Numbers Count: 2015 relocation trend in the West

Posted by

Numbers count. They matter to bankers and to prospective homebuyers, sellers, and real estate professionals. Here’s my take on the key numbers on the housing market this week.

2 men moving a large box on rollers in a driveway near an open moving truck.The numbers: People are moving to Oregon and Idaho – the top two states in Atlas Van Lines’ annual Migration Patterns study, which tracks the interstate relocation patterns year-to-year in moves in and out of states handled by Atlas. Released Jan. 5, the study of more than 77,000 household relocations by Atlas in 2015 found that 64% of moves involving Oregon were inbound and 63% of moves involving Idaho were inbound.

What counts: This report on where people are moving to and from reminded me that we don’t always buy within driving distance of an open house. As much as we may enjoy touring houses Sunday after Sunday until we find our dream home, sometimes circumstances make that approach impractical. Consider these five factors regarding housing if a job opportunity or some other circumstance requires that you relocate.

Decide between buy vs. rent: While many of us prefer to own a home, finding and buying a home from a distance can be tough. Maybe you’ll want to rent for a few months and become familiar with the new location.

Can you juggle two homes? If you own a home, you’ll need to decide whether to sell it, rent it out, leave it vacant, or do something else. If you keep it, be aware the cost of the existing mortgage, property taxes, and insurance will affect your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) and limit how much you can borrow to purchase in your new location. Your debt-to-income ratio looks at your total monthly debt payments — including credit cards, car payments, student loans, and mortgage and property taxes if you own property — and compares that total to the money you take in each month. If, for example, you have a car loan and credit cards with total monthly payments of $1,473, and you earn $4,420 a month (the median household income), your debt-to-income ratio is a relatively manageable 33%. Generally, mortgage lenders want borrowers to keep their DTI below 43%.

Can you visit your new city? If you want to buy in your new location, it may be helpful to visit at least a couple of times before the move. If so, be efficient. Do your research online about the area, and line up a real estate agent to show you around before you go. You can learn a lot by house hunting online before you go, but there’s nothing like driving around with someone who knows the community, the schools, the parks, and the commute times, etc. This can give you a real feel for the pros and cons of buying in various areas.

Ask for advice. Think of all the potential connections you might have to the new area: your employer, family and friends, even your banker. Banks with large branch networks may have a location in your new community, so your local financial advisor or mortgage banker may be able to introduce you to a colleague in your new hometown.

Take your time. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, don’t rush. Buying a home is a huge financial decision. With interest rates starting to rise and home prices rising in many markets, it may be tempting to strike quickly. I encourage potential buyers to be patient. Do thorough research online, in person, and with a reputable real estate agent so you make an informed decision.

Reminder: All comments are moderated prior to publication and must follow our Community Guidelines.

  • Anonymous says:

    In regards to moving tips, we’ve actually blogged on this a lot here at MyBekins Moving & Storage. Check out our blog: to read more.

    Reply | 4 years ago

Submit an Idea

[contact-form-7 id="32" title="Share An Idea"]

You are leaving the Bank of the West Change Matters site. Please be aware: The website you are about to enter is not operated by Bank of the West. Bank of the West does not endorse the content of this website and makes no warranty as to the accuracy of content or functionality of this website. The privacy and security policies of the site may differ from those practiced by Bank of the West. To proceed to this website, click OK, or hit Cancel to remain on the Bank of the West Change Matters site.