The pandemic taught us all a few lessons last year. Businesses learned how to transition to remote working environments. Kids learned how to interact with the classroom from home. And the healthcare industry recognized the increased benefits of telehealth services. But there were other side effects of the public health crisis and new realizations, driven by shutdowns that had people confined in their homes. Americans began moving to new homes at a high rate. And here are other popular moving trends as a result of COVID-19.
1. A New Need to Find Somewhere Else to Live
People move, of course, because there is an inherent need to live somewhere else. During the restrictions imposed by the public health crisis, individuals and families soon realized some of those needs. Many of the earlier moving trends of last year were prompted by these three reasons.
While many businesses shuttered early last year, others were experiencing tremendous growth, including the transportation and healthcare sectors. For many Americans, those growth opportunities led to new jobs. Moving to a new city or state was a lucrative decision for those people taking advantage of better employment.
Millions of people stopped reporting to work and began engaging from home. Remote working began with the pandemic but may be here to stay as companies recognize the increased benefits. But for those working from make-shift offices at home, something else became apparent. Remote working and eLearning soon had people feeling cramped and crowded in their existing homes. The new need for more space became a reality for many, prompting them to find bigger living arrangements.
More Affordable Housing
Many relief efforts to offer rent and mortgage deferment helped people stay in their residences. But some of the recent moving data suggests Americans sought new places to call home due to an affordability crisis. Some states and regions offered more cost-effective living options than others, and the cost-of-living expenses outside the metropolitan cities were cheaper, attracting new residents.
2. The Financial Contributors to the Pandemic-related Moving Trends
Some sources point to serious financial consequences as the driving factor behind the recent moving trends. The pandemic has had lasting effects on household income levels. The new affordability shifts inspired increased moving activity.
Job Losses & Furloughs
Americans were furloughed from their jobs, some of which became permanent. Others were laid off entirely in response to the pandemic. While many were able to take advantage of pandemic unemployment benefits, the loss of income forced tough decisions. As a result, individuals and families began moving out of their homes and into smaller spaces, rental properties, with relatives, and across state lines to find more affordable living arrangements.
Entire Household Incomes Affected
For thousands of people, furloughs and layoffs came in twos. When everyone in the home experienced a loss in income, company benefits, and stability, the financial effects were devastating. The only choice in many of those scenarios is to move somewhere new. With no ties to local jobs, the multi-income families who lost jobs sought job opportunities elsewhere.
Not everyone experienced significant financial hardships during the pandemic. And the federal stimulus checks, equating to several thousands of dollars for larger families, funded countless moves. Buying a new home may have been financially out of reach before COVID-19. But with a surge in funds from stimulus checks, many families had ample down payments to make those real estate purchasing decisions.
3. Moving Trend Predictions
The pandemic is directly responsible for a surge in moving trends. Looking at the metrics, the data shows where, how, and why more people have been moving. Some industry analysts are suggesting the moving trends will likely continue. Others are predicting the moving activity dust will settle and suggest the housing market will return to old norms soon. We dove in deeper to explore.
Past Relocation Rates for Comparison
According to some sources, the requests for a change of mailing address jumped 3.92% between February and July of 2020. That’s 15.9 million people moving last year, up from the 15.3 million in 2019. This trend might continue through 2021, as people consider their housing options.
The Moving Boom of 2020
The way people work and live is drastically different from before the pandemic. Nearly seven out of every ten employees are working from home, constituting one of the largest work-from-home experiments ever. But there are also other driving factors as people look for socially distant ways to shop, eat, get healthcare, and generally live. The data shows many moving Americans leaving the metropolitan cities in favor of less populated suburbs and nearby towns. For every 84 people moving into New York City, for example, another 100 moved out of the city.
Moving Predictions Vary
Some of the moving trends are showing signs of a slowdown. Migration patterns suggest job opportunities and household income levels drove the surge of relocation last year. But there are indicators pointing to a stabilization of the market. In some opinions, the mass moves of 2020 were expected over the next few years anyway and were compressed into a tighter timeline because of the pandemic. So, while the moving trends showed spikes, they were really just representative of moves ahead of scheduled predictions.
Other predictions suggest people are willing to leave the larger cities out of safety concerns. But why move back into the metro areas if so many amenities, local businesses, and entertainment remain closed permanently? Why be close to retail, food, and work if all of those needs can be met online, virtually, and via delivery service? These predictions suggest the moving trend will continue as people reconsider suburbia and more rural living options.
Regardless of why you’re considering a move, you too may soon find life a little easier with a new address. Just remember, moving may qualify as a special enrollment period under the ACA. And there will be new opportunities for health insurance coverage via the Marketplace. When you’re ready to explore your options, or should you have questions about the available plans and increased subsidies right now, contact W3ll. We can help you navigate to find the most affordable health insurance plans. So all you have to worry about is packing.