What Makes Your Home, "Home"?

What does “home” mean to you? While the proverbial single-family detached house fits the description, so does a townhouse, apartment and even an RV. However, home is something more than simply a collection of rooms and furnishings. Sure, it’s a physical space, but “home” can also be a state of mind. In fact, for many, the true meaning of home is often less about the structure itself and more about personal connections, practical considerations and proximity to who and what one values most. 

In August, Mayflower completed a nationwide survey of 1,100 past and future movers, half of whom moved to a different state within the past two years and half who plan to move to a different state within the next two years.  

What did the survey reveal? Perhaps that there’s no place like home because, in a very real sense, a “home” is what we make of it. Let’s explore the survey findings. 

Friends and Family  

Even if a home is ideal in terms of its size and amenities, the final decision to move often comes down to something much more personal. The Mayflower study revealed 32% of all those responding moved or will move to be closer to their friends or relatives. Caring for an aging loved one is a key reason why many movers are heading to Florida and Maine, two states with the highest percentage of older-aged populations. You could also make a case for “love conquers all,” as 51% of respondents would be willing to move as far as another state for their significant other.  

Location 

For all those surveyed, the most exciting parts about finding their new home are the opportunities to explore new places, meet new people and begin a new chapter in their lives. The Mayflower study revealed a trend among future movers to relocate from urban and suburban locations to less populated areas (17% are moving from, versus 24% are moving to, a rural area). Past movers preferred staying in the same or a similar area; however, they tended to upgrade from smaller living spaces like apartments (32%) to larger spaces, such as a house (65%). 

The trend toward remote work has also had a major impact on where people are finding their new homes since proximity to the office is no longer as high of a priority. That said, past movers are significantly more likely than future movers to say they relocated to be closer to their current job (16% versus 6%).  

Affordability 

The current housing market is challenging, so it comes as no surprise that the Mayflower study revealed 86% of Americans think housing prices in the U.S. are too high. A full 28% of those surveyed are moving or considering a move due to financial reasons. More than half (54%) of all movers say current inflation levels made them more willing to consider moving to a new location, with 64% naming the cost of living as a key influencer behind the decision to relocate. In fact, 16% of buyers have pushed their home-buying timelines due to concerns about the cost of living and affordable housing. 

More than 60% of all movers agree finding affordable housing has become more important. In kind, there is an emerging trend among past movers toward downsizing their homes and relocating to less expensive areas. 

Finding a “Forever Home” 

Whether it’s an ivy-covered cottage by the sea, a duplex apartment in a fashionable part of town or a comfortable condo near a golf course, a “forever” home represents an owner’s dream come true. Overall, 64% of the survey respondents agree finding the perfect home is a life goal — in other words, a journey with many steps, compromises and moves along the way.  

According to the Mayflower study, people are willing to make a few adjustments and sacrifices to eventually acquire the home of their dreams. A full 57% of respondents are cutting down on discretionary spending and 37% reported adding a side hustle or second job to bring in extra cash. Still, it’s nice to know that 80% say that even if the home they move into isn’t “perfect,” they can still make it their own. 

Ultimately, a home is an expression of your needs, priorities, financial situation and how you want to live your life. And no matter where you happen to be in the moving process, you can count on Mayflower to be with you Every Step of the Way®. 

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