House Sale Index: Which States are Americans Looking to Move to?

House Sale Index

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House Sale Index

Which states are Americans looking to move to?

On average, Americans move home 11.7 times during their lives which equates to (at the current population level) collectively 3.88 billion house moves. For most, house moves are exciting and the prospect of a fresh start in a new neigbourhood can drown out any nerves and worries you might have. Often it’s not just yourself making the move, as your furniture, belongings, and even pets need to come along too.

Some moves are short, perhaps just down the road, or even down a few floors in an apartment block, whilst others are huge state-switching moves hundreds of miles apart. But which states are Americans currently gravitating towards? By analyzing house price increases, as well as searches by American people, we can identify the states people want to move to most. On top of this, we can also reveal which states are the most expensive to buy a home in and which are the most affordable. 

Most expensive states to move to

Most expensive states to move to

1. Hawaii, average house price: $636,400

The state with the highest house prices on average is Hawaii. This Pacific Island is the only US state not on the North-American mainland, so it’s unsurprisng that moving to Hawaii from any other state is considered a big move. Aside from this, immediate costs to consider include  flights and shipping costs for belongings, as well as taking into consideration that house prices in Hawaii are almost $400,000 higher than the average national house price. 

2. District of Columbia, average house price: $618,100

The second most expensive house prices in the US are found in the District of Columbia (DC). Although it is not a state, the capital district of the country is home to over 700,000 people. The average house price is just over $618,000, around $370,000 higher than the national average. Although this is expensive, it’s nothing compared to the estimated value of the district's most famous dwelling, the White House (home to the American President) which is worth an eye-watering $397.9 million.

3. California, average house price: $538,500

California and DC are on opposite sides of the country, but they have similarly high average house prices. The golden state is famous for its sunny weather, beautiful landscape, and gigantic vibrant cities, so it’s not surpising to learn that it’s a desirable place to live. The house prices are high here, with the average house price reaching almost $540,000. 

Most affordable states to move to

Most affordable states to move to

1. West Virginia, average house price: $123,200

The cheapest house prices in America on average are in West Virginia, averaging just over $123,000. This price is over $120,000 less than the national average, and more than half a million dollars cheaper than in Hawaii. 

2. Mississippi, average house price: $125,500

House prices in Mississippi are not much different than those in West Virginia, the average price is only $2,300 more, which is still extremely low. Mississippi has the highest poverty rate (19.07%) of any US state, which helps explain the low house prices. 

3. Arkansas, average house price: $133,600

Arkansas has the third most affordable homes in America, the average house price is under $134,000. This means that the house prices are almost exactly $500,000 less than those in Hawaii, and around $10,000 more than the cheapest state. 

States with rapidly increasing house prices

States with rapidly increasing house prices

1. Florida, 29.8% 1-year house price increase:

House prices are increasing by the highest amount in Florida. The southern state, known for its sunny temperatures and laid-back lifestyle, saw an increase of almost 30% in the past year, which could be responsible for increasing demand for moving there, resulting in a high increase in Florida’s house prices.

2. Arizona, 27.5% 1-year house price increase:

The second-highest increase came in another southern state, Arizona, where house prices rose by almost 28%. Many businesses are moving to Arizona from all over the country due to their tax policy, this low tax rate also means that living costs are cheaper, attracting people looking for a more affordable lifestyle, but increasing house prices within the state.

3. Utah, 26.8% 1-year house price increase:

Utah completes the top three states with the highest increase in house prices. They rose by 26.8% in the last year, which is exactly 3% lower than the rise in Florida. Similarly to the other states, Utah is attractive to move to because of its temperate climate and increasing job opportunities. 

States with slowly increasing house prices

States with slowly increasing house prices

1. District of Columbia, 6.6% 1-year house price increase:

The smallest average house price increase occurred in the District of Columbia. This means that the capital territory may not have some of the most expensive houses in the country for much longer, as Californian house value has risen by 20%. 

2. North Dakota, 10.4% 1-year house price increase:

House prices in North Dakota rose by just over 10% in the last year, making it the state with the second-lowest average house price increase. North Dakota has a high average wage compared to other US states, but this is not reflected in the house price increase, meaning workers in the state could get a better deal than others across the country. 

3. Alaska, 10.5% 1-year house price increase:

Alaskan house prices rose by almost an identical percentage to those in North Dakota, with just a 0.1% difference. The state of Alaska is built upon the foundations of the oil industry, and as the world is trying to move away from fossil fuels, the value of Alaska has lessened. 

States with growing interest 

States with growing interest 

1. Virginia, 34.07% 1-year increase in ‘move to Virginia’ searches:

When it comes to the public interest in moving to individual states, it is Virginia that comes out on top. Google searches for “move to Virginia” rose from 13,500 in 2021 to 18,100 in 2022, this is more than a 34% increase!

2. Kansas, 19.68% 1-year increase in ‘move to Kansas’ searches:

Kansas had the second biggest increase in Google searches to move there, they rose from 2,490 to 2,980 between 2021 and 2022. Despite this increase, the total number of searches for moving to Kansas is amongst the lowest of all the states. 

3. Washington, 19.64% 1-year increase in ‘move to Washington’ searches:

The Google search increase for moving to Washington was almost identical to Kansas, searches increased by just 0.04% less. The total number of searches for moving to Washington in 2022 was 3,960, up from 3,910 in 2021. 

States with depleting interest

States with depleting interest

1. West Virginia, 45.25% 1-year decrease in ‘move to West Virginia’ searches:

Whilst searches for moving to Virginia are increasing the most, across the border in West Virginia the opposite is happening, as searches have decreased at the highest rate in the country. Total searches for ‘move to West Virginia” fell from 11,360 in 2021 to just 6,220 in 2022, a decrease of over 45%. 

2. South Dakota, 36.86% 1-year decrease in ‘move to South Dakota’ searches:

Searches for moving to South Dakota have decreased by the second highest amount in America, the landlocked midwestern state saw a 37% decrease in the number of people searching to move there. There were 7,570 Google searches for “move to South Dakota in 2021, compared to just 4,780 in 2022. 

3. Hawaii, 27.04% 1-year decrease in ‘move to Hawaii’ searches:

As outlined earlier, Hawaii has the most expensive house prices of any American state. On top of this, there are expensive logistical costs involved when moving to a state 2,000 miles from the mainland. Consequently, interest in moving to the island state has decreased by 27%, dropping from 65,100 Google searches to just 47,500.

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  • We found the average house price in each US state from world population review.
  • We sourced the growth in house price value in each state from advisor channel
  • We used Google keyword planner to look at the annual search volume for “move to insert state” for each individual state. We compared the total searches in 2021 to those in 2022 to discover the increase or decrease in searches. 
Written by
Ash Read
Ash is the founder of Living Cozy. He's been featured by publishers like MyDomaine, Realtor, Real Homes, Architectural Digest, The Spruce, Homes and Gardens, and more. As a writer his work has appeared in publications like FastCompany, TNW, and Entrepreneur.

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