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Ocala, Florida Ranks #1 on List of Most Popular 2022 Cities

Source:, RYAN CARRIGAN – Ryan Carrigan is the founder of moveBuddha with over a decade of moving industry experience. Last Updated: Aug 11, 2022

We know that southeastern states are dominating U.S. migration, but which cities are leading the pack? As you might expect, it’s not the highly populated urban hubs that are drawing new residents. Instead, it’s small and mid-sized cities with plenty of affordable housing and outdoor recreation.

Captures data collected from the moveBuddha Moving Cost Calculator between Jan 1 and July 5, 2022.

Top cities to move to in 2022

Rank City, State In-to-out Ratio
1 Ocala, Florida 5.24
2 Chattanooga, Tennessee 2.84
3 Sarasota, Florida 2.55
4 Greenville, South Carolina 2.55
5 Asheville, North Carolina 2.53
6 Anchorage, Alaska 2.45
7 Summerville, South Carolina 2.45
8 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 2.37
9 Avon Park, Florida 2.29
10 Honolulu, Hawaii 2.29

#1 Ocala is a 60,000-person city in central Florida best known not for its startup scene or museum exhibitions, but for the glass-bottomed boats that navigate nearby Silver Springs State Park showing off local manatees, alligators, and fish beneath the swampy water. Close to Orlando, Gainesville, and “the Villages,” a fast-growing planned retirement city, Ocala’s near cultural and employment hubs without being in the heat of the action itself. Yet. With 524 inbound moves for every 100 outbound, Ocala may become one of Florida’s metropolises soon.

#3 Sarasota is another of Florida’s biggest inbound winners, and like Ocala, it protects residents’ access to a pristine waterfront ecosystem. Access to nature is a trait that multiple cities in the top ten also share.

#2 Chattanooga, #4 Greenville, and #5 Asheville all boast miles of trails, so newcomers can lace up their boots or break in their mountain bikes right outside their new back doors.

Is Southern affordability driving moves to the region?

Maybe, but it won’t be for long.

Just three cities on the top ten list (Sarasota, Asheville, and Honolulu) have median home prices above the $428,000 national average. New residents will pay just $200,573 for a median-priced home in Avon Park, FL, the most affordable city in the top ten.

Unfortunately, with real estate prices increasing between 19% and 70% from 2020 to 2022, the cities on this list have homes that are all less affordable than they were just two years ago.

It could be that rising real estate prices have cooled interest in cities that were some of the pandemic’s initial winners. For example, once red-hot Florida’s inbound to outbound ratio is down from a 2021 high of 2.10 to 1.84, now 7th in the nation.

Seeing popular cities’ real estate prices soar (once tiny Ocala’s median home price has seen a jump of 57.83% from 2020 to 2022 alone, while Sarasota’s median home cost has risen 70% in the same period) could be one factor that is dampening Florida’s popularity.

Other small and mid-size cities known for affordable real estate have also seen their cost advantage disappear over the last two years and their popularity falter. In fact, the top five cities with the highest inbound to outbound move ratios (Ocala, Chattanooga, Sarasota, Greenville, and Asheville) have all seen home prices increase at least 37%. That’s on top of an average 49.28% increase for these southern cities from 2010 to 2020.

Source:, RYAN CARRIGAN – Ryan Carrigan is the founder of moveBuddha with over a decade of moving industry experience. Last Updated: Aug 11, 2022

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