Texas, Florida saw the largest increase in population last year when more than 600,000 people fled New York, California

A growing number of Americans are packing up and moving south in 2022 while disembarking from New York and California.

Texas experienced its largest net population increase in the year-long period ended July 1, 2022, when more than 450,000 people moved to the state, according to a new report by analysts led by Bank of America Global Research’s Rafe Jadrosich.

The company cited data from the US Census Bureau and U-Haul rates in preparing its report.

Florida saw the second-largest net population increase during this period, as more than 400,000 people moved to the Sunshine State.

In contrast, both California and New York saw net population declines of more than 300,000 during this period.

Oct 9, 2021;  Dallas, Texas, United States;  Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas before the game between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl.  Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas before the game between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

At a regional level, the South recorded the fastest population growth with an increase of 1.1% or around 1.4 million people last year.

The South has benefited from internal migration, which has resulted in 870,000 leaving their state in another region for the South, a trend that some industry experts have dubbed “sunbelt migration.”

By state, according to Bank of America, the biggest gainers in terms of net population growth were Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Florida, Texas, and North Carolina also saw the largest increases in net internal migration — or people who moved from one state to another — with those states adding 319,000, 231,000, and 100,000 new residents from other states, respectively.

By contrast, about 343,000 Californians fled the state for another, while 300,000 New Yorkers did the same. Illinois had the third-highest number of net emigrations of its domestic population, with 142,000 people leaving the state for another.

Americans flocking to the Sun Belt region is not a new trend, but it has been accelerated during the pandemic. The ability to work remotely gave a number of residents reason to seek cheaper housing, better weather and tax incentives.

A report by moving company U-Haul found that Texas, Florida and the Carolinas were the favorite one-way destinations last year.

Separately, another indicator of migration, the USPS Migration Index, found a slowdown in markets facing homebuilders like DR Horton (DHI) and PulteGroup (PHM), including metros Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Phoenix.

Nonetheless, movement into these areas is still above pre-COVID levels.

Jadrosich believes these homebuilders remain well positioned given their exposure to these regions and the company maintains a buy rating with both DR Horton and PulteGroup.

Earlier this year, Jadrosich and his team upgraded the stocks of three homebuilders, including Pulte, Lennar (LEN) and Toll Brothers (TOL), believing that lower input costs, moderate interest rates and a “home price correction rather than a crash” would benefit those stocks strengthen in 2023.

Over the past six months, shares of all three companies are up more than 15%.

Dani Romero is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @daniromerotv

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