Thoughts on Recent Moving Trends in California

Every year for the past 40 years, United Van Lines has published its National Movers' Study, which tracks migration patterns annually on a state-by-state basis.

I've just looked at the highlights of the 2016 study, based on household moves handled by United within the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D. C.

Naturally enough, my attention was quickly drawn to the situation in California and I thought I'd share some of the more interesting highlights with you today.

The first thing to note is that we have a very balanced inbound/outbound moving pattern, with almost a perfect 50/50 split.

I then looked at the reasons why people either move into or out of The Golden State.

The overwhelming reason for inbound moves is, perhaps unsurprisingly, jobs. According to United's figures, a massive 67.63% of moves are job related. The next most popular motivations for coming here are for family reasons (16.27%), lifestyle (9.70%), retirement (8.96%) and health (3.78%).

When it comes to leaving California, jobs are again the main incentive, accounting for 47.44% of all moves. Other reasons for leaving are more pronounced, starting again with family reasons at 24.38%, retirement (19.19%), lifestyle (17.99%) and health (5.64%).

United also records the ages of movers and two distinct patterns emerge. The main group of inbound movers is in the up to 34 age category (27.40%). This descends in a linear fashion down to the 65+ group, who make up the smallest category (14.35%). Having said that, the percentages are spread quite evenly across the age groups.

When we look at outbound moves, it’s pretty much the opposite experience for people moving in. The 55 to 64 and 65+ groups make up just under half of the number of people leaving the state (24.18% and 24.04% respectively).

In terms of income, the top $150K+ earners category accounts for the most moves (47.58% inbound/36.58% outbound). Given that we live in the most expensive area of the country, plus the huge number of major companies headquartered in CA, I personally don't find this surprising at all, and I'm quite certain you'll agree with that.

There's no question this is an interesting report, but what does it really tell us?

I think it's important to say that these are only the findings of a major company, not moving trends overall, so there are bound to be some inconsistencies. However, the overall trends are probably quite close to reality and they do demonstrate how critical the jobs market is to the prosperity of Californian real estate. It's one key reason, I'm sure, why we have seen such a buoyant housing market in recent years. We clearly gain more high earning job seekers than we lose, so that works well for us.

Equally, there are more people moving out of state than into it for retirement. As I've said before in this blog, house prices here present an amazing opportunity for people near retirement to cash in and move elsewhere in the nation to a bigger and/or better property. While that isn't for everyone, I think these stats tend to suggest it's quite a popular option.

Whether you're buying or selling, I hope these figures are useful to you (click here if you'd like to read more). As ever, we'd be delighted to answer any queries you may have regarding this report or any aspect of real estate, so please don't hesitate to contact us today.

Dominic Nicoli