Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Housing Bust and Geographical Mobility

by Bill McBride on 4/22/2009 05:55:00 PM

From the Census Bureau: Residential Mover Rate in U.S. is Lowest Since Census Bureau Began Tracking in 1948

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that the national mover rate declined from 13.2 percent in 2007 to 11.9 percent in 2008 — the lowest rate since the bureau began tracking these data in 1948.

In 2008, 35.2 million people 1 year and older changed residences in the U.S. within the past year, representing a decrease from 38.7 million in 2007 and the smallest number of residents to move since 1962.
Geographic Mobility Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the percent of people that moved to a different county - in the same states or to another state.

Note: data is missing for a few years in the mid-70s.

The recent collapse is probably related to the housing bust. It is very difficult for homeowners with negative equity to move.

From the NY Times today: As Housing Market Dips, More in U.S. Are Staying Put
The declines appeared to be directly related to the housing slump and the recession.

“It represents a perfect storm halting migration at all levels, since it involves deterrents in local housing-related moves and longer distance employment-related moves,” said William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution.
For a few earlier posts on the housing bust and mobility:

More on the Housing Bust and Labor Mobility June 2008

Research: Housing Busts and Household Mobility October 2008