Hindsight Was 2020! Americans Moved In Record Numbers Because Of The Pandemic.

People weren’t waiting around, it turns out, during the lockdowns of 2020.

Almost 500,000 more households relocated to a different county in 2020 than in 2019 – a total of 7 million Americans – despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Where were they going? What forces drove them to move? A few answers, from a Wall Street Journal report.

Key reasons: An increase in remote work, allowing for more affordable housing options in smaller cities and towns.

Americans, it seems, needed only a pandemic-sized kick in the pants.

It was a confluence of events that led to the exodus from major metro areas. In 2020, the work-from-home policies (no more commuting) meshed with mortgage interest rates hitting all-time lows.

The Journal used Suffolk County, N.Y., and Sonoma County, Calif., as examples:

“Suffolk County, N.Y., on Long Island, saw an inflow of big-city dwellers last year. Households arriving there from large metropolitan areas increased by 70%. Of all the change-of-address forms, 46% indicated they were coming from Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. The previous year, a third of all newcomers came from those counties. … 

“In Sonoma County, Calif., arrivals from San Francisco County doubled in 2020.”

There were a few major metro areas still growing, the Journal said, including Riverside County, Calif. (outside L.A.); Clark County, Nev. (Las Vegas); Maricopa County, Ariz. (Phoenix); and Wake County, N.C. (Raleigh).

According to a New York Times report, “metro New York and the Bay Area had net outflows in 2020 at twice the rate of 2019. And some of these shifts could last: People able to work remotely at least part of the time might accept a longer commute for more land and a bigger house.”

Net out-migration — more people leaving than arriving — accelerated most in big, expensive metros such as San Francisco, New York, Seattle and Boston.

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