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Why People Move


You’re not given much of a choice as to where you’re born, but once you reach adulthood, where you choose to live is entirely up to you. Some will choose to stay put their entire lives, while others will bounce from city to city, state to state. But why do people choose to live where they do? Furthermore, how do their priorities and housing trade-offs shift over time?

Realtor Mag reports that data from a recent study by the Centre for Cities, a research and policy institute based in London, highlights key insights into the motivations behind where people choose to live.

Following are three main types of moves, as laid out by City Lab and reported on by Realtor Mag:

  1. The post-college, career-minded 20-something move.

Those between 25-34 years of age tend to make housing and moving decisions based on their career. In fact, 31 percent of this age group answered that being close to their job or their partner’s job was a priority for them. Cost of housing was also important, with 30 percent of respondents saying that was a big factor. While much has been written about younger buyers needing to be close to restaurants, bars, and cultural amenities, only 9 percent said these were important factors in choosing where to live. Access to green space and the environmental factors were not as important to this demographic compared to other age groups.

  1. Starting a family/mid-30s move.

People in the 35-54 age group, perhaps focusing on raising a family, were also very concerned with the cost of housing. Unlike their younger counterparts, they placed high value on the size and style of housing (21 percent), the safety and security of the neighborhood (17 percent), and the access to good schools (13 percent). Twenty-five percent of respondents said that it was important to live near family and friends. Few in this demographic ranked access to restaurants and cultural facilities as being important to them.

  1. Empty-nester and retirement move.

Thirty percent of the 55-and-over demographic listed access to green space and nature as their top priority when they move. The size and type of housing was also important (29 percent), and nearly 20 percent said they wanted to be close to their jobs. Living in a neighborhood near family was also important (27 percent), as well as living in a safe area (at 17 percent).