Americans on the move following Great Recession

Roughly a decade ago, the major story regarding the national real estate market was the mass exodus of citizens from northern states to the sunbelt, where properties were abundant and affordable. However, when the housing bubble burst at the tail end of 2007, a wave of foreclosures swept over the southern United States, as property values plummeted and demand sank to near-record lows.

However, recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that the southbound exodus may be on the verge of returning, as families appear to be fleeing the North in hopes of capitalizing on the recovering sunbelt housing market.

According to USA Today, "domestic migration" was as high last year as it has been at any point in the last five years. For instance, more than 16.9 million individuals have moved to different counties, while long-distance interstate moving accounted for roughly 7 million of those individuals in 2012 – a 5 percent increase over domestic migration in 2010.

And the numbers indicate that those regions hit hardest by the Great Recession are those benefiting most from the great move South. Florida, Arizona and Nevada, for instance, are three states that saw record rates of foreclosure just a few years back and are now seeing home sales skyrocket back from the trough of the Great Recession.

History appears to be repeating itself, as the northern states that are being hit hardest by this phenomenon are the ones that were seeing residents relocate in droves before the Great Recession. For instance, New York state lost roughly 136,000 residents over the course of 2012, while Massachusetts saw 15,600 citizens relocate over the same span of time. 

At the same time, property values in major cities within these states like New York City and Boston have been skyrocketing over the past year. And while core urban populations are on the rise, with metros attracting a wealthier consumer, these cities are becoming less hospitable to lower-income families, who are flocking south while housing costs remain somewhat affordable.

Another major factor for individuals to relocate is to take advantage of more energy efficient living in parts of the country where initiatives that encourage this behavior – and reward it – are in place. Maryland, for instance, is one of the greenest states in the country thanks to a number of green measures that promote energy efficiency for residents by allowing them to trade in older appliances or make improvements to their homes.

If you are relocating to a new property in the coming months, a home inspection is a must – especially if you are looking to find out ways to conserve your household utility expenses. However, you don't have to move to increase your energy efficiency and a home inspection contractor can show you what path to take.