Net migration and its impact on multifamily

Apr 20, 2021, 13:27 PM by Matt Mowell

In March we hosted our bi-annual Client Forum strongly focused on the future of office. We also took a look at moving patterns and net migration and how this may influence the multifamily sector.

Prior to COVID, we were seeing a pattern of in-migration to metros with healthy demographics such as Dallas, Houston and Phoenix, coming from high-cost coastal cities. COVID escalated this trend and created new trends, such as out-migration to suburban, higher-income areas.

Through the USPS, we were able to obtain a large dataset that opened our eyes to a few other trends in 2020, highlighting the impact COVID had on permanent relocations. Some key takeaways included:

  • Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Detroit and other traditionally slow-growth cities with industrial bases had suffered with out-migration, but COVID reversed this trend
  • High-cost, dense, digital economies in urban environments followed
  • The Southeast cities are also seeing an increase in net migration
  • Net move-ins increased the most in Sacramento, followed by St. Louis
  • Net move-outs increased the most in San Francisco, followed by New York City

The data shows that people who are leaving their homes are not going far; most people moved within 100 miles. We also learned that people largely are not moving from one big city, cross-country to another big city (for example, we aren’t seeing moves from markets like New York City to markets like Seattle). More so we are seeing moves from urban cores to suburban markets near those larger and more dense markets.

“Uptown individuals” are moving the most out of all other demographics. These people are primarily in their mid-30s with above average incomes, single and childless, and likely have the ability to work remotely. Though they did move out of urban cores much more than any other group, we do not believe these moves are permanent, which was backed by correlating data showing that multifamily rents increased the most in the markets people flocked to in 2020 suggesting renters are still renters, not first-time home buyers.

Watch the recording of the net migration Client Forum session here.

Download the presentation here.




Deconstructing CRE

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