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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Housing Bust and Mobility

by Calculated Risk on 6/23/2009 10:52:00 PM

From the SF Gate: Housing, unemployment woes leave movers shaken

Sinking home prices and a weak job market have forced normally restless Americans to stay put in an uncharacteristic shift that has, among other things, clobbered the moving industry.

"Property values have dropped so much people can't pick up and move the way they used to," said Michael Hicks, a demographer at Ball State University in Indiana who has tracked the nationwide slowdown using data from several sources, including moving companies.

That industry data mirrors a Census Bureau report that looked at moves in 2008, said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

"The annual migration rate has gone way down to historic low levels," Frey said. "This includes long distance moves and moving across town."

During the 1950s and 1960s, Frey said, as many as 20 percent of Americans moved in any given year. Mobility rates slowed to 15 percent to 16 percent during the 1990s. But in 2008, only 11.9 percent of Americans moved, he said.
A few previous mobility posts: Housing Bust Impacts Worker Mobility April 2008, Housing Bust Impacting Labor Mobility, Dec 2008, Housing Bust and Geographical Mobility, April 2009