The COVID-19 pandemic greatly disrupted the American housing market, causing unprecedented changes in migration. As people rethink how and where they want to live, mid-size cities may be seeing a relocation renaissance. Now, when it comes to cities, is medium the new big?

In a study of over 400,000 moves last year, the relocation assistance company Move-Budda prepared a list of 101 mid-size cities, (with populations between 50-100 thousand), each of which experienced more inbound than outbound moves in 2020.

Many of the results follow well established trends – people are migrating to the south and the southeast often in the suburbs surrounding larger cities.

What you may or many not find surprising is that Portland, along with Missoula Montana, are in the top destinations. Ranking 4th and 2nd respectively these outliers don’t necessarily align neatly with common-sense assumptions about the motivations of movers: neither city is located within a larger area undergoing a boom, both locales have difficult winters and neither Montana nor Maine offer particularly appealing state tax rates. Yet there they are at the top of the list – offering a mix of natural resources, a steady economy and safety – as measured by the County Health Score.

Another important factor influencing medium sized cities is home ownership affordability. For all 101 cities included it would take a homebuyer an average of 4 years’ worth of median household income to purchase the median house. Homes in some of America’s largest cities can be twice the amount.

This type of information, while not representative of the entire national market, does support much of the anecdotal evidence we have come to believe as true, especially if you consider the influx of out-of-sate plates we see every day!

For those who love the details, here is a link to the original report. Moving Trends. If you have any questions or want to learn more about how the local market might impact your next real estate decision, don’t hesitate to call or text.

Until next time, Imagine More.