In the News – The Fastest-Growing Big Cities Aren’t the Ones You’d Expect

In the News – The Fastest-Growing Big Cities Aren’t the Ones You’d Expect

It might seem that every dewy-eyed, aspiring pop star, computer programmer, and recent college graduate is heading to the big cities on the coasts to strike it big. But as it turns out, the nation’s fastest-growing city is one that most folks have probably never even heard of: Conroe, TX.

The population in the Houston suburb grew 7.8% from July 1, 2015, to July 1, 2016, according to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s 11 times faster than most of the nation, which grew at an average pace of 0.7% over the same period.

(The Census data included only cities with at least 50,000 residents.)

Most of the 15 fastest-growing cities are suburbs of much larger cities in the South. Populations shot up an average 9.4% in Southern cities and 7.3% in the West. Meanwhile, they rose only 1.8% in the Northeast and 3% in the Midwest.

That’s because there’s more land available for a good price in the South to build houses on. Plus, more companies are moving to warmer climes to take advantage of the lower taxes and costs of living—and are bringing more jobs with them.

Fastest-growing cities:

  1. Conroe, TX, at 7.8%
  2. Frisco, TX, at 6.2%
  3. McKinney, TX, at 5.9%
  4. Greenville, SC, at 5.8%
  5. Georgetown, TX, at 5.5%
  6. Bend, OR, at 4.9%
  7. Buckeye, AZ, at 4.8%
  8. Bonita Springs, FL, at 4.8%
  9. New Braunfels, TX, at 4.7%
  10. Murfreesboro, TN, at 4.7%
  11. Lehi, UT, at 4.6%
  12. Cedar Park, TX, at 4.5%
  13. Meridian, ID, at 4.5%
  14. Ankeny, IA, at 4.5%
  15. Fort Myers, FL, at 4.5%

Many of the fastest-growing cities on the list are suburbs of much larger Southern cities. Conroe is about 40 miles north of Houston. The second and third cities on the list—Frisco and McKinney in Texas—are about 30 miles north of Dallas. The fifth one, Georgetown, TX, is a suburb of Austin, TX.

“The outer fringes of metros are where the most land is available for construction,” says Dowell Myers, a housing demographer at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles. “So cow pastures have population growth.”

The burbs are also generally cheaper than living in nearby city centers. The median listing price in Conroe was $275,000, compared with $295,000 in Houston proper, according to realtor.com® data.

“Everything’s growing up here. All of the big oil companies have moved into the Houston area. And all of their subcontractors have to have a presence where the companies are,” says local Realtor® Robert Thompson, of Texas Home Group Realtors. “That has caused a big demand for housing.”

Conroe is growing particularly quickly because builders are putting up new subdivisions of single-family homes, he says. Those are appealing to both younger, local families and out-of-staters moving in for work.

“They’re building like crazy up here,” Thompson says. “It’s all the areas around the city that [are growing].”

Get more information at Realtor.com

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