BAM Key Details: 

  • New research from Home Bay and Allied Van Lines shows half of Americans who moved in 2023 spent $2,000 or more to relocate—an uptick from the 46% who spent that much to move in 2022. 
  • Over half (53%) said the total cost of moving was higher than they expected, and a full 86% of those who moved last year have regrets.
  • Despite the high cost, 75% of respondents say they’re glad they moved. 

Half of Americans who changed addresses in 2023 spent at least $2,000 to relocate, compared to 46% who spent that much the year before. And movers have definitely noticed the trend.

That’s according to new research from Home Bay and Allied Van Lines. And while roughly 58% of long-distance movers say driving across the country in a moving truck would stress them out, 28% made the leap anyway. 

Over half of the Americans who moved in 2023 (53%) experienced higher-than-expected moving expenses. And 54% said the total cost of moving was higher than they anticipated. 

About one in three (33%) admitted they didn’t budget correctly for the move. And according to the survey, a full 86% of those who moved last year have regrets. 

That said, despite the higher costs and the stress involved, 75% are happy they moved. 

Was moving always this expensive?

Moving everything from one home to another is an ordeal in itself. And the larger the family, the more expensive it tends to be, especially for those who hire a moving company to help. 

Almost nine out of 10 respondents (86%) reported having regrets about their move, mainly related to the cost of the move and the stress involved. 

With movers charging by both size and weight, about one-quarter of Americans who moved in 2023 (24%) wish they’d downsized their possessions before moving. 

Other regrets:

  • 24% say they miss their old home
  • 20% say the move was too expensive (up from 17% in 2022)
  • 19% say the move was too much of a hassle
  • 18% say the move took too long
  • 18% wish they’d chosen a bigger home to move to
  • 17% wish they’d negotiated a better price

Source: Home Bay

Despite all that, 73% of respondents say moving was worth the hassle, and 75% are glad they moved.

The cost of moving goes beyond finances

If you’ve ever moved, you get it. Moving is stress-FULL. More than a third of respondents listed “the stress of moving” among the challenges they faced. 

Nearly half (46%) say they shed tears at some point (or more than once) during the move. And 42% admitted to fighting with their loved ones. 

Other challenges reported by 2023 movers included—-

  • Packing their belongings efficiently: 33%
  • Adjusting to their new home: 31%
  • Organizing and decluttering before the move: 31%
  • Unpacking their belongings in the new home: 30%
  • Saying goodbye to their old home: 29%
  • Budgeting correctly for the move: 26%
  • Timing move-in and move-out dates: 25%
  • Finding a moving company within their budget: 23%
  • Personal items getting broken or damaged during the move: 23%
  • Coordinating time off from work: 23%

Generally, though, the reasons movers gave for relocating outweighed the costs involved:

  • To improve quality of life: 31% — up from 24% in 2022
  • To upsize their residence: 21%
  • To take advantage of greater work flexibility: 20%
  • To reduce their cost of living: 20%
  • To live closer to family and friends: 20%

About one in five (21%) say they moved in response to a major life change like retirement. 

Only one in 10 (10%) reported moving for political reasons. Some moving companies are even capitalizing on that trend, with Blue Line Moving catering to conservatives moving out of liberal neighborhoods and Flee Red States serving LGBTQ+ movers migrating to friendlier locales. 

    42% of renters who moved last year became homeowners

    On the whole, renters who moved in 2023 had a rougher time with the move, especially since they were less likely (62%) to hire a moving company compared to homeowners (81%). 

    Largely because of that, 70% of renters reported being stressed during the move, compared to 63% of homeowners. And nearly half of renters (46%) reported crying, compared to 41% of homeowners. 

    So, the lower rating for “moving experience” among renters isn’t surprising. While homeowners, on average, gave their moving experience a rating of 7.9 out of 10, the average rating for renters moving last year was 6.8. 

    Also, more than half of the homeowner respondents (51%) gave their experience a 9 out of 10—almost twice the percentage of renters giving their experience the same rating (26%).

    Yet, while almost half of Americans don’t think now is a good time to buy (47%) or sell (48%) a home, 42% of the renters in the survey braved the expense and emotional damage of moving to become homeowners

    In fact, according to survey results, the share of property owners jumped from 29% to 39% in 2023 while the share of renters dropped from 44% to 37%. 

    That said, high mortgage rates and home prices are still making it difficult for renters to buy a home, which is largely why 44% of renters continued renting in the place they moved to, while 11% moved in with family and friends. 

    48% of 2023 movers rank cities as the most desirable place to live

    Local moves are plenty stressful and expensive, as the 78% of respondents who moved within 100 miles can attest. Just 22% moved 100 miles or more, braving the higher cost during a time when nearly half of surveyed Americans say it’s not a good time to move across the country. 

    Among those who moved in 2023:

    • 12% moved to a different house in the same neighborhood
    • 27% moved to a different neighborhood in the same city
    • 29% moved to a different city within their state
    • 19% moved to a different state

    As for neighborhood types, nearly half of the respondents rate cities as the ideal destination for a move. While many city dwellers left large cities during the pandemic, the data shows movers are returning to urban areas for more job opportunities and amenities. 

    Over one-third of respondents (37%) say they lived in a city before moving in 2023, compared to 45% after the move.

    Meanwhile, the share of suburbanites declined from 38% to 30% as 43% of them moved to the city in 2023. 

    Speaking of cities, respondents were asked which ones they would choose to live in if money were no object. These three ranked at the top:

    1. New York City, NY (23%)
    2. Washington, D.C. (22%)
    3. Los Angeles, CA (20%)

    The most desirable states to live in according to survey respondents:

    1. California (32%)
    2. New York (29%)
    3. Florida (24%)
    4. Texas (24%)

    That said, according to migration data from Allied Van Lines, more affordable states like the following had the highest shares of inbound moves: 

    1. Montana (97% inbound)
    2. Vermont (83%)
    3. Arkansas (70%)
    4. Idaho (70%)

    Read the full report for more information, including charts and methodology.