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New Jersey ranks in top 10 states residents left in 2020
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New Jersey ranks in top 10 states residents left in 2020

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US home contract signings at record levels in November

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2020 file photo, a sale pending sign is displayed outside a residential home for sale in East Derry, N.H. The number of Americans signing contracts to buy homes fell for the second straight month as lack of available homes continue to stifle house hunters. The National Association of Realtors said Monday, Nov. 30 that its index of pending sales fell 1.1%, to 128.9 in October, down from a reading of 130.3 in September. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

The Garden State was more likely than most others to see residents pack their bags and leave in 2020.

Nationally, most people who moved stayed in the same city or state, citing proximity to family and friends, jobs and the cost of long-distance moves. But in a top-10 list of states residents moved out of, New Jersey ranked seventh and Pennsylvania ranked eighth, according to a report last month by, which offers consumer tips and studies the moving industry. Most of the top 10 states that lost residents were also in the top 10 states that gained residents. But that wasn’t the case for Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

For months, local real estate agents have noticed New York residents searching for homes in the Philadelphia area. New York ranked second in residents moving out. But it also ranked in the top 10 of states where people were moving in.

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One in five Americans moved in 2020, according to the report by The pandemic spurred people to move because of work, health concerns in their area, their finances and changing housing needs. Nearly half of those who relocated in 2020 moved because they lost income and needed a more affordable place to live. For nearly the same percentage, upgrading housing was a deciding factor.

The fact that people moved for opposite reasons points to the K-shaped economic recovery: Some people are doing very well, while other people are struggling financially.

More than 60% of people who moved were renters, according to’s surveys. Of those renters, 37% are now homeowners and 63% remain renters. Of the nearly 40% of people who were homeowners when they moved, more than six in seven stayed homeowners, while the rest became renters.

Most people who moved did so in the late summer and early fall, with moves peaking in September.

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