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SitusAMC Releases New Analysis of Covid-Era Population Migration by Income, Showing Radically Different Outcomes for State Economies and Investment Opportunities

November 2023

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New York, NY – A new SitusAMC analysis of migration patterns during the Covid-19 pandemic -- focusing on the incomes of people who moved -- shows starkly different fiscal outcomes for states with similar population growth, with significantly higher tax revenue where high earners relocated. The data has profound implications for property demand, investment potential and economic health in these markets. Read the full report here

SitusAMC and The Praedium Group examined migration patterns by income from 2019 through 2022 in eight states that traditionally rank high on investors’ radar, including Texas and Florida. While those two states experienced similar migration, Florida enjoyed a nearly four-fold increase in wealth compared to Texas— $23.7 billion versus $6.3 billion, respectively, based on the latest available tax data. 

More remarkably, the surge of wealth into Florida in the tax year examined was driven in large part by high-income earners ($200,000 or more annually). One-quarter of the growth in Florida’s tax returns came from that group, compared to just 8.5% of the growth in Texas returns. The other states analyzed include Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Nevada and Georgia. 

"Covid-19 accelerated the trend of people moving out of highly populated and less affordable markets like New York and California and into Sun Belt states," said Peter Muoio, PhD, Head of SitusAMC Insights. "But when we dissected that growth by income, we saw stark differences.”  

The study found higher-earning movers can have a significant impact:   

  • Higher-wealth migration means demand for housing is likely to soar, especially for newer products, and commercial real estate also stands to benefit.  

  • While consistent strong employment growth is likely a driver of migration to the Southern states studied, an influx of wealth is likely indicative of better jobs and a wider range of industries, leading to more stable economies, and steadier CRE fundamentals. 

  • Strong domestic migration of high-income earners helps position states and cities to withstand cyclicality and downturns that affect real estate fundamentals, because these areas are more likely to be economically diverse and less are reliant on a single industry. 

The analysis also examined affordability and total tax burden rates, as both issues tend to drive domestic migration. All of the Southern focus states are more affordable than the national average, except for Florida. Tennessee was the most affordable, with prices 9% below the national average. Florida is slightly less affordable than the national average, with prices just 1% higher.  

Tax burdens incorporate an amalgam of different tax types, including income, property and sales taxes. Tennessee (7.6%), Texas (8.6%), Georgia (8.9%), South Carolina (8.9%) and Florida (9.1%) were among the states with the lowest tax burdens. Arizona (9.5%), Nevada (9.6%) and North Carolina (9.9%) had slightly higher tax burdens, but remained relatively attractive compared to the rest of the U.S. 

Americans are moving away from high-cost, high tax areas, the study notes. The highest number of residents (on a net basis) moved from the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro, with 154,361 people relocating. Los Angeles came in second, losing a net of 86,948 residents, followed by Chicago, which lost 66,833.  

"Population growth has been, and continues to be, a valuable source of information in determining potential real estate demand," said Muoio. "But income migration provides a more textured picture of where real estate demand will grow, particularly for the residential segment. Investors would be wise to follow the money."   

Part of SitusAMC's thought leadership platform, this analysis underscores the firm’s commitment to powering the lifecycle of real estate finance. The insights provided by this research are invaluable to those seeking to stay informed and competitive in today's fast-paced business environment.    


About SitusAMC    

SitusAMC ( is a leading independent provider of technology, strategic outsourcing, talent and advisory solutions to the commercial and residential real estate finance industries. The company helps clients identify and capture opportunities in their real estate businesses through industry-leading services and innovative technologies that drive operational efficiency, increase business effectiveness, and improve market agility across the entire lifecycle of their global real estate activity.        

Press Contact:    

Andy Garrett    
Head of Marketing   

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