Renters Made Big Moves in 2023

Welcome, welcome, welcome—we made it to 2024—and in 2023 U.S. citizens made big moves across city and state lines according to new data from Apartment List, which shed new light on the migration patterns of America’s renters. 

All-in-all, migration patterns settled down from pandemic-era trends as in recent years as changing preferences due to the pandemic and the increased adoption of remote work have driven rapid shifts in American’s migration patterns. 

According to Apartment List, most notably, there have been outflows from some of the nation’s largest and most expensive markets and influxes to some more affordable and less densely populated parts of the country that still allow renters to commute remotely. 

But the most recent data show that even as many of the key migration patterns of recent years continue, things are beginning to settle down. In 2023, more renters were looking to stay put in the region where they currently live and fewer were looking to make long-distance moves. 

According to Apartment List, the share of users on their platform looking to move to a new metro or state has now dipped for a second straight year, and the decline in 2023 was more substantial than that of 2022. In 2023, 38.5% of Apartment list users were looking to move to a new metro, down from 40.7% in 2022; the share looking to move to a new state fell from 27.7% to 25.6%.

A slowdown in cross-state migration is also evident in the latest official state-level population estimates recently released by the Census Bureau. Those estimates show that the states that lost population due to domestic migration in 2023 lost less than they did in 2022, while the states that gained population gained less. But even as domestic migration has slowed, the flows show a clear continuation of trends that we’ve seen in recent years. 

It should be no surprise that renters in California and New York were most likely to move, mainly to the Sun Belt, specifically Texas and Florida. For renters looking to move away from California, neighboring Nevada is the most common destination, but Texas and Florida both land in the top 5. With the exception of Washington, the top five destinations for Californians represent a flight to more affordable Sun Belt states. This flight to affordability is less clearly evident in the outbound search destinations for New Yorkers, many of whom are looking to move to other expensive states including New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California. That said, Florida still ranks as the No. 2 search destination for outbound New Yorkers, and Texas falls just outside the top five at No. 6.

An conclusion, Apartment List said that geographic flexibility offered by remote work has caused a significant shock to America’s migration patterns in recent years. At the same time, waning housing affordability has driven many Americans to seek out more affordable pastures. But today, as we near the four-year anniversary of the pandemic’s onset, many remote workers have been called back to the office (at least part-time), and the price advantage of many once affordable markets has been eroded by the skyrocketing prices of recent years. As a result, migration trends appear to be settling down. While the dominant migration patterns of recent years are still prevailing, their magnitude is shrinking. 

Click here to see the report in its entirety. 

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Kyle G. Horst

Kyle G. Horst is a reporter for MortgagePoint. A graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler, he has worked for a number of daily, weekly, and monthly publications in South Dakota and Texas. With more than 10 years of experience in community journalism, he has won a number of state, national, and international awards for his writing and photography including best newspaper design by the Associated Press Managing Editors Group and the international iPhone photographer of the year by the iPhone Photography Awards. He most recently worked as editor of Community Impact Newspaper covering a number of Dallas-Ft. Worth communities on a hyperlocal level. Contact Kyle G. at
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