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With a high rate of house moves in hot NC markets, some moving companies struggle to meet demand

Joshua Barnhill and Joshua Daley of Haul'N It LLC help discard items from Leoneda Inge's house in Durham, NC.
Leoneda Inge
Joshua Barnhill and Joshua Daley of Haul'n It LLC help discard items from WUNC reporter Leoneda Inge's house in Durham, NC.

The rate of individuals moving from one residence to another is up nationwide by a modest 3%, according to an analysis by Bloomberg. But in hot markets, like many across North Carolina, moving rates are up well into the double digits, and that’s put a strain on moving companies from New York to North Carolina.

“It’s just an unusual time in a lot of different ways,” said Jeff Stern, director of business operations at TROSA.

The Durham-based non-profit is a residential program for people with substance use disorders. One of its biggest, most profitable ventures is TROSA Moving. But in this market, demand is higher than their ability to serve.

The TROSA moving service shut down for several months last year, due to the pandemic. They had fewer workers and it was hard to get those who were working tested for COVID-19 and cleared in a timely manner. With that shortage still in effect and a rise in house moves in some North Carolina markets, the company is struggling to meet the demand.

TROSA Moving in Durham, NC has grown into a non-profit that packs, moves, stores and delivers across the country.
Leoneda Inge
TROSA Moving in Durham, N.C., has grown into a non-profit that packs, moves, stores and delivers across the country.

“Before the pandemic, we were doing over 5,000 moves a year,” said Stern. “Since then we are over 3,000 moves a year. That is a significant cut in our business. We have been doing what we can.”

But that didn’t stop the pandemic housing boom and people gobbling up real estate across North Carolina. Interest rates are low and there’s just not enough supply to meet demand. And that’s causing housing prices to skyrocket.

So what does that mean for people in rental homes like me? It means I am being moved out quick — so the owners can renovate and catch this housing boom wave.

My first call to a moving company was shocking. I was told I couldn’t get on the calendar for three months. So, to get my move going, I pivoted to donating some items to thrift stores and throwing away even more. I was able to find a new small business on to help with the purging process.

Joshua Barnhill, left, started Haul'N It LLC just over a year ago. Business was so busy, he hired friend Joshua Daley to help.
Leoneda Inge
Joshua Barnhill, left, started Haul'n It LLC just over a year ago. The business was so busy, he hired friend Joshua Daley to help.

Joshua Barnhill started Haul’n It LLC just over a year ago. They help with mostly residential “clean-outs” in the greater Triangle, which includes Wake Forest, Fuquay-Varina and Knightdale.

“We have a busy schedule day to day, always pretty full,” said Barnhill. “I think it’s got a lot to do related to the housing market, people buying and selling homes, therefore moving a lot.”

Barnhill says they are so busy, he pulled in a friend to help.

“Now we got the game hemmed up like a sewing machine!” said Joshua Daley, the new recruit, in the form of a rap song.

The hottest markets in the state are in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill “Triangle” — and all communities in-between.

An analysis by the real estate company CBRE shows from 2019 to 2020, there was a 32% increase in the number of people moving from the New York City area to Durham-Chapel Hill.

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.
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