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December 7, 2023

Maine tops Atlas Van Lines' list of inbound destinations for 2023

Atlas Van Lines Courtesy / Atlas Van Lines Maine was Atlas Van Lines' No. 1 inbound destination in 2023.
Maine tops the list of inbound destinations. Illinois claims the dubious honor of having the most people moving out.
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It's become a well-told tale in the past three years, but Maine again ranks prominently on the list of states people are relocating to, according to a survey by the moving company Atlas Van Lines.

Maine ranked No. 1 as an inbound destination for United Van Lines' customers, while Illinois had the more dubious distinction of being the top state for departures. 

New Hampshire, at No. 3, was the only other New England state on the inbound list. The Granite State jumped from No. 10 in 2022.

Maine held the top spot in Atlas's 2021 ranking and No. 2 in 2022.

Maine has typically fared better in Atlas' study of migration patterns than in those of United Van Lines and U-Haul. Last year, United had Maine at No. 17, while U-Haul ranked Maine at No. 29 as a move-to destination.

Atlas has published its migration patterns study every year since 1993, tracking moving habits based on its own data.

"Atlas Van Lines’ stats correlate with some national data such as high inbound rates to hot housing markets in Maine and New Hampshire, as well as states that are good for business, including Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Washington," the Evansville, Ind.-based company said in its report.

It noted that affordability is not always a factor in moves.

"Many of the country’s most affordable states have seen high rates of outbound moves, particularly in the Midwest, such as Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Ohio," the report said. 

Maine's hot housing market 

Maine's top spot in the migration report reflects the deeper issue of a lack of housing, particularly affordable housing.

The most recent report by the Maine Association of Realtors showed that Maine's median home price was $376,000 in October, compared to $332,000 a year earlier. In the last full year before the pandemic, 2019, the median sales price was $225,000. 

York and Cumberland counties have seen a surge of buyers. 

Cumberland is Maine's most expensive housing market, with a median sales price of $549,950 in October, up 10.21% from $499,000 a year earlier.

York County's MSP was $489,900 in October, up a more modest 4.36% from $469,450 a year earlier. 

A separate report ranked York and Cumberland counties in the top 5 among markets with the greatest increase  in second-home transactions. The real estate website Pacaso ranked York County No. 3 and Cumberland County No. 5 nationally, with gains of 16% and 14%, respectively.

Where are buyers coming from?

Among Maine's out-of-state home buyers, Massachusetts buyers held the top spot in 2022, followed by New Hampshire, Florida, New York and California, according to Tom Landry, owner of Portland-based Benchmark Real Estate. 

In a commentary in Mainebiz, Landry said Maine benefited from pandemic "escapism," as people in more populous areas looked for safe destinations. But the surge in buyers has meant less for-sale inventory and higher home prices. 

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