Study: It’s the Most Expensive Year to Move Ever

Some states and cities are seeing costs rise by nearly 40% year over year. Find out where home buyers are facing the highest hikes.
A picture of a bright, empty room with hardwood floors during the day, with stacks of boxes and belongings from a move.

© Martin Barraud - OJO Images / Getty Images

Aside from rising mortgage rates and home prices, buyers are being squeezed by another escalating expense: the growing cost of moving services. This year has become the priciest for hiring movers in the nation’s history, according to a new study from HireAHelper, a moving resource. Some states and metros are seeing costs rise by nearly 40% year over year.

The average cost of a move was $427 nationwide in May, about 15% higher than a year earlier, the study shows. Ballooning gas prices, supply-chain disruptions and 40-year-high inflation are primarily fueling moving expenses, says Nadia Evangelou, senior economist and director of forecasting at the National Association of REALTORS®. “This means that people need to spend more of their budget on housing,” she adds. “This additional cost may discourage people from moving, resulting in an even lower mover rate in 2022.”

The demand for moving services has climbed with the rising homebuying and rental markets over the past year, leading to disruptions in availability. In 2021, 71% of moving companies reported delays due to high demand and a labor shortage, according to industry data. “The moving industry is feeling the impact of the current economic climate, and it’s creating a perfect storm for customers looking to relocate,” says Miranda Marquit, chief data analyst at HireAHelper. She equates the current environment to a “financial flash flood for those who made plans to move this summer—potentially washing them out.”

These areas of the country are seeing the biggest jumps in moving costs:

  • Maine: up 51% year over year
  • Nebraska: up 30%
  • Utah: up 28%
  • Alabama: up 27%
  • Idaho: up 27%

By metro level, costs have significantly climbed in places like Columbia, S.C., which is up 42%, and Seattle, which is up 39%. And with about 40% of moves occurring during summer months, demand for moving services is expected to go even higher.

“Most likely, despite the already higher costs, moving is likely to get even more expensive as we get into the summer and the height of the moving season,” HireAHelper notes in its study. Moving costs tend to peak in August, researchers say, forecasting that the average cost of a move will reach a new record high in August—averaging $454. However, buyers may find some relief if they can hold off on moving until after summer: Costs are expected to drop to an average of $408 by the end of the year.

Chart of moving costs by state
Chart of moving costs by city