home prices increase. In a CNN article, Kathryn Vasel notes that home prices in Portland, Oregon’s biggest city, have consequently increased by almost 11% according to S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

It’s really a double-edged sword. While it’s positive for the economy in these Southwest areas it inevitably raises costs for residents of these cities, which in turn, could cause another migration. So, it’s a never ending cycle, populating up and coming areas and migrating due to a rise in the cost of living. I wonder which cities will pop up on the list next year!