Metro to Metro Moves: The Most Popular Moving Routes in 2024

It’s moving season. Which roads are being traveled between America’s biggest cities the most in 2024?

It turns out that often depends on where you’re starting from. For example, more Philadelphians head to New York City than anywhere else, but Phoenicians look to the Windy City when the sun gets too hot to handle.

However, some routes are more popular than others. We looked at 100K searches for moves made so far this year to find out the most popular routes for movers in 2024.

Table of Contents:

1. The top moving routes by search volume
2. Top moving routes by searches per capita
3. Top metros to move to in 2024
4. Top metros to move out of in 2024
5. Methodology

Big Takeaways

  • From LA to NYC: Take a bite of the apple. In 2024, the most popular metropolitan move route is Los Angeles, CA, to New York, NY.
  • The 10 most searched routes are leaving California, New York, or Illinois. Of the top NY exits, all head for Sunbelt metros: Miami, LA, Houston, and Tampa.
  • Tech workers are trading cities. Silicon Valley is headed to Austin, while Austinites are flocking to Seattle. Seattleites are moving to San Francisco more than anywhere else.
  • Per capita rankings spotlight the Myrtle Beach metro. It is not only the most popular metro to move to in the US per capita, but a single outbound route from Myrtle Beach to Hagerstown, MD, is the most popular US moving route per capita.
  • Houston metro is #1 by net search volume, with 2.5% more than #2 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC/SC.
  • 5 of the top 10 exit metros are in California. Los Angeles has the highest interest in outbound moves, with 42% more outbound inquiries than runner up San Francisco. Per capita, the prize goes to San Francisco.

The #1 move route by pure volume: Los Angeles to New York

Overall, you’ll find the most traffic on the road heading from Los Angeles to New York.

This route comprises 1.31% of all moveBuddha’s searches. Angelinos in New York City wind up with slightly lower average home costs (yet massively higher rents). They also stand to shave a little off their incomes.

But on the whole, both cities have some of the country’s highest taxes, a high cost of living, and progressive politics.

Here are the most searched routes in 2024:

  1. Los Angeles, CA to New York, NY
  2. New York, NY to Miami, FL
  3. New York, NY to Los Angeles, CA
  4. San Francisco, CA to New York, NY
  5. Los Angeles, CA to Dallas, TX
  6. Los Angeles, CA to Las Vegas, NV
  7. Chicago, IL to New York, NY
  8. Los Angeles, CA to Seattle, WA
  9. Chicago, IL to Dallas, TX
  10. New York, NY to Houston, TX

So why move to Gotham?

While New York suffered massive population loss at the beginning of the pandemic, it gained in search demand in 2023. While the state still lost more people than it attracted, New York City is a bright spot. Unlike Los Angeles, it’s walkable, culture-soaked, and boasts a subway system that gets former West Coasters out of their cars a lot more often.

With San Franciscans and Chicagoans also making the move to New York City in high numbers, it stands to reason that transplanted New Yorkers already love city life and are simply looking for new opportunities rather than cost savings or political change.

Since California is a top move-out state and Los Angeles is its biggest city, moving costs can soar, especially in the summer when moving trucks all head in the same direction. With a professional moving truck, the trek east will cost movers between $2,056 and $10,356, depending on the size of their move and its timing.

New Yorkers are luckier. Heading the opposite route will set them back between $1,997 and $8,793.

New Yorkers head to Sun Belt cities

New Yorkers call it quits, they head for warmer climates, with Miami, FL, Los Angeles, CA, and Houston, TX (all on the country’s top 10 move routes). That might reflect that moves out of New York are primarily retirees or movers looking for a more dramatic lifestyle change.

While New York City real estate prices have fallen slightly over the past year, the average home costs about 30% more than in Miami.

And in Houston, New Yorkers will pay a whopping 175% less for an average house.

However, moving costs are comparable for all three popular routes. Relocating a studio apartment from New York to Houston this summer using professional movers costs $1,395 to $5,155 while heading to Miami will cost between $1,281 to $5,184.

Big cities and tech hubs dominate the most searched routes per capita

When we adjust for per-capita moves, the country’s biggest cities remain many of the top exit and destination points for moves in 2024.

For example, moves between the nation’s largest job hubs are extremely popular routes in 2024, from San Jose to Seattle and Austin, Seattle to San Francisco, and San Francisco to New York.

Here are the most searched moving routes per capita in 2024:

  1. Myrtle Beach, SC to Hagerstown, MD
  2. New Haven, CT to New York, NY
  3. San Jose, CA to Seattle, WA
  4. Charleston, SC to Charlotte, NC
  5. San Francisco, CA to New York, NY
  6. Allentown, PA to New York, NY
  7. San Jose, CA to Austin, TX
  8. Austin, TX to Seattle, WA
  9. Seattle, WA to San Francisco, CA
  10. Salt Lake City, UT to Dallas, TX

(The per capita ranking is measured by comparing the number of route searches compared to the population of the origin/outbound city.)

Tech cities play musical chairs

With significant layoffs in tech companies (83,749 workers in 2024), tech hubs like Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Austin are all vying to rekindle the spark.

Companies like Oracle are getting in on the game, first moving from Silicon Valley to Austin and recently to Nashville.

