Majority of Phoenix Area Movers Choose to Live Here First, Find a Job Second

When it comes to choosing a place to live, you could say there are two types of people in the world. One type that will look for a job first, and relocate for that position. The other type will choose a location first, and do whatever they can to find a job in that city.

For a majority of apartment renters relocating to Phoenix, as they say in real estate, it’s all about “location, location, location.”

68.8 percent of apartment renters moving to Phoenix identified as “location-first movers” according to a study by Apartment List. That means they chose to live in Phoenix before applying for jobs here. The other percentage of movers, 31.2 percent, were “job-first movers.” Job-first movers applied for jobs in multiple cities, but ended up accepting a job and moving to Phoenix. The study was limited to “non-student renters who are currently living in a metro other than where they grew up.”

The “location-first” majority is a common trend among other Sunbelt metro areas including San Antonio and Charlotte. Las Vegas had the largest share of location first movers, with 82 percent settling on Sin City before starting their job search.

On the other side of the coin, tech and business hubs like Seattle, Boston, Washington D.C. and San Jose tended to attract more “job-first movers”.

One more important thing to note about location-first movers is that they tend to stick around. According to the survey, 42.8 percent of location-first movers plan to settle down in their new city long term, compared to 27.3 percent of job-first movers who plan to stick around.

The survey concluded that the majority of college-educated renters are job-first movers, while the majority of those without a college degree are location-first movers. This is because renters without a college degree are typically unable to justify the high cost of living (including housing costs) in more expensive metro areas. College-educated workers who are able to afford pursuing better jobs in these expensive metro areas don’t plan to settle down long-term either.

Perhaps this is why Phoenix ranks higher than the national trend for overall share planning to settle, with 48.0 percent compared to the national average of 35.6 percent. While more expensive tech hubs like San Francisco and Boston expect high turnover and fewer people sticking around for the long haul, more affordable metros like Nashville and Phoenix will see a higher share of renters looking to settle down.