Californians may be the most common scapegoats for rising housing prices around Utah during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we haven't seen numbers to substantiate the suspicion.
Now we do.
To be fair, more people move to Utah from California for the simple reason that California contains the bulk of the population of the U.S. west of the Rockies, but the pace of moving increased 22% from 2019 to 2020.
CBRE, a giant real estate services company, crunched the numbers from address change forms submitted to the U.S. Postal Service in 2019 and 2020, and more former Californians are current Utahns than former residents of any other state... by far.
It's part of a larger trend of out-migration from cities, especially among young professionals without children who are able to work remotely.
Looking at Utah's three biggest metro areas in 2020:
- 4,588 Californians moved to the Salt Lake metro area, compared with 2,494 Salt Lakers moving to California.
- 2,402 Californians moved to the Provo-Orem area, while 992 moved in the other direction.
- 1,569 Californians changed their address to the Ogden-Clearfield metro area, with just 664 making the opposite move.
Nationwide, the CBRE study found that urban cores saw consistent exodus during the pandemic. The pre-pandemic trend of people moving to Sun Belt states and away from more expensive coastal cities continued.
If you'd like to see the study for yourself, CBRE allows you to explore specific metro areas and states on its website.