More People Moving to Maricopa County than Anywhere in the U.S.

Article originally posted on Phoenix Business Journal on October 16, 2018

Maricopa County saw more people move to the area than any other county in the U.S. during the past five years.

The county saw 221,000 immigrants between 2012 and 2017, according to a new report from RentCafe. That volume was by far the highest in the country, the report shows. Nearly 150,000 people separated Maricopa County from the 10th-highest site of immigration, Wake County in North Carolina.

Among the appealing attributes for migrants looking for a new city to live in was Maricopa County’s relatively low cost of living, especially home prices. Out of the top 10 counties for net internal migration, Maricopa had the fourth-lowest average home price.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Los Angeles County saw 381,000 people leave during the same five-year span. Santa Clara County in Northern California was in the top 10 for people leaving as well.

It’s overly simple to say people are leaving California and coming to Arizona, but people are attracted to Maricopa County, said¬†Mark Stapp, director of the center for real estate theory and practice at Arizona State University.

“Key reasons people typically give for moving to Phoenix metro area are: climate; amenities; cost of living and employment opportunities,” Stapp said. “But Phoenix does have important advantages that in the long run should help resolve, or at least keep in check, affordability issues. These advantages include a regulatory environment that is less onerous … few constraints to future growth, relatively new transportation infrastructure, sufficient domestic water supply and available land that is easy to develop.”

Housing affordability remains Maricopa County’s biggest strength, the report said, especially when compared with many counties in California.

If Phoenix can continue to post solid economic indicators and provide cheap residency, Maricopa County should stay among the nation’s top regions for inbound migration.