When offices closed a year ago, local real estate agents expected relocations to slow down during the pandemic. That didn’t happen.
Why it matters: A steady number of relocations to Charlotte in 2020 had less to do with new jobs and careers than simply quality of life.
- The real estate experts I talked to said many new residents continued to stream in from New York, New Jersey, Chicago, California and Texas, many of them seeking a balance between city life and suburbia.
The State of play: Dickens Mitchener helped more than 600 families relocate to Charlotte in 2020. Most were from out of state. And another 190 are potentially relocating soon, the brokerage’s relocation specialist, Catharine Pappas, said.
The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance looked at the number of people who changed their location to Charlotte on LinkedIn. From March 2020 until now, 21,000 people changed their location to Charlotte and 14,500 people change their profile from Charlotte to somewhere else. We’ve had 6,500 new workers (who are also on LinkedIn) in the metro area, with most coming from New York, senior VP of economic research Chuck McShane said.
Cottingham Chalk also helped dozens of people buy homes in Charlotte from out of state last year. Suzanne Lail, Cottingham Chalk’s relocation director, said the number of relocations they helped execute in 2020 was similar to pre-pandemic years, but the reasons for moving to Charlotte shifted.
- Pre-pandemic, most newcomers listed work as a main reason to move. In 2020, Lail said they saw an uptick of about 20% in the number of people who moved here for personal reasons.
Matt Ewers, president of Grandfather Homes, sees it, too. In previous years, about 1/4 to 1/3 of his clients came from out of state. Now they make up about half.
- Ewers says people are attracted to the momentum of Charlotte, evident by its growing number of HQs, bank and tech industries, parks, new infrastructure, and small businesses.
Other things that make Charlotte attractive:
- Relative lower cost of living
- More land/outdoor space
- Strong economy
- Welcoming entrepreneurial environment
The big picture: If you exclude other cities in the Carolinas, the most popular places for in-migration to Charlotte over the past decade have been New York, Atlanta, Washington and Miami.
- Overall, in 2019, more people moved to North Carolina from Florida than any other state.
One example: Matthew Coles, the former senior partnerships manager of Uber Technologies, moved from San Francisco to Charlotte in fall 2020. With California in “full lock down mode,” Coles moved here to get into commercial real estate and for a higher quality of life.
- “My standard of living has improved exponentially,” Coles said. “The people are nicer, there are less people overall, and the city is neat and tidy.”
In San Francisco he was used to $10 for a beer and $2,000 for a small studio apartment. “I guess you can say I was looking for the opposite of that.”
Pappas said Dickens Mitchener helped one client move from the New York suburbs to Charlotte because it was easier and cheaper to fly to NYC for work every week than commute in from suburbs. Overall, they get a higher quality of life and spend less to achieve it.