If you could live anywhere in the United States where would it be? New York City, Los Angeles, perhaps somewhere near the beach? For years I would have answered that question with Nashville. But a lot of people would answer it Charlotte or Raleigh. Yes one North Carolina city is actually the second most popular city people are dreaming of moving to. This is according to data from Coldwell Banker. The tallied the most frequent searches of people looking to move, using their Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC Move Meter℠ tool. The tool compares characteristics such as cost and quality of living city by city. And the second most popular destination was right here in North Carolina.

The data collected includes tens of thousands of searches over the course of the year. And it reveals the most sought-after cities for Americans looking to relocate. One interesting trend over the past year was the decrease in people looking to move out of state. Last year 82% of all Move Meter searches were for out-of-state moves, compared to 72.5% this year. The top places people are moving from? The list included cities like Los Angeles, Louisville Kentucky, and Chicago.

Listen I’ve lived in North Carolina my entire life. I’m not actively trying to leave in fact, I don’t think I would even if the opportunity presented itself. But I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that North Carolina is where people are dreaming of moving to. I know they are coming- we see them every day and deal with the traffic. But you could go anywhere in the United States and North Carolina is the top choice? I’m not a hater, just don’t see the mass appeal. Here are the NC cities people dream of moving to as well as the others in the top 3.

  • 7. Raleigh, NC

    Raleigh, North Carolina, USA downtown skyline

    The North Carolina capital city ranks 7th on this list. I know there is a bit of a rivalry between Charlotte and Raleigh but as someone who loves both dearly, I will fiercely defend Raleigh even living in the Queen City. Plus it’s great for our state that both cities are thriving and desirable places to relocate to.

  • 3. New York, NY

    Panoramic aerial view Statue of Liberty and Jersey City and Manhattan cityscape in New York City, NY, USA

    Daydreaming about moving to New York? It’s a common occurrence and no surprise to see the city that never sleeps on this list. I love to visit New York, but the only way I could live in New York is in areas and in a way that in this lifetime I will never be able to afford to. If it’s not in the Upper East Side I don’t want it. But I do have several friends and even a family member who have moved there permanently or temporarily. I’ll stick to visiting!

  • 2. Charlotte, NC

    Greensboro North Carolina skyline from the West

    While I don’t quite understand the why, I definitely see the people coming. More and more everyday. I know it’s good for the economy and the city, but it’s not good for rent prices, the housing market (if you’re a potential buyer), and traffic. So while I’d try and convince people we are full, I guess it’s a good thing our city is one people want to move to. As someone who was born and raised here, I do question what is so tempting. I love Charlotte and have no intention of leaving, but really the second most desirable place?

  • 1. Austin, TX

    Awei drone views at golden hour Austin Texas sunset of a modern future city above green landscape cityscape above Town lake or Lady Bird Lake bridges and towers packing with kayakers

    Austin is certainly one of the trendiest cities right now. It’s pretty high on my list of places I want to visit, but until I have I can’t say whether or not I’d like to move there. But a thriving music and cultural scene are enticing and I’ve heard the food is incredible as well. Maybe in 2024 I’ll finally check this off the bucket list!

  • The Full Top 10

    Nashvile TN skyline with red sunset and birds

    1. Austin, TX
    2. Charlotte, NC
    3. New York, NY
    4. Los Angeles, CA
    5. Nashville, TN
    6. Tampa, FL
    7. Raleigh, NC
    8. Seattle, WA
    9. Atlanta, GA
    10. San Diego, CA

    The top 10 is filled with some pretty great cities. Outside of the ones discussed above it was my dream to relocate to Nashville several years ago. Music City has seen a similar growth at the Queen City in the same time period so it makes sense it is on this list as well. While I personally couldn’t live in Atlanta (that traffic) it’s an enticing destination for sure. And I have good friends who just moved to the Tampa area. Is your dream city on this list?

    You can read the full Coldwell Banker study and results here.

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