DemographicsNational Housing Market Outlook

3 Migration Shifts Shaping Housing Markets in 2024

Eric Finnigan photo
Chris Porter photo

Eric Finnigan

Chris Porter

March 5, 2024

We’ve identified three real-time shifts in domestic household migration by analyzing recent change-of-address forms. Housing executives should anticipate varying impacts by market, influenced by housing demand, home prices, and builder land acquisitions.

  1. Less activity: the Covid migration surge has ended.
  2. Keep driving to the outskirts of high-priced areas
  3. Invest in the winner markets: see the graphic below for migration winners and losers.
Demographics clarity coming this Thursday, March 7

Insights like these will be featured in our new quarterly Burns US Demographics Insights and Strategies report , which will be included in all flagship research memberships beginning this month. 

2024 migration shift #1: the Covid migration surge has ended.

People are generally moving less than they did during what we coined “The Great American Move” of 2020 and 2021. This moderation makes sense, given the lack of homes for sale and rent and because many people have locked in low mortgage rates.

Where migration is occurring, more moves appear to be a shorter distance. A larger share of moves is occurring within the same metro area rather than between metro areas, which accelerated during the pandemic. 

Fewer households are leaving cities for the suburbs. Urban areas lost population in 2020–2021 as people moved to suburbs for more space. That shift has reversed: more urban households are moving to other urban areas than leaving for the suburbs.

Real-Time Migration Takeaways

Expect out-of-town buyers and renters to impact home prices and rents less in 2024.

2024 migration shift #2: affordable areas near major, higher-priced metros are migration hot spots.

High-growth markets have become increasingly expensive to buy and rent homes, forcing many potential home buyers to relocate to a nearby, smaller market with more affordable homes.

Below, we highlight three examples of major markets where domestic in-migration has slowed significantly—even going negative recently in Orlando—and the nearby metros they lost the most households to over the last year, per our migration data.

In each instance, the destination metro area had a lower median home price than the original metro, helping to solve the affordability problem (though likely increasing commuting time).

Real-Time Migration Takeaways

Expect stronger migration and housing demand in more affordable metros near major, higher-priced metros.

Expect builders to buy and option more land for future development in smaller, more affordable metros near major, higher-priced metros (e.g., Lakeland, FL, Killeen, TX, and Greeley, CO).

2024 migration shift #3: recent winners and losers among the large markets

Migration trends evolve. While generally slowing overall, there are some significant differences by market. The chart below shows how migration is trending in 35 major markets around the country. By studying these patterns and understanding where demand is shifting, executives can have more confidence in their development investment decisions.

Real-Time Migration Takeaways

Migration patterns differ greatly by market and over time, impacting housing demand.

To understand current housing demand in your local market and county, visit the JBREC Real-Time Migration Dashboard for an up-to-date view of domestic migration trends.

How changing migration patterns will impact local housing markets in 2024

  • Expect out-of-town buyers and renters to impact home prices and rents less in most metros.
  • In more affordable metros near major, higher-priced metros, expect stronger migration and housing demand.
  • Expect builders to buy and option more land for future development in smaller, more affordable metros near major, higher-priced metros (e.g., Lakeland, FL, Killeen, TX, and Greeley, CO).
  • Migration patterns differ greatly by market and over time, impacting housing demand.
 

This analysis addresses moves within the US based on change-of-address information. Foreign immigration is distinct from domestic migration and can significantly affect multiple gateway markets.

How can executives navigate demographic shifts?

The Burns US Demographics Insights and Strategies report is a reliable, one-stop source for demographic insights and forecasts for housing industry executives.

Launching to research clients on Thursday, March 7.

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About The Author

Eric Finnigan photo
Eric Finnigan
Vice President of Demographics Research
Eric co-leads demographics research at JBREC, helping clients understand how trends in population, households, and migration impact housing demand. He also oversees the US Remodeler Index, a quarterly survey covering the residential remodeling industry.
Chris Porter photo
Chris Porter
Senior Vice President, Chief Demographer
Chris brings clarity to JBREC’s clients on demographic trends and translates their impact on local housing markets. He also analyzes and compares local housing market metrics in JBREC’s Metro Analysis and Forecast and Regional Analysis and Forecast monthly reports.

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