Adios, Austin: City ranks 5th among top 10 cities people are leaving in PODS survey – Austin American-Statesman

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Austin has ended up on a new top 10 list, and this time it’s not on one of those “best of” ones.

In its fourth annual report on U.S. moving trends, PODS Enterprises — the moving and storage company known for its portable containers — ranks Austin No. 5 among the top 10 locations people are leaving this year.

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What’s driving Austin’s move-outs?

“Starting in 2020, the advent of remote work, Austin’s then-attractive housing market and the relatively low cost of living compared to major cities like New York and Los Angeles drove new residents to Austin,” Rich Schwartz, senior vice president of corporate operations at PODS, said in an email. “Simultaneously, as more people moved there and the demand for housing rose, Austin home prices increased 60% from 2020 to 2022.

In its fourth annual report on U.S. moving trends, moving and storage company PODS Enterprises ranked Austin fifth among the top 10 locations people are leaving this year.

“As the moving trend continued and peaked in 2022, Austin was ranked the 16th most moved-to city that year on PODS’ Moving Trends Report,” Schwartz said. “The home price increase necessitated a subsequent departure of residents from Austin, which can be attributed to Austin’s absence from PODS’ 2023 most moved-to list, and why Austin is now among the top cities people are moving out of.”

Schwartz said Austin “was a precursor to the trends we see in 2024, where areas that had seen an explosion in new residents over the past three years are being outpaced by smaller cities with a less expensive cost of living.”

More:April home sales, median sold prices rise in Central Texas and Austin city limits: report

In April, half of the homes in Austin sold for more than $593,500 and half for less, for a 6% increase in the median closing price from the prior April, according to the Austin Board of Realtors’ latest statistics.

Across the five-county Austin region from Georgetown to San Marcos, half of the homes sold last month went for more than $469,998 and half for less, for a 1.1% increase in the median closing price, the board said.

In the past couple of years, apartment leasing declined in Central Texas due to slower migration and slower job growth, coupled with a supply of rental units that exceeds demand, local real estate experts have said. Austin’s tech sector has seen layoffs by companies including big firms such as Oracle, Amazon, Google and Meta’s Facebook, which experts say have contributed to slower apartment leasing and fewer people moving in.

More:What’s ahead for the Austin-area housing market? Check out these highlights

“Job growth is continuing, but at a slower pace due primarily to layoffs in the tech sector,” Charles Heimsath, an Austin-based real estate market expert, told the Statesman last year.

As for population growth, the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos region is now No. 2 among U.S. cities with populations over 1 million after being first for 12 years. However, the growth estimates still show “a continued trend of strong and rapid population growth for the Austin metro area even if we’re not at the very top of the list,” Lila Valencia, the city of Austin’s demographer, said in a March news release.

Where are people flocking to?

The report said the Carolinas accounted for 30% of the Top 10 U.S. relocation hot spots, while the Southern Appalachians are drawing those seeking a better cost of living and warmer climates.

“Last year, we noted the Carolinas were worth watching, and this year, they’ve not only taken the trophy as the number one spot for new moves but also broken a record,” Schwartz said.

More:Is Austin still the fastest growing metro in the US? Nope. But it’s still booming

For the second year in a row, Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Wilmington, N.C.., took the top spot for move-ins in the PODS survey. Raleigh, N.C., jumped 14 places from last year, coming in sixth in 2024.

“More Americans are calling the Southeast home with the promise of lower costs of living, an exceptional quality of life, an incredible food scene, easy access to nature, and vibrant metro areas,” the survey said. “This migration highlights the region’s broad appeal to those craving a more balanced lifestyle at a reasonable price point without sacrificing modern amenities and rich cultural experiences.”

The entire Southern Appalachian region is booming, “with droves of people seeking the ‘quiet life’ in states like Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama,” the report said.

The survey listed these cities with the highest number of move-ins:

  1. Myrtle Beach, S.C./Wilmington, N.C. (first in 2023)
  2. Ocala, Fla. (fourth in 2023)
  3. Houston (fifth in 2023)
  4. Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C. (10th in 2023)
  5. Charlotte, N.C. (16th in 2023)
  6. Raleigh, N.C. (20th in 2023)
  7. Phoenix (18th in 2023)
  8. Knoxville, Tenn. (seventh in 2023)
  9. Jacksonville, Fla. (eighth in 2023)
  10. Asheville, N.C.  (17th in 2023)

Where are people leaving?

Schwartz said expensive metro areas are prompting Americans to move to cities and states with lower costs of living and more balanced lifestyles.

Los Angeles, Northern California, South Florida’s Miami metro and Long Island, N.Y., continue to see the largest population exoduses, the report said.

“While the draw to natural surroundings is a driving force, skyrocketing costs of living have proven equally influential in this lifestyle pivot,” the report said. “Exorbitant housing costs, overcrowding, and hefty tax burdens have become, for some, insurmountable challenges in these urban centers. As a result, many residents find themselves priced out and seeking reprieve from major cities. This mass relocation underscores the growing appeal among Americans in prioritizing access to nature and a more sustainable quality of life over the pace of city living.”

PODS listed these cities as having the most move-outs:

  1. Los Angeles (first in 2023)
  2. Northern California (San Francisco area, second in 2023)
  3. South Florida (Miami area, fifth in 2023)
  4. Long Island, N.Y. (fourth in 2023)
  5. Austin (not ranked in 2023)
  6. Central New Jersey (sixth in 2023)
  7. Chicago (third in 2023)
  8. San Diego (14th in 2023)
  9. Stockton-Modesto, Calif. (ninth in 2023)
  10. Hudson Valley, N.Y. (11th in 2023)

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