Traverse City – The number of residents moving to Traverse City from cities on the east and west coasts has been increasing since July as the pandemic pushes many to work from home in what some call their “cramped, overpriced studio apartments.”
Mail forwarding services from the U.S. Postal Service indicate the movements away from the coats. There was a 2.5% increase in out-of-state migration for the summer of 2020 and a 50% increase during the months of July and August, according to USPS records obtained by The Traverse City Record-Eagle through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The largest increases in mail forwarding requests came from states that have some of the nation’s largest population centers.
USPS did not disclose how many of those transfers may be temporary, but requests from New York households this summer increased from 50 to 225, Illinois was up from 335 requests to 502 and California was up from 309 requests to 502.
Two former San Francisco residents, for example, recently moved to Traverse City. Morgan Eagle and her fiance shaved $1,000 off their monthly expenses in the process.
“We moved from 400-square-foot studio to an 800-square-foot house,” Engle said.
Mitchell Harrison flew in to stay his family’s lake house on Platte Lake to escape his apartment New York City, the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic in March. He grew up in Interlochen and graduated from Traverse City West before moving to New York 10 years ago.
When he returned, he didn’t have a car, he didn’t have a job, and he didn’t know how long he would stay in town. For a while he kept his lease in a $2,600-per-month studio apartment but has since given it up and moved everything to northern Michigan.
He bought a car for the first time in eight years, he’s renovating an industrial building into a photo studio, and seeking a small house to buy.
“I always knew I kind of wanted to come back eventually, I think that this just fast tracked it by five years,” Harrison said. “It really just forced me to make those decisions earlier, when I would probably would have been happy living in the city for another five years or so.”