Potatoes, apparently, aren’t the only thing that’s hot in Idaho.

According to a study published by moving company United Van Lines on Tuesday, Idaho’s housing market is heating up as buyers are flocking to the state in search of an affordable cost of living.

Idaho had the highest percentage of inbound migration (67.4 percent) among states with at least 250 moves, a 25-year high based on United Van Lines data. Oregon (65.7 percent), Arizona (63.2 percent), South Carolina (61.8) and Washington (59.5 percent) followed close behind with migration rates topping 59 percent.

“Key factors like the Baby Boomer generation re-locating upon reaching retirement age as well as states’ economic performances and housing costs drove these 2019 moving patterns,” University of California-Los Angeles Department of Public Policy professor Michael Stoll said of the study results.

“United Van Lines’ study encompasses data consistent with the broader migration trends to western and southern regions that we’ve been seeing for several years now.”

The majority of Idaho’s new residents are coming from nearby California, where the median home price is $575,050 — a price untenable for millennials with young families and baby boomers on a fixed income. With a median price of $359,950, Idaho is a great alternative for buyers who want to stay near The Sunshine State without being scorched by its high home prices.

“Retirees can sell their Golden State homes for a bundle, buy an Idaho home for a fraction of that price, and use the leftover money to beef up their nest eggs,” read realtor.com’s write-up of the study.

On the other hand, Eastern and Midwestern states continued to be hit hard by the mass exodus of millennials searching for work opportunities and retirees looking for warm weather and low home prices.

For the fifth consecutive year, New Jersey (68.5 percent), New York (63.1 percent) and Connecticut (63 percent) had the highest outbound migration rates on the East Coast. Meanwhile, Illinois (66.5 percent), Kansas (58.5 percent), Ohio (57.8 percent), Michigan (56.9 percent) and Iowa (55 percent) had the highest rates in the Midwest.

United Van Lines data falls in line with predictions from economists across the real estate industry who said secondary markets in states such as Idaho are expected to experience robust home price growth in 2020.

“I am most optimistic about home price growth in those more affordable markets where there’s solid job creation and has the potential for being a retirement destination,” National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun told Inman in December.

Email Marian McPherson

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