Monthly Moving Trends: The Big Cities Everyone Wants to Move to in 2024 — May 2024

Every month, moveBuddha pulls the freshest data from their Moving Cost Calculator to understand where people are moving to and from across the United States in real-time. This report takes a look at moves into and out of the nation’s 150 largest cities. 

Updated: May 21, 2024

Moving trends for the 150 largest US cities:

  • As moving season swings into motion, Corpus Christi (TX) climbs into the spotlight as a move-to hotspot. The coastal town has the highest interest in moves in vs. out of the biggest cities in America with a move in-to-out ratio of 2.34.
  • The top move-to cities are located in the top move-to states of 2024, like Chattanooga (TN) and Cary (NC) both seeing twice as many searches for moves in as out.
  • The majority of big cities with the highest exit rates are in California, home to 23 of the 70 big cities seeing way more searches for moves out than in.
  • Of cities with populations over 1 million, only NYC and those in Texas are seeing higher rates of interest in moves in rather than out: San Antonio, NYC, Houston, and Dallas. 
  • America’s big cities seeing increased interest from movers are also seeing home values skyrocket, as much as 90% in Knoxville (TN) in the last five years.

Corpus Christi, Cary, & Chattanooga are move-to magnets as of May 2024

As of May 2024, the big city with the highest inflow of new moves is Corpus Christi, Texas with a move ratio of 2.34, meaning there are 234 moves in for every 100 moves out.

With 2.34 in-moves for every move-out, Corpus Christi, TX is suddenly getting a lot of interest from movers. A rising number of jobs in the Coastal Bend may be a contributing factor, including construction on the billion-dollar Tesla lithium plant and new housing developments.

Compared to the other top 10 big cities drawing in high rates of interest from movers, Corpus Christi homes are much more affordable. As of April 2024, Zillow’s Home Value Index shows homes cost about $224K for the typical buyer. That’s over $125K less than the typical home value in the United States ($359K, May 2024).

Other cities consistently seeing two times more interest for moves in than out are hotspots Chattanooga, TN, and Cary, NC, both located in 2024’s most popular states to move to.

Of the 142 cities, 67 are seeing higher mover interest, 5 have a straight 1:1 ratio, and 70 are seeing more interest in moving out.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of big cities with the highest exit rates are in California, home to 23 of the 70 big cities seeing way more searches for moves out than in.

 

Where really big is getting bigger in 2024: NYC and Texas cities

Of the nation’s cities with populations of at least 1 million, 4 are seeing a significantly higher proportion of searches for moves in than out.

And following the latest Census release of the largest-gaining cities from last year, it’s no big surprise to see San Antonio is still leading the way in 2024.

City, ST 2024 move in-to-out ratio Population
San Antonio, TX 1.22 1,529,133
New York, NY 1.21 8,379,552
Houston, TX 1.19 2,313,238
Dallas, TX 1.16 1,338,846

 

Despite in-to-out ratios in the most populated cities being lower than many of the smaller to mid-size cities, there’s still a significant volume of searches for moves in.

In cities with over a million people, there are always significant numbers of moves into and out of the city. So, an in-to-out ratio above one really signals a steady stream of newcomers, even when there are a lot of exits, too.

In short, even if the in-to-out ratio of a city with over a million people is only 1.2, the sheer volume of moves means that there are a lot of people looking to move in.

On the flip side, smaller cities typically have less mover traffic. So an in-to-out move ratio of 2 can indicate a significant trend and uptick of mover interest but may represent a lower volume of moves headed in.

Overall, the average size of the top big cities to move to highlights that mid-size cities are earning way more interest for moves in than out. The average size of the cities with the highest move in-to-out ratio is just under 300K.

Sun Belt cities have seen skyrocketing home values in the past 5 years

We took a look at which of the big cities are seeing the highest increase in home values in the past 5 years. Some cities are seeing incredibly high spikes.

The top 5 demonstrate that cities in states with year-after-year balloons of interest from relocating Americans are finding increased housing demand straining local affordability.

Especially in Knoxville (TN), where aspiring homeowners may face sticker shock. The typical home here costs 90% more today than it did in 2019.

In fact, of the 25 cities with the highest increases in home values in the past five years, 17 are in the Sun Belt.

This is likely a reflection of the people, power, and money shifting into the Sun Belt in the past few years.

Even while some cities seeing huge increases in home prices in the last 5 years are magnets for movers, others are seeing a rise in home prices despite lower interest in relocation. Like in Worcester (MA) and Milwaukee (WI), both seeing much more interest in moves out than in.

How long can rising prices and falling demand last?

According to moveBuddha moving expert Ryan Carrigan, “Prices don’t always fall with falling demand if supply is also falling. If there are fewer new homes and not many people looking to buy, the prices of houses might stay the same or even go up because there aren’t enough houses for everyone who may want one.”

Growth is still big across Texas

Not only is Texas home to the biggest cities earning the highest interest for moves in, Corpus takes the top spot with the overall highest interest for moves in vs. out as of May 2024.

Plus, the DFW metro area’s Frisco, McKinney, and Plano are continuing to see particularly high interest from movers in 2024, so far.

Texas has been a high-growth story since 2020, adding residents faster than anywhere else in the nation as recently as 2023.

Pandemic darling Austin’s in-to-out move ratio has fallen to 1.02, with real estate values dropping 7.8% in the last year. On the other hand, all three of Dallas-area’s top move-to cities (all northern suburbs of Dallas) are booming, and real estate prices have unsurprisingly risen.

In fact, the DFW metro is #1 for home sales, according to the latest Zillow Count Nowcast (April 2024).

Metro April 2024 Sales Count (Zillow)
Dallas 7117
Houston 5974
San Antonio 2148
Austin 2087
El Paso, TX 573
[Sales Count Nowcast metro average for April 2024: 2215]

 

Texas cities are clearly still booming with new moves.

Of the nation’s biggest cities, 11 Texas cities land in the top 50 of those attracting the most interest from movers.

When you’re big, like Texas, you can spread out the population boom a little bit.

What’s going to happen in 2024?

  • As we hit moving season, mover searches are increasing.
  • This uptick provides clearer insights into which cities are earning the most interest from movers in 2024

Movers like to relocate during the summer when kids are in school, and the weather is most likely to cooperate. That means that move planning is on track to heat up and we will see more clearly where Americans are heading this year. 

If it’s not these exact cities that come out on top by the end of the year, we’re certainly seeing a cluster of medium-sized cities with low-average to average real estate values in the Sun Belt dominating the country’s moves so far in 2024. Look for more of the same, as up-and-coming cities like Corpus Christi, Cary, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Winston-Salem, and Frisco keep winning new residents.

Methodology & Sources

We use moveBuddha proprietary data collected from January 2024 through May 17, 2024, to analyze move trends in this report.

The data comes directly from searches using the moveBuddha Moving Cost Calculator.

In-to-out ratio: We rely primarily on the in-to-out ratio equation in our analysis to see which cities are earning more residents by moves in than losing them via moves out: [Number of queries for moves in] ÷ [Number of queries for moves out] = [in-to-out ratio].

City level analysis: The city analysis takes into account the most recent annual data, meaning it analysis searches made in 2024, from Jan 1 through May 15. We look only at the 150 largest cities in the United States in our city-level analysis, 8 of which are omitted due to insufficient search data. Only cities with a minimum of 25 searches for moves both in and out are considered, a total of 142 cities.

Zillow Home Value data is used for understanding the home value and home value percentage increase over time.

U.S. Census data is used for population.

Full dataset for cities:

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