It’s Peak Season for Relocation

Sandra Plunkett, Sr. Supplier Manager

It’s Peak Season for Relocation

Peak Season for relocation activity occurs between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Each year, we prepare through capacity planning with our van line supplier partners for all core services. So, what do we expect for this summer? Both cost and activity are likely to rise.

For US domestic moves, approximately 35% of all home sales occur between May and July each year. This drives the timeline for other services. Many metro areas have begun to strengthen and experience a seller’s market with limited inventory.

Global mobility is being impacted more by the geo-political climate than the container shortages and routing difficulties of years past. The challenges vary by location. For example, Brexit and the unknown impact on intra-EU mobility, and changes in UK Customs regulations are affecting transit times for inbound shipments to the UK.

In the UK and France, expats are seeing heightened scrutiny of immigration documents before banks (even international banks like Citi and HSBC) will open an account for a newcomer. And in Germany, the severe housing shortage in Munich is causing hundreds of people to compete for a single apartment, with landlords showing a clear preference for German nationals over expats.

Household Goods Expectations
August is typically the busiest month as employees rush to move in before school starts. Only 34% of this activity is relocation related.

  • Consumers and relocation moves compete aggressively during summer months
  • Driver and equipment shortages still affect the US market
  • Federal driver workload restrictions continue to affect transit times
  • Global shipments are subject to delays and need to be closely monitored

Temporary Accommodations Expectations
Capacity continues to diminish as a result of the improving, but still slow, real estate markets in the US. Intern programs are also competing with traditional relocation for inventory. Costs continue to rise in the US and “seasonal” increases are becoming more prevalent in large cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Globally, housing providers are working to meet increased demand in emerging markets where the product is less sophisticated than in the US and Western Europe. Standard amenities differ by country and transferees are often compelled to adjust their expectations.

In general:

  • Vacancy rates for short term stays will remain low
  • Average rents in the US will increase by 4% or more
  • Airbnb and Microunits are gaining ground among clients looking for lower costs

As mobility veterans, we know relocation peak season will end. Until then, we work hard to mitigate the impact for our clients and their transferring employees.