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‘The great reshuffling’: Why are millions of Americans moving?

(NewsNation Now) — A new study out by Zillow says 11% of Americans moved in 2020, and they’re calling it “the great reshuffling.”

With more businesses shifting to remote, it’s also opened up a world of possibilities for people to live and work from anywhere.

Fresh, white powder underneath a bluebird sky is the view that Blaike Ford lives and relocated for.

Home for Ford is now Breckenridge, Colorado. But before the pandemic struck, the 32-year-old music marketer had been living in New York after working at Spotify for nearly a decade.

“I was out at a show three nights a week, it was kind of a rinse-wash-repeat kind of scenario,” explained Ford. “You go to dinner with the group, you go to the show, you definitely go to the bar afterward, you’re home by 2 a.m., you’re up at 6 a.m. to workout, you’re back at the office and you do it all over again.”

The concrete jungle suited her, but Ford says she’s always been drawn to the great outdoors.

When COVID-19 hit, the four walls of her Brooklyn apartment started closing in on her. The mountains were calling, so she went.

She says pre-pandemic, a move to the mountains didn’t even seem possible for her until after retirement.

“I thought this was going to be a 70-year-old situation for me,” said Ford.

She added, “remoteness was not a concept. I mean for some types of work, for mine? Not a chance!”

Ford is a part of “the great reshuffling,” a drop in the bucket of Americans who decided to make a move in the time of coronavirus.

Jeff Tucker is a Seattle-based economist for Zillow. He says tens of millions of Americans moved during the pandemic.

The real estate company’s latest survey found that 11% of Americans moved in the past 12 months. Three quarters said they moved for positive reasons like being closer to family or living in a place they’d always wanted to try.

“The top five destinations were Phoenix, Charlotte, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Sarasota, Florida. What they all have in common are warm or mild winters…this is really the Sun Belt,” said Tucker.

Top Metros for Net Inbound and Outbound Moves

Texas, known for its wide-open spaces and more affordable housing, has seen significant numbers of people move to the state during the pandemic.

Allyson Smith and Will Seitz live in Austin. The couple’s pandemic move was centered around ending their long-distance relationship between Texas and California. She’s a NICU nurse in Austin, and he works with an advertising firm in LA.

“I was pretty much going to be anchored here unless I was willing to go get another job, which would have been possible—you know, travel nursing or something like that, but Will was a free agent really,” stated Smith.

So, Will packed his bags—something he says wouldn’t have happened this soon had it not been for the pandemic.

Not only did remote work make their in-person relationship a reality, but it also gave it roots. The two are now set to marry in July.

Dallas real estate agent, Caroline Thompson says, ” Everyone was a little hesitant at first. And then it was like a flip of the switch and it was just in droves. People from other states, people from DFW moving to different homes, then what they had been currently living in, [which] had more space.”

Thompson says she saw a mass exodus of people leaving apartments and multi-family units.

For those still considering a move, Ford says if you can, don’t think twice. Take the leap of faith before the world anchors you to one place again.

“I kind of love that I can be part of that 11% and tell that story for years to come,” said Ford.

For her, she’s learned the music still plays no matter where she is.

“I think it’s cool! I think its such a freedom that people didn’t have before. And I know that I would regret it deeply if I didn’t embrace that,” explained Ford.


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