Small cities lose to regional hubs

We also see smaller routes illuminate another trend in America’s moves: moving regionally, or even within a state, to a nearby metro area is trendy. New Haven, CT getting a little sleepy? Looking for more theater than Allentown, PA, has to offer? Head for the Big Apple.

You won’t save any dough: New Haven’s median home price of $295,201 is tiny compared to New York’s wallet-busting $748,012. The same is true in Allentown, where you’ll pay an average of $280,831 for a home.

Charleston to Charlotte’s home prices tell a slightly different story: movers on this route find prices slightly lower in their new digs. But if it’s savings they’re after, movers aren’t choosing the best destinations.

These regional moves don’t make sense based on cost alone. They favor more prominent, expensive destinations with diverse economies. Is it time to leave the beach and head back to the office?

The top move routes suggest that in 2024, being closer to the action is the goal.

The surprising route that tops all others per capita

Myrtle Beach, SC, to Hagerstown, MD tops the per capita route ranking.

Myrtle Beach, SC, also comes in 1st in the country for inbound moves per capita.

So why would moves exiting the top move-to city surface at the top of the moving route list?

Well, why not?

Hagerstown is redeveloping its historic downtown, and art and farmer’s markets are taking over summer weekends. Hikers can head to the Blue Ridge and Anteidem mountains. With a regional airport, newcomers won’t even have to head to D.C. In 2023, a new baseball stadium project and Amazon fulfillment center sparked the revitalization of the downtown core of this charming town that’s usually off the commuter path.

In Hagerstown, homes are slightly more affordable than in Myrtle Beach, but the real saver is home insurance costing 23% less than the national average. In Myrtle Beach, it costs nearly 50% more.

With the top moves to Myrtle Beach coming from New York and Washington, D.C., it’s possible rapidly rising home values are sending beach dwellers back to more affordable Northeastern cities — just a little further from the Beltway this time.

10 metros people are looking to move to the most

The South has risen again, with 9 cities in the top 10 metros with the most move inquiries so far in 2024. By net move-in search volume alone, Houston tops the list. With affordable housing, movers from Los Angeles (the #2 top metro for moves into Houston) with a studio can expect to pay between $1,242 and $6,321 to relocate to this one-time oil town.

With 310 days of sun per year, Las Vegas is hardly an outlier. While it’s not technically in the south, it’s a growing Sunbelt city with retirement options, entertainment, and an economy paying out faster than a slot machine.

Per capita, smaller cities (all in the South) emerge as popular destinations outside the hustle of big economic hubs as regional hubs grow in prominence, with sky-high inbound moves.

Raleigh-Cary, Charleston, Greenville, North Port-Bradenton, and Knoxville are all powerhouse cities (or suburbs) in their own right. Newcomers find they can jump into established corporations, startup scenes, tourism hotspots, and university resources.

10 metros people are leaving the most

California’s moves out are undeniable. For 20 years, high outmigration has sent more Californians out of state faster than new residents could replace them. The outflow has sped in recent years, while international immigration hasn’t made up for the losses.

So far this year, the Los Angeles metro area has netted 42% more net outbound inquiries than its closest competition (and state-mate), San Francisco.

Further, San Francisco gets 28% more requests for out-moves than #3 Chicago.

On a per capita basis, San Francisco brings home the prize, but it’s clear both metro areas see the backside of more moving vans than anywhere else — by a significant margin.

5 of the top 10 cities to leave are in the Golden State, showing that the trend to flee California isn’t going away in 2024. And sure, California’s megalopolis cities contribute to the country’s largest single-state population. But fiddling with those numbers doesn’t make things brighter for California. Per capita, the state contributes 6 of its cities to the top ten list of move-outs (adding Santa Rose-Petaluma).

Miami, Tallahassee, and Memphis all stand out as southern belles that aren’t thriving on the same level as the rest of the region.

While Miami has failed to woo middle-class movers with its high cost of living compared to other Florida cities, Memphis and Tallahassee struggle with small economies that can’t support new workers from diverse industries. All are losing potential residents to southern cities with more developed economies, lower costs, and new job opportunities.

The (affordable) urban jungle reigns in 2024

While there was much pandemic talk about moving to exurbs or small towns, working from home, and leaving the big city behind, 2024’s popular move routes show that this pattern is not the current reality.

Today, movers are trading large cities for other large cities, flowing from California to New York and often back again or between regional economic and tech hubs.

But they’re also moving to regional hubs with diverse economies where they can still snag homes for affordable prices. Hotspots like Charlotte, Raleigh, and Houston are blossoming, becoming magnets for young talent.

Can movers have it all? They’ll soon find out. In the meantime, they’ll follow both jobs and affordable housing wherever they emerge.


We looked at over 100,000 queries made using the moveBuddha Moving Cost Calculator at any time from Jan 1 through May 17, 2024.

Top move-to route analysis: Only routes with at least 25 searches were considered for the route-based analysis.

To find the top routes we looked at those with the most searches by pure volume and also per capita (comparing the number of searches to the outbound city population).

Metro move analysis: Only metros with at least 100 searches for moves both in and out were considered to determine the top metros for moves in or out. This resulted in 132 metros included in the analysis.

To find the top move-to metros by net moves we took the number of searches for moves in to a metro minus those out to find the net moves. We then ranked them based on those with the highest net searches for moves in. For per capita, we divided the net moves by the metro area population.

Here’s the full list of 132 metros considered in the metro move analysis:

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