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U-Haul Runs Out of Trucks as Thousands of Californians Move to Texas

Featured, Real Estate

U-Haul moving truck. | Image from krblokhin

To say Californians have formed a “mass exodus” to Texas would not be far from the truth; so many have moved that U-Haul is having trouble keeping up with demand for moving equipment.

According to the Rice-Kinder Institute for Urban Research, over 80,000 Californians moved to Texas each year in 2018 and 2019. Texas was the number one destination for movers pre-pandemic. The relocations fell in 2020, but Texas finished 2021 as the number one state in growth from new residents.

Now, U-Haul says it has little moving-truck inventory to service those leaving California. On the flip side, more U-Haul trucks ended up in Texas than any other state.

Although California isn’t losing residents at a huge rate (80,000 movers is below 1% of California’s population), it is clear that people aren’t moving into California as often as they were previously. The California Policy Lab discovered that since 2020, California has seen a 38% decrease in the number of people moving into the state. Californians in 2021 left the state 12% more than they did in 2020, causing California to lose a congressional seat for the first time.

Californians migrate to Texas for many reasons, but the most common cause is the lower cost of living, both in home prices and in general. The U.S. Census Bureau found that years, where home prices spike in California, coincide with larger migrations out of California and into Texas.

After average home prices rose above $500,000 in California in 2017, Texas saw a steady influx of migrants from the West Coast state. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that homes are 59% more expensive in California, and the average price of goods and services is also higher.

Matt Merrill, U-Haul District Vice President of DFW, chalks up the increase in migration to opportunities. “I think that’s a lot due to the job growth – a lot of opportunities. The cost of living here is much lower than in those areas. Texas is open for business,” Merrill stated, noting that Texas also sees many movers from New York and Chicago.

U-Haul reported that “California remained the top state for out-migration, but its net loss of U-Haul trucks wasn’t as severe as in 2020. That can be partially attributed to the fact that U-Haul simply ran out of inventory to meet customer demand for outbound equipment.”

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