For Mayflower 2023 Finding Home campaign, we surveyed thousands of movers and past movers across the country to understand their reasons for relocating. This revealed some surprising trends — including the fact that there has been a migration away from big metropolitan areas in favor of small and mid-sized towns.
Fayetteville, Arkansas, was one of Mayflower’s popular “move to” destinations in 2023, with nearly double the amount of people moving in versus moving out. It’s easy to see why. The cost of living is affordable, the people are friendly and the natural scenery is stunning.
Kristen Smith moved to Fayetteville in 2021 and, like more than 30% of respondents to the latest Finding Home Study, it was largely for family reasons.
“We were living in Los Angeles and had our son in late 2019,” Smith says. “When Covid hit, we decided to move closer to family.”
Smith’s sister lives in Little Rock, which is a few hours away by car.
“It’s a bit of a homecoming since I grew up in Fort Smith and graduated from the University of Arkansas,” Smith says.
Friendliness, diversity and a relaxed pace also make Fayetteville an attractive alternative to the “rat race” of big cities. Fayetteville was one of the first cities in Arkansas to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBTQ+ residents and visitors. The city also has a large population of college students, artists and musicians, giving it an eclectic, bohemian vibe.
Coming from L.A., we wanted a more diverse and open-minded city and felt Fayetteville best fit the bill. And being a college town keeps it fun and youthful.
Nearly half (48%) of those responding to the Finding Home study say the proximity to arts and culture venues helped influence where they moved, while roughly two-thirds (67%) cited the weather as a top influence.
Smith finds Fayetteville’s combination of culture and recreation ideal.
“I absolutely love the trail system, the playgrounds and all the outdoor activities, like riding bikes and hiking,” Smith says. “We also enjoy live music, going to college sports events and seeing shows at the Walton Arts Center.”
Of course, it can be a trade-off in some ways.
“Probably my biggest adjustment is that there are fewer food options than in L.A.,” Smith admits. “And it seems like almost everything’s closed on Sundays — and, oftentimes, Mondays.”
However, Smith, like a growing number of Americans, feels it’s worth it.
Given 86% of those responding to our study saying that home prices in the U.S. are too expensive, Fayetteville’s low cost of living and highly affordable housing make it a bargain compared to larger cities. A nice one-bedroom apartment goes for around $1,500 a month, while the average cost of a home in the Fayetteville-Springdale area averages $325,000. Groceries are also budget-friendly, about 10% less than the national average.
The question is, will Fayetteville be Smith’s “forever home?”
“My husband still works for an ad agency in Los Angeles and we don’t know whether they’ll eventually require him to work onsite,” she says. “But I really do love living here and feel like it’s an excellent place to raise our son.”
Whether your journey to your “forever home” takes you to Fayetteville ― or about any other place in the continental U.S. ― we hope you’ll consider moving with Mayflower. Be sure to check out Finding Home, where we share some of the latest moving trends and motivations for moving to a new state, along with tips and tricks for settling in and making the most of your surroundings.
Ready to make your move? Get a quote from Mayflower to get the ball rolling.