Nevada 3rd most popular state for movers, Reno seeing youth influx
- January 24, 2018
- Posted by: Jennifer
- Category: News
Nevada is moving up as a popular destination for folks looking to, well, make a move.
The Silver State ranked among the top places in the nation that posted a higher rate of people moving in versus residents moving out last year, according to separate reports from two moving companies.
In one of the studies, Washoe County posted a higher rate of inbound relocations than the state as a whole, although the Las Vegas area still had a higher number of total movers. Reno-Sparks is also outpacing the nation for its influx of younger people moving into the area in the last decade, according to an analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno.
The numbers are good news for a region that saw negative migration numbers at certain points of the recession. At the same time, others warned that rising housing costs could curtail interest, particularly in Northern Nevada, as affordability gets squeezed further.
Nevada ranked third in the nation for having the highest rate of inbound moves in Atlas Van Lines’ year-end migration study for 2017. Its inbound rate of 62.4 percent vs. 37.6 percent for people moving out was behind only Idaho and Washington state. Nevada did not make Atlas Van Lines’ Top 10 list in 2016.
In another report, the state placed fourth with an inbound rate of 61 percent compared to an outbound rate of 39 percent in United Van Lines’ annual Movers Study, just behind Vermont, Oregon and Idaho. Nevada was ranked ninth in the United Movers Study in 2016. Washoe County did even better than the state as a whole, posting an inbound migration rate of more than 69 percent in the United study. That means nearly 3 in 4 moves handled by United Van Lines in Washoe involved people moving into the area.
The numbers mark a return to form for the Silver State as a whole, said Melissa Sullivan, United Van Lines spokeswoman. Nevada was the fastest-growing state in the nation from 2000 to 2010 with a growth rate of 35.1 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The recession, however, took a large bite out of that momentum.
“Historically, Nevada has always been at the top of the inbound list,” Sullivan said. “But we saw Nevada traffic level off right after the recession.”
Making the move
The improving inbound migration numbers were good news to those who promote the region.
“I don’t think anyone is surprised if they have been on the roads lately, or have tried to buy a home or rent an apartment — there are more people in the area than ever before,” said Mike Kazmierski, president and CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. “Every indicator we track points to continued growth for at least the next five to 10 years.”
Retirement was cited by nearly 34 percent of respondents to the United Movers Study as their reason for moving to Nevada. The Mountain West was also the most popular destination for retirees in the study overall.
Other reasons cited for moving include lifestyle, family and health. The No. 1 factor for migration to Nevada, however, was jobs. More than 36 percent of the United Movers Study’s respondents cited work as their reason for moving to the state.
The improving economy also was cited as a key factor by those behind the Atlas Van Lines study.
“There are a variety of factors for why Nevada continues to see individuals moving into the state, including the growth in the job market, record high small business employment and the fact that it’s the fastest growing private sector in the United States,” said Jeff Schimmel, vice president of transportation services at Atlas Van Lines. “Nevada boasts an economy that has expanded quarter over quarter throughout 2017 which could help explain the migration of Americans flocking to the state.”
Kazmierski also cited job growth, combined with a favorable business and tax climate for the Silver State’s place as a popular destination for movers. In Northern Nevada, the arrival of big-name companies such as Apple, Tesla and Google are also helping dispel old stereotypes of Reno as a poor man’s Las Vegas. Costs that remain lower compared to next-door neighbor California remain a factor as well.
“We have averaged around 4 percent (job growth) in the region and from the looks of our prospect activity will continue in that range for at least the next five years,” Kazmierski said. “When you add the new tax laws and the improving image of the region, I would expect increasing migration from California retirees and the young families that just can’t make in California.”
The numbers bear out a youth movement for the greater Reno-Sparks area. While people age 50 and older accounted for 35.8 percent of inbound movers to Washoe County from 2010 to 2016, those in the sought-after prime age group of 18 to 34 account for a larger share at 44.7 percent, according to the Center for Regional Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. Washoe’s share of incoming people at that younger age range is also higher than the national average of 23.6 percent.
“That youth number for us is huge because it’s considered very important for communities, whether it be the future labor force, entrepreneurs or promoting technology,” said Brian Bonnenfant, Center for Regional Studies project manager. “They’re also the ones that go to bars and restaurants and eventually buy houses so it’s good to have that infusion of young blood coming into your region.”
Although the migration numbers look good for the state, it’s important to view it in the proper context, said Jeff Hardcastle, Nevada state demographer.
The sample size for the Atlas and United interstate mover studies, for example, is relatively small — at least on a statewide basis. While Atlas’ study looked at nearly 73,000 total inbound and outbound moves nationwide, Nevada’s numbers only represent 1,554 of those moves. The state also accounted for 2,500 of United’s 110,000 inbound and outbound moves, with nearly 700 of those involving Washoe County.
Nationwide, state-to-state moves have also either been down or flat in the last decade, Hardcastle said. Atlas Van Lines, for example, noted that the total number of cross-state border moves that it handled fell by 3 percent from the previous year.
(Interstate migration) has been relatively flat since 2006,” Hardcastle said. “It’s part of a larger trend nationwide of fewer people moving across state lines.”
Many theories have been floated to explain the reason for the decline such as the recession, housing costs and people preferring to stay in the communities they already know. With the economy rebounding from the last downturn, other issues are also starting to pop up on the business side of the equation.
“Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen the number of full-service interstate moves level off for a variety of reasons in our industry,” United Van Lines’ Sullivan said. “One is a shortage of truck drivers so we’ve had to turn away customers during the busy summer season because we don’t have enough people to haul shipments.”
Although the inbound numbers for Nevada are not as big as they were when it was consistently topping the charts as the fastest growing state in the nation, they still represent a marked improvement from the recession. Washoe County, for example, saw negative net migration during three years of the recession up to 2011 based on U.S. Census Bureau data, Hardcastle said. By 2016, the same data showed positive net migration of 4,400 people.
Data from the IRS back up those numbers, showing a net migration of just over 4,000, said the Center for Regional Studies’ Bonnenfant. Although Nevada counties such as Clark and Lyon topped the list of originations, counties in states such as California and Arizona also fueled a nice chunk of the moves to Washoe last year. These include areas such as Sacramento, Silicon Valley and Phoenix.
Job growth and an improving economy helped spur a lot of those moves. Housing, however, is proving to be a wildcard for the area’s continued attractiveness as a move-in destination.
“Housing prices correlate highly with in-migration numbers,” Bonnenfant said. “In the early 2000s, you saw much higher (inbound) numbers but once housing prices started hitting $350,000, those numbers slacked off.”
After setting a record of $387,250 in July last year, the city of Reno closed 2017 with a median price of $350,000 for an existing single-family home, according to the Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors. In November, less than 100 homes in the Reno-Sparks area were priced below $300,000. Reno-Sparks also set a record for median down payment at $42,000 during the third quarter of last year, the 16th highest jump among 99 metro areas surveyed.
Housing supply, or the lack thereof, continues to be an issue that is helping drive up house prices, Kazmierski said. The area is also slow to incentivize infill developments within Reno, which will only lead to more urban sprawl and traffic, he added. As a result, Kazmierski expects more development north of Reno as well as in outlying areas such as Dayton, Fernley and Silver Springs in the next five years.
Despite the area’s rising costs for housing, however, California should continue to be a reliable source of inbound movers as it has always been in the past.
“Our increasing cost of housing could slow the migration but for those moving from California that is not a factor,” Kazmierski said. “Even at our current prices our housing is a fraction of the housing there.”