The coronavirus pandemic (covid-19) has affected essential businesses like moving companies across the US. From New York City to the West Coast, most moving companies report a shortage in moving truck inventory, drivers, movers, and supplies such as moving blankets.
Adapting to new relocation trends
The relocation industry had to adjust to new regulations like:
- Social distancing – The 6 feet apart rule.
- Wearing masks – eight to ten hours a day.
- Temperature checks – three times a day.
- Extensive hygiene requirements – using a hand sanitizer every so often.
All are very difficult when working in crews assisting residents with local and long-distance moves.
Why is social distancing so important?
Social distancing is essential to keep the covid-19 virus from spreading, and guess what? It works!
People are required to avoid close contact with others and wear a mask at all times while in public. However, some people are not able to afford masks or do not feel comfortable wearing them. That means it is up to company employees to follow proper procedures every single day.
A study done by the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that social distancing works. It suggests that if practiced immediately after the outbreak, it would reduce the number of people infected.
Social distancing does not apply to just company employees but also to individuals moving as well. If you are in contact with someone who has coronavirus, keep your distance and wear a mask.
Is the moving industry following social distancing procedures?
Moving companies are not required to follow social distancing procedures, but it is a great way to stay ahead of the covid-19 if it starts spreading again.
We are, and we hope that companies in other cities are following social distancing as well. The CDC has been actively working with local governments and hospitals to provide information on how companies should handle day-to-day operations.
More people moved out of the top cities because of Covid-19
Since this pandemic started working remotely has been the most common pattern in cities across the entire US. Remote work was mandatory unless you were an essential worker, so fewer people would leave home every day to go to work.
Which top five cities in the US were hit hardest by Covid-19?
- New York City
- New Orleans
- Washington DC.
New York City
The Big Apple was hit hard by the covid-19 pandemic and continues to have a shortage of drivers, movers, trucks, and protective gear.
New York City was the number one most affected city, with more than 14 million people moving out within a year. That means that every mover in the city is running at full speed 24/7!
New York City is also an expensive city to live in, even before covid-19 became a pandemic. The cost of living in New York City is three times the national average, and it continues to increase. Even though more people are moving out, it does not mean that real estate is becoming less expensive.
The city that was affected the second-most by covid-19 is New Orleans. This is no surprise since they have a 47% poverty rate, and the city has not fully recovered from hurricane Katrina.
The cost of living in New Orleans is much lower than the national average, and with more people leaving every day, it means more affordable housing for those who remain.
Following the same trend as New York City, around 14 million people left Washington DC due to Covid-19, and it was one of the hardest-hit cities in the United States.
The nation’s capital is known for having some of the most influential people in the world, and most of them are government officials.
While all companies reported a staffing shortage precisely because of Covid-19, DC drivers, movers, and truck companies were hit especially hard.
The Motor City has been a ghost town for over a year now. With so many people packing up and moving out of Detroit, it’s no wonder why there are more than 10 million vacant homes in the city.
Many companies located in Detroit relocated to other cities across the Midwest, while others went to other regions in the country.
Since Covid-19 has been an issue for so long, most companies had enough time to move out of the city before it got any worse.
Even when Chicago was just the beginning stages of covid-19, people still packed up and left the windy city faster than a coyote chasing after road runners.
While the number of people who left Chicago is not nearly as high as New York City or Washington DC, it was still one of the hardest-hit cities in the Midwest.
One good thing that came out of the covid-19 pandemic for Chicago, it helped clear up the severely overpriced real estate market, which was stuck at a standstill.
Moving companies were exposed to new migration patterns
The previous year to when the pandemic started, Denver, CO, San Francisco, CA, Los Angeles, CA, and NYC were the top five cities people moved to. A few months after the pandemic hit the United States, the long-distance moves pattern shifted to smaller cities such as Boise, ID, Knoxville, TN, Sarasota, FL, and Asheville, NC.
The “Domino effect”
- Why would you live in the larger cities where the rental housing market is so expensive if you’re working remotely?
- Why would you stay in a town if the college campus closed due to Covid-19?
- Why should you stay in a place that is highly contagious right now?
These questions caused a significant increase in demand for long-distance moving companies in more than half of the country.
Living in cities like Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco didn’t make sense since most people worked from home. About a quarter of us, if not more, decided to relocate to cheaper cities that offered the highest net gain. People are taking advantage of the situation and completing a cross-country move to more affordable cities.
