Prior to the housing crash, Americans moved frequently. We averaged one move every five to seven years or 11.9% in 2008 according to Pew Research's article, Who Moves? Who Stays Put? Where’s Home? As housing prices dropped, people have remained in their existing homes for many reasons, like concerns about home value and employment uncertainty.
As the economy pulls out of this extended recession, people are wondering if now is the right time to move. Have home prices stabilized, even increased in some markets? Are interest rates going up so if you don't buy now, you might not get today's amazingly low interest rates? With spring right around the corner, it seemed like a good time to explore people's reasons for moving.
Reasons for Moving Haven't Changed
Home owners have many reasons for moving. I've lost count of how many times I've moved, instead counting the 15 houses I've owned. People who've been in the same home for 30 years can't understand all this moving. But one day they'll be ready to sell their home and move!
- Home Upgrade – Often people outgrow their existing home due to family size or a change of lifestyle. When someone has a change in financial status, they often want a new home that is more consistent with their new lifestyle.
- Job Transfer – Job transfers require many people to relocate in order to be closer to work. Transfers are a lot less common today but this was a common practice during my IBM career. One of my college friends actually had a new location between when he accepted the job and his start day.
- Start a Family – Young couples who are renting often purchase their first home when they start a family. They want a stable home where their children can grow up with the same friends, same doctor and more.
- Less Expensive Housing – Those who are retiring or have a change in financial resources often seek cheaper housing. It's common to sell a house that's bigger than they need and either purchase a less expensive home or switch to renting.
- Change in Marital Status – A divorce or a marriage usually requires a home change Someone moves in with a partner or the house has to be sold to split assets. When I left my husband, I decided to move closer to my kids and granddaughter.
Reasons for Moving or Staying
While there are plenty of reasons for moving, there are also alternatives that can help you stay put if that's what you want. For example, if you need more space, consider finishing an attic or basement. This can give you more square footage without changing the footprint of your house, which saves on the costs of a foundation and materials.
There are several types of additions to consider as well. You can maintain your existing footprint by adding on a second floor to your existing house. If you're not opposed to extending your footprint, you can do a bump-out for a little extra space, or add a room or rooms, depending on the amount of living space you need. Read more about additions at Home Additions Add Needed Living Space.
Are you moving because you're not happy with your kitchen? Or maybe your bathroom is old and you want a house with a master suite. A remodeling project might be easier and more cost effective for you than picking up and moving. Talk to a builder or home designer about your options for bringing your home up to date with your current living needs.
Reasons for Moving: Personal or Professional
Sometimes moves can't be avoided. Professional reasons for moving can be either unavoidable, such as a job relocation, or simply desirable. For example, you retire and want to down-size or live in a location more suited to your new lifestyle.
Personal reasons for moving are some of the most common, and include family reasons and housing reasons. Maybe you've recently been married, or divorced. Perhaps you're dissatisfied with your current home, you have a growing family and want to upgrade your home but aren't interested in remodeling. These are common reasons for moving, that drive many homeowners to sell their homes in search of locations more suited to their changing needs.
Are your reasons for moving personal or professional?
Want more detail about who's moving> Here is one global moving companies infographic showing why people move and which states are gaining and losing people.