New data suggests Americans may be on the move again, and Salt Lake City may be the beneficiary of that trend. According to moving company Atlas Van Lines’ Migration Patterns Study, 2010 saw increases in the number of household moves, which is a possible sign the economy is improving.

Although Utah was classified as a balanced state rather than an inbound state in the 2010 study, Francis Yuen, an analyst with commercial real estate information company CoStar, said Salt Lake City is likely to benefit from household growth in 2011.

In analyzing the Atlas Van Lines study and other data about household moves, the Property & Portfolio Research analyst said Salt Lake City and a handful of other metro areas have “grown faster than average over the past decade and are forecast to best their prerecession household growth rates in 2011.”

Much of the migration into Salt Lake City and areas like Seattle and Portland can be attributed to job opportunities, said Yuen, who pointed out that major corporations like Goldman Sachs have increased their presence in Utah.

"But another, more qualitative reason that cannot be overlooked is that those moving are seeking a higher quality of life," Yuen said. "The impact on these migration patterns will certainly have ramifications with regards to apartment demand and value. Although apartment demand in Salt Lake City, Portland and Seattle will not shoot to the top of the rankings, expect it to outperform its historic averages in each market in the near term."

Yuen also said by 2012 Seattle and Salt Lake City are forecast to rank first and third in apartment value growth, respectively, which may make 2011 “the best time to invest in these metros.”