For example, say you live in Denver, CO, and your annual salary of $60,000. On average, the rent for an 845 sq. ft. apartment in a decent neighborhood is $2,200
If you were to move to Boise, ID, the average rent for an 885 sq. ft. apartment in a decent neighborhood would be $1,630
|Southeast Boise City||$1,683|
|South Boise Village||$1,637|
|Downtown Boise City||$1,631|
The US average cost of living is 100. The overall average cost of living in Denver is 132 and 107 in Boise
|COST OF LIVING||Denver||Colorado||USA|
|Median Home Cost||$438,364||$394,959||$231,195|
|COST OF LIVING||Boise||Idaho||USA|
|Median Home Cost||$311,750||$271,432||$231,195|
Another reason is the significant increase in the crime rate in top cities like Denver, Colorado
No wonder why more customers and not just young adults, are moving out of state; it’s cost-effective! Residents moving out of big cities isn’t new, but in 2021, we have seen a higher negative migration in the Denver metro area than in the previous year, and Here’s why:
- You get more space for less money
- The rent is much cheaper
- The cost of living is affordable
- Safety of family members
Top twenty growth cities – more than half are in the Southeast region
If you were to move out of state or across the country, where would you go?
Looking at the top 20 most popular relocation destinations for 2021, we see that more than half are in the Southeast region. The other areas with high in-migration are the Northeast and Midwest. The most popular long-distance move destinations were:
Where did people relocate to the most in 2021?
- Boise, ID
- Johnson City, TN
- Knoxville, TN
- Chattanooga, TN
- Sarasota, FL
- Asheville, NC
- Myrtle Beach, SC & Wilmington, NC
- Spokane, WA
- Portland, ME
- Daytona, FL
Ranked 1st on the list of most popular long-distance relocation destinations for 2021, Boise, ID, had a population increase of more than 50% compared to 2020.
This white-collar city is also known as the Silicon Valley of the Rockies, and it’s currently experiencing an economic boom. The State Capitol is surrounded by a growing number of high-tech companies fueling the economy, allowing people to be twice as productive with their jobs compared to other states like Colorado or California.
Boise offers residents many advantages, including a decrease in commute time, higher average disposable income ($3,020), and significant economic opportunities.
Overall, Quality of Life is high; there’s certainly more than just digital jobs participating in the increase of population within the state. The overall quality of life for residents is excellent compared to other states like Florida or California; that includes safety, education, and health care.
Johnson City, TN
Ranked 2nd on the list of most popular long-distance relocation destinations for 2021, Johnson City is part of Washington County, Tennessee.
The growing demand in this area can be attributed to its many opportunities for employment, including health care jobs at East Tennessee State University and various healthcare centers that are part of the region’s growing medical care system.
Ranked 3rd on the list of most popular long-distance relocation destinations for 2021, Knoxville is a city in the eastern part of Tennessee.
With a population increase of 32%, that’s equivalent to more than 15,000 people moving into the area. The majority of people moving to Knoxville are coming from Memphis, Nashville, and Atlanta.
The business job market is thriving in this city; big businesses like FedEx and Regal Cinemas have provided jobs for residents for years now.
Ranked 4th on the list of most popular long-distance relocation destinations for 2021, Chattanooga is on the Tennessee River in southeastern Tennessee.
You can enjoy 4.2% job growth, a low cost of living, and many exciting events in the area all year round. Chattanooga is categorized as a city with an “economy driven largely by manufacturing and tourism, distribution and logistics services.”
Ranked 5th on the list of most popular long-distance relocation destinations for 2021, Sarasota is located in Sarasota County and the southwestern coast of Florida.
The city has experienced a population increase of more than 32% since 2020, suggesting plenty of job opportunities and affordable housing than other cities like Denver or Austin.
Ranked 6th on the list of most popular long-distance relocation destinations for 2021, Asheville is in Buncombe County, North Carolina.
With a population increase of 47%, that’s equivalent to almost 30,000 new residents in this area! The main reason for this growth is due to Asheville’s thriving economy.
The business job market is abundant with opportunities, including jobs in advanced manufacturing and aeronautics. Asheville is ranked as having a large number of employers who offer positions in high-paying industries.
Myrtle Beach, SC
Ranked 7th on the list of most popular long-distance relocation destinations for 2021, Myrtle Beach is located in Horry County, South Carolina.
Its population has increased by more than 23% since 2020, which suggests plenty of job opportunities, much lower job loss than the US average, and affordable housing prices compared to other cities like Virginia, Maryland, or Georgia.
Also ranked 7th on the list of most popular long-distance relocation destinations for 2021, Wilmington is a city in southeastern North Carolina and part of New Hanover County.
