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Migration patterns Americans are on the move, here’s to where

Migration patterns Americans are on the move, here's to where
by Brad Cartier, posted in Newsletter

U-Haul and United Van Lines released migration studies earlier this month highlighting the markets that have the most inward and outward migration. Starting with U-Haul, which calculates growth states using the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a state versus leaving. The top states for growth according to this metric, (including their ranking in 2020) are as follows:

  1. Texas (2)
  2. Florida (3)
  3. Tennessee (1)
  4. South Carolina (15)
  5. Arizona (5)

Similarly, United Van Lines compiled their 45th Annual National Movers Study, indicating “Vermont as the state with the highest percentage of inbound migration (74%) with United Van Lines. South Dakota (69%), South Carolina (63%), West Virginia (63%) and Florida (62%) were also revealed as the top inbound states for 2021.”Here are the states with the most outbound migration:

Top outward migration cities

Source: United Van Lines (accessed Feb. 1, 2022)

The study also found that “many Gen Xers are retiring (often at a younger age than past generations), joining the Baby Boomer generation. While many are retiring to states like Florida, United Van Lines’ data reveals they’re not necessarily heading to heavily populated cities like Orlando and Miami — they’re venturing to less dense places like Punta Gorda (81% inbound), Sarasota (79% inbound) and Fort Myers-Cape Coral (77% inbound). Similarly, in Oregon, cities including Medford-Ashland (83%) and Eugene-Springfield (79%) saw high inbound migration in 2021.”

International immigration into the U.S. is also on the rise, according to Joseph Chamie of The Hill. “The number of America’s immigrants, or foreign-born residents, has reached a historic high of 46.2 million. That figure is the largest number of immigrants ever recorded in any government survey or U.S. census going back to 1850. That record-breaking number is more than four times as large as the 9.6 million immigrants in the country 50 years ago. Since then, America’s population has increased by 60 percent.”

iBuyer activity

New data from CoreLogic indicates that iBuyer activity in 2021 doubled to account for about 1% of all home purchases in the U.S.

iBuying activity on the rise

Source: CoreLogic (Jan. 2022)

“The top five states that comprised 75% of overall iBuyer purchases since 2017 include Texas (20%), Arizona (20%), Florida (12%), Georgia (13%) and North Carolina (10%). While these five states generally ranked in the top five since 2017, the ramp up of activity in 2021 in California brought the state to fourth place, replacing North Carolina.”

The report concludes that iBuyers are generally concentrated in markets with rapid population growth, and that these regions, such as Texas, the South East, South West, and Mountain West, will remain of interest to these types of investors in the future.

This year could be another strong growth year for iBuyers, with Matthew Blake of Housing Wire (subscription required) reporting that Offerpad landed $600M in additional revolving credit, which now totals $1.7 billion, to power its future iBuying.

Cordilia James of The Real Deal reports that Roofstock is purchasing homes with tenants in place. “Rather than purchasing vacant homes, as is common among iBuyers, Roofstock buys discounted homes being rented to tenants, who can remain at least until their lease is up. Most iBuyers don’t want to bother with tenants, whose presence prevents renovations. But Roofstock’s strategy, said CEO and co-founder Gary Beasley, generates cash flow and allows the firm to wait out market downturns before selling.”

Taylor Soper of GeekWire reports that Zillow, fresh off an iBuying disaster, has continued to lay off staff ahead of their quarterly earnings results.

“Zillow reports its Q4 2021 financial data next month on Feb. 10. The report should provide more details about the state of Zillow’s business as [it] transitions away from Zillow Offers, which made up more than 60% of the company’s revenue in the third quarter.”

Finally, for those interested in the bigger iBuying players, read Forbes’ recent article titled, Why Zillow Should Pay $11 Billion To Acquire Opendoor.


Last summer, lumber prices hit record levels before crashing down in the fall. Since the fall, lumber prices have jumped again, almost tripling before falling again in recent weeks. According to Candyd Mendoza of MPA, lumber futures dropped to $1,053 per thousand board feet for the seventh day in a row on Tuesday last week.

According to Jenn Skerritt of Bloomberg, this is the longest price slump since July 2021. This “may signal that soaring costs and transport bottlenecks will crimp demand.”

Lumber volatility

Source: Bloomberg (Jan. 2022)

Jacob Passy of MarketWatch reports on what this means for builders, noting that in December alone building materials rose another 1.5%. Further, the volatility in lumber has added to the pricing pressure as 90% of single-family homes in the U.S. are wood framed. This has contributed to the 19% year-over-year rise in housing prices overall (as of November 2021).

Passy quotes Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), as saying: “The cost volatility you see in the construction space is in part responsible for some of the price gains in the overall housing market.”

Prior to lumber prices decreasing, Justin Ho of Marketplace reported on some of the causes of upticks in lumber prices, noting that flooding in British Columbia has reduced lumber shipments by 20%. Further, ongoing labor shortages in the trucking industry as well as COVID-19 vaccine pressures on the truckers themselves have added to the supply chain bottleneck.

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