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Financial considerations when moving to a new state

moving to a new state

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Credit Sesame outlines financial considerations when moving to a new state.

The average American moves 11.7 times in their lifetime. That can be exhausting and can become more so when moving to a new state. Approximately 4.8 million Americans made interstate moves in 2021, Census data shows.

Packing up everything you own and moving it across state lines is back-breaking and can cost a lot of money. But the expenses don’t end after hiring a moving company or renting a truck.

Moving to a new state incurs many other costs. Here are some to consider long before you start packing.

Moving costs

Let’s start with the costs of physically moving your stuff from one home to another. The distance you’re moving and whether you hire professionals or do it yourself impacts the cost.

The average cost of an interstate move is $4,300 to $4,800, with an average distance of 1,200 miles, according to the American Moving and Storage Association, a nonprofit representing the moving industry in the United States.

Housing

Housing is likely the biggest cost of moving. Renting is often cheaper than buying, but let’s look at the costs of buying a home.

Realtor.com ranked home prices in the largest metro areas in the country from mid-December 2021 to mid-December 2022. It then pulled out the five markets with the biggest increase and decrease in price.

Biggest price increases of 2022

1. Omaha, NE

  • Year-over-year change in price per square foot: +21.6%
  • Mid-Dec. 2022 median listing price: $342,500

2. Jackson, MS

  • Change in price per square foot: +21.6%
  • Median listing price: $316,000

3. Wichita, KS

  • Change in price per square foot: 21.5%
  • Median listing price: $289,900

4. Milwaukee, WI

  • Change in price per square foot: +20.9%
  • Median listing price: $374,900

5. Little Rock, AR

  • Change in price per square foot: +20.1%
  • Median listing price: $299,900

Biggest price decreases of 2022

1. Boise City, ID

  • Change in price per square foot: -5.8%
  • Median listing price: $509,900

2. Denver, CO

  • Change in price per square foot: -5.7%
  • Median listing price: $599,990

3. Sacramento, CA

  • Change in price per square foot: -3.1%
  • Median listing price: $591,500

4. New Orleans, LA

  • Change in price per square foot: -2.7%
  • Median listing price: $325,500

5. Chicago, IL

  • Change in price per square foot: -1.6%
  • Median listing price: $320,000

Apartment rents rise

According to data from the online listing marketplace Apartment List, the price of renting a one-bedroom apartment rose in almost every state in 2022, Rents are highest in coastal states. The states with the highest monthly one-bedroom rent estimates as of October 2022, according to Apartment List, are:

  1. Hawaii: $1,718
  2. New York: 1,678
  3. California: $1,658
  4. New Jersey: $1,538
  5. Virginia: $1,419
  6. Florida: $1,418
  7. Massachusetts: $1,409
  8. Maryland: $1,407
  9. Colorado: $1,388
  10. Washington: $1,360

Living costs

The cost of living is a broad category that people who are moving should look into by researching how much different services cost in areas they’re thinking of moving to. A real estate agent may have some data for you, and checking with individual service providers can help too. 

Living costs to consider include:

  • Groceries
  • Utilities
  • Transportation
  • Health

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center puts out a cost of living data series. It recently ranked states for the third quarter of 2022, which we’ll use in examples below. States are given an index score in various categories to show how they compare to other areas. A score of 100 is average. A 110 score shows that prices are 10% above the national average.

In general, the most expensive areas to live were Hawaii, Alaska, the Northeast, and the West Coast. The least expensive were the Midwest and Southern states.

Groceries

Buying groceries for a year in moderate-cost meal plan for a family of four costs $15,021, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Here are the 10 states with the highest average grocery store prices, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

  1. Hawaii: 148.5
  2. Alaska: 131.8
  3. Massachusetts: 113.0 
  4. California: 112.3
  5. Maryland: 112.2
  6. New York: 109.2
  7. New Jersey: 107.0
  8. Washington state: 107.0
  9. Oregon: 106.4
  10. New Hampshire: 104.6

Utilities

If you want a low electricity bill, find a state that hasn’t deregulated its electricity system. California and 34 other states that have deregulated all or parts of their electricity system tend to have higher rates than the rest of the country, the New York Times reports.

Some states haven’t deregulated gas and electricity, and energy costs are lower. Some states only regulate one market, such as Florida, which has deregulated gas markets but not electricity.

On average, residents in deregulated markets pay $40 more per month for electricity than in states where individual utilities control most or all parts of the grid.

States with regulated gas and electricity markets, which can make utility bills lower, are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Hawaii
  • Idado
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington state
  • Wisconsin

Transportation

U.S. households spent an average of $10,961 on transportation in 2021, according to federal data. Rural households spent more on transportation ($13,665) than urban households ($10,362). 

Taxes

Taxes can eat away at your disposable income, so it’s worth checking what the property, state and local sales, income and estate taxes are before moving.

Local jurisdictions can add their own district taxes to sales taxes. California, for example, has a statewide sales tax rate of 7.25%, but most areas have added tax rates from 0.10% to 1%. Some are higher, such as Burbank’s total sales tax rate of 10.25%.

Eight states have no personal income tax:

  • Wyoming
  • Washington state
  • Texas
  • Tennessee
  • South Dakota
  • Nevada
  • Florida
  • Alaska

According to the Tax Foundation, the 10 states with the highest personal income tax rates are:

  1. California: 13.3%
  2. Hawaii: 11%
  3. New York: 10.9%
  4. New Jersey: 10.75%
  5. District of Columbia: 10.75%
  6. Oregon: 9.9%
  7. Minnesota: 9.85%
  8. Vermont: 8.75%
  9. Iowa: 8.53%
  10. Wisconsin: 7.65%

Weigh pros and cons

There are many reasons to avoid moving to a new state. You may not know anyone there, the costs of living are much higher, and you really don’t want to pack up all of your belongings.

But there are probably more pros than cons, otherwise you wouldn’t be seriously considering a move. New jobs, college, relationships, being unhappy where you live now, and looking for a lower cost of living are some reasons to move. Whatever your reasons are, start by doing some homework on what the actual costs will be.

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Aaron Crowe
Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist who specializes in personal finance topics. He has written for Wise Bread, AOL, AARP, Bankrate and other websites that focus on financial literacy and saving money. He has also worked as a newspaper reporter and editor. You can follow him on Twitter @AaronCrowe.

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