With a population increase of 38%, that’s equivalent to almost 20,000 new residents in this area! This growth is attributed to the Port of Wilmington, one of North Carolina’s busiest seaports.
Ranked 8th on the list of most popular long-distance relocation destinations for 2021, Spokane is located in eastern Washington.
Spokane has experienced a population increase of more than 18% since 2020, suggesting plenty of job opportunities and a much lower cost of living than other cities like Seattle or Portland, Oregon.
Ranked 9th on the list of most popular long-distance relocation destinations for 2021, Portland is located in Cumberland County, Maine.
This city is experiencing a population increase of 43%, equivalent to almost 30,000 new residents! Portland’s growing economy and booming business market are attracting a population influx. It is no longer just for a vacation home during the summer season.
Ranked 10th on the list of most popular long-distance relocation destinations for 2021, Daytona Beach is located in Volusia County, Florida.
With a population increase of over 46%, the number of residents in this area has increased by almost 30,000 new citizens! The growth is attributed to Daytona Beach’s thriving economy.
The area is home to many job opportunities in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, aeronautics, high-paying jobs, and an international business hub.
USPS data during the covid-19 pandemic
In the past ten years, the postal service has received an average of 37 million change of address requests per year. During this pandemic, we saw an average of over 2 million people per week requesting a change of address, bringing the total change of address requests to over 192 million, crazy numbers, right?
From a moving company point of view
Reputable moving companies that provided moving quotes by offering in-home surveys had to move forward with a different approach. Thankfully, today’s technology provided the ability to provide accurate moving quotes via virtual surveys.
Although virtual surveys weren’t the same as a meeting with customers in person, they did provide the ability to chat with more customers every day since driving to a home or business was out of the question.
From the customers’ side, we have seen more flexibility during the day since at least one family member was working remotely from home.
The covid-19 pandemic also caused a shortage in storage units and trucks. U-haul customers that rented a moving truck ended up with no truck on their moving day, forcing them to search for a temporary move solution because they had to vacate the current premises.
Temporary moves have become a trend in the last six months. Many customers called our moving company and other companies, begging for assistance on the actual day they were supposed to pick up a moving truck from U-haul.
Moving brokers were taking advantage of the situation with crazy markups on moving estimates, hefty non-refundable deposits, and could not find a reputable moving company in Denver that could provide services in a short set period.
Moving companies delivery delays
Delivering customers household goods as fast as possible is of utmost importance amongst all moving companies. However, the massive shortage of trucks, drivers, and movers caused significant delays across the entire country. Customers in California, Washington, New York, and Florida suffered the most with four to six weeks until their goods arrived at their destination.
Significant price increase
Remember the domino effect we talked about? The same thing happened in every moving company in the US during this pandemic. Here are the reasons why moving out of state has become more expensive than two years ago:
- Gas – Diesel almost doubled in price.
- Packing materials – The cost of all moving supplies doubled and even tripled.
- Packers and movers – The lack of individuals joining the workforce, and not just in the top five cities.
- CDL drivers – Shortage of commercial truck drivers.
- Operational storage – Warehouse space prices increased.
What this industry has seen so far
Even a couple of months after the covid-19 pandemic hit Colorado, the Denver metro area was still suffering from a lack of inventory and a surge in demand for homes.
Colorado has always been known as an adventure hub. Yet, in the last 12 months, we have seen families in Colorado sell their homes and move to more affordable states like Texas, Arizona, Florida, and the Carolinas.
Many adults moved out of the Denver metro area to smaller cities to save money and achieve the highest net gain by lowering housing and monthly expenses.
Yet, Colorado is still home to many young individuals and families who chose to stay in Denver for the quality of life. Some employees have decided not to move out of Colorado yet because they are still trying to find a job or waiting for the bank to approve their relocation mortgage.
The most surprising thing we discovered in this pandemic is that some city governments are setting up temporary housing for employees before or after they get reassigned to a different city.
What have we learned during the coronavirus pandemic?
The moving industry knows more than ever that the pandemic is real. With so many families leaving their homes behind, we have seen increased demand for moving and storage services.
We learned a lot from this pandemic, and most importantly, we understood that when something goes wrong in our lives, it is best to stay calm and look for solutions. As a Denver moving company, we have never seen the industry so fragile.
As a family-owned and locally-operated business in Denver, CO, we are eager to continue working with our customers and provide them with stress-free services during what has been a tough time for everyone in Colorado and other states.
We will keep you posted with the latest industry news on residents moving to other cities. You can also reach out to us anytime via email or phone with your questions and concerns. We hope you stay healthy and safe in these challenging times!