Extra Individuals transferring to ‘COVID-free’ Solar Belt states

Job-rich, low-tax countries like the one in the Sun Belt attract many Americans as house prices rise, various recent reports show.

Online real estate marketplace Zillow and moving company U-Haul named Florida and Texas as hot moving destinations in separate reports, while United Van Lines listed Florida and South Carolina among the top states for immigration.

“The Sun Belt states are more affordable and generally have lower tax burdens and more jobs,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, the largest trade association in the industry with 1.5 million members.

Peter C. Earle, a free market economist at the American Institute for Economic Research in Massachusetts, said “a large part” of pandemic migration will continue to be “from states with the strictest pandemic policies towards more relaxed ones.”

“The economies of those states that have used more hands-off policies to tackle the spread of COVID are now growing faster than those that have been repeatedly locked down,” Earle said. “Plus, if a bad bug occurs, people generally want to know that they won’t be unemployed or have to shut down their business overnight, and states like Texas and Florida make that possibility unlikely.”

Zillow reported last week that the sun belt will dominate its list of the hottest real estate markets for the second straight year. Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; and Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina will lead US markets as house prices rise 14% nationwide.

Additionally, Zillow predicted that New York City, Milwaukee, San Francisco, and Chicago will see the coolest housing markets in 2022 due to fewer jobs and less favorable demographic trends.

The real estate company based its report on projections of home appreciation, housing permits, and housing offers.

Mr. Yun of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) predicts that house prices will rise “more moderately” this year, rising 5.7% instead of Zillow’s forecast of 14%.

Eight of the major metropolitan areas for which the NAR is forecasting higher price increases this year are in the Sun Belt states: Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Daphne-Fairhope-Farley and Huntsville, Alabama; Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida; Pensacola Ferry Pass-Brent, Florida; San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas; Spartanburg, South Carolina; and Tucson, Arizona.

Meanwhile, U-Haul reported in its annual growth index last week that Texas ousted Florida with the largest net gain in one-way trucks in 2021, while California and Illinois posted the largest net losses.

Californians were traveling to Texas so quickly that U-Haul “just ran out of inventory” to help them move last year, the company said.

And United Van Lines reported in its 45th annual National Movers Study that two Sun Belt states made the top 5 for immigration in 2021: South Carolina (63%) and Florida (62%) joined Vermont, South Dakota (69%) and West on Virginia (63%).

States like Illinois (67%), New York (63%), Connecticut (60%) and California (59%) were again at the top of the churn list.

“The pandemic has drawn many New York, New Jersey, and California buyers to paradise,” said Nicol Jenkins, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based real estate agent.

Mr. Earle of the American Institute for Economic Research said changes in federal tax law and the recent spike in inflation have made Americans more cost conscious than they have been in decades, and they are leaving “the expensive high-tax areas of the US” in the northeast coast and California for the cheaper sunbelt region. “

“When people move, they tell friends and family, some of whom will follow,” he said. “When companies move, they bring employees and families with them and motivate other companies to do so.”

For more information, see the Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

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