Skip nav to main content.

Pandemic Did Not Facilitate Cross-Country Moves, According to Knock Survey

The desire for more space and flexibility to work remotely prompted Americans to rethink what…

  • August 24, 2021

The desire for more space and flexibility to work remotely prompted Americans to rethink what they want in a home over the past year.

While for some it meant relocating to a different state, nearly six of every 10 pandemic homebuyers opted for a new, often less populated city in the same state, according to a new survey just released by real estate technology company Knock.

According to the survey of more than 2,000 homeowners, the pandemic encouraged younger generations of homeowners to move, a trend that will continue in the coming year.

Among those who moved during the pandemic, 58% were either millennials or Gen Z. However, rather than moving across the country, many are choosing less-populated suburban and rural areas in their existing state.

Pandemic buyers sought out less populated areas in their current state

Among those who purchased a home during the pandemic, nearly three-quarters (72%) moved to a new area, with 59% moving to a new city in the same state. Nearly four-in-10 (39%) of these buyers selected a city/town with fewer than 10,000 people.

This is significantly higher than those who moved before the pandemic, with a little over half (54%) reporting they moved to a new area and 41% saying they moved to a new city within the same state. In addition, only 29% of people who purchased their home prior to the pandemic live in a city/town with fewer than 10,000 people.

Southerners led the rest of the country in home purchases during the pandemic. Fifty-one percent of those who moved during the pandemic live in the South, compared to 38% who moved prior to the pandemic. Nearly one-in-five who moved during the pandemic live in either the Midwest (19%) or West (19%) and one-in-10 live in the Northeast (11%).

Who’s moving, to where and why?

Nearly one-quarter (24%) of homeowners surveyed plan to purchase a new home within the next year. Moreover, these homeowners skew younger, with nearly half (49%) being either Gen Z or millennials.

Of those homeowners who plan to move within the next year, the trend toward in-state moves to less populated areas is likely to continue, at least in the short term. More than two-thirds (69%) of homeowners expecting to buy a new home in the next year would like to relocate to a new area, and 43% want to move to a city/town with fewer than 10,000 people.

Millennials and Gen Z will help continue to fuel the shift to smaller towns and cities. Thirty-seven percent of millennials and Gen Z want to buy their next home in a city or town with fewer than 10,000 people. Roughly one-third (32%) of Gen X and one-quarter (25%) of Baby Boomers/Silent Generation future homebuyers feel similarly.

Analyzing longer-term, overall moving trends, a majority of those considering a move will likely remain in the region where they currently live, with Westerners and Southerners more likely to stay put and Midwesterners and Northeasterners more likely to move.

Eighty-six percent of those currently living in the West and 84% of Southern movers plan to remain in their current region. In the Midwest, 70% plan to stay in the region, while 17% plan to move to the South, 6% plan to move to the West and 1% plan to move to the Northeast.

Of those currently living in the Northeast, just over two-thirds (67%) plan to stay in the region, while a quarter plan to move to the South, 6% plan to move to the West and 1% plan to move to the Midwest.

California leads the list of top moving destinations at 12%, followed by Florida (11%) and Texas (9%).

A desire for a larger home (40%), quiet neighborhood (39%) and outdoor space (37%) were the top reasons prompting homeowners to make a move.

Find out more at www.knock.com