Key takeaways:

  • Nationwide, housing markets in exurbs and suburbs grew faster than in principal cities over the last decade
  • Housing expansion is concentrated in the South, with Texas featuring seven suburbs among the top 20 fastest-growing housing markets and Florida having five
  • A Utah suburb claims the top spot as the country’s fastest-growing housing market, having increased its total stock by over 70 times in the past decade
  • The fastest-expanding major cities in terms of housing inventory are Austin, TX, followed by Fort Worth, TX, and Seattle, WA

People have been looking for alternatives to the hustle and bustle of city life, and the suburbs have stepped up. Suburban areas across the U.S. are now growing faster than major cities, providing plenty of room to grow for those seeking a better work-life balance.

The current housing market, with skyrocketing prices and limited inventories, is one of the main factors driving people out of cities and into the suburbs and beyond. As the most active generation in terms of both moving and homebuying, millennials are leading the revival in suburban living, just as they once spurred the urban boom in the 2000s. For millennials, most of whom are in the parenting stage of their lives, the need for larger homes and outdoor spaces is paramount. This shift is further compounded by the rise of remote work, which has diminished the necessity of living close to urban job centers, making suburban and exurban living more feasible and attractive than ever.

But it’s not just Gen Y seeking a slower pace of life — Gen Zers are as well. They are generally well-versed in assessing housing woes based on their predecessors’ experiences. States with lower densities or rural charm have started to appeal to these youngsters. Utah, North Dakota, Colorado and Alabama are among the top 10 states winning over Gen Zers with perks that include a lower cost of living and generally cheaper housing against a spectacular natural background.

To find out which cities are keeping up with the population boom, we analyzed housing stock changes from 2013 to 2022 in nearly 4,100 American cities.

Interestingly, exurbs — broadly defined as areas with fewer than 250 residents per square mile in the first year of our 10-year analysis — have seen significant growth over the past decade. Our data reveals that five of the top 10 places with the fastest-growing housing inventories over the past 10 years were exurbs, which have now transitioned to suburb status based on population density.

Housing inventory in exurbs grew by an average of 15% over the past 10 years, outpacing suburbs at 14% and principal cities at 10%. Population growth in exurbs (16%) also surpassed that of suburbs (13%) and principal cities (9%), highlighting a broader demographic shift. Self storage, which typically follows housing development and population trends, has stayed ahead of the curve, with most relocation hubs offering plenty of storage options.

The suburbs are generally well-supplied with self storage space, holding approximately 924M million rentable square feet, or 48% of the total large-scale development. Urban areas have also seen significant growth, particularly in the last decade, with over 30% of storage space now located in urban environments. In contrast, exurbs are still lagging, with a negligible share of storage stock in these locations.

The fastest-growing housing markets in the U.S.: Suburbs steal the glow

Suburban and exurban locations dominate the ranking of the fastest-growing housing markets in the U.S. The expansion is most pronounced in states experiencing robust economic growth and positive migration patterns.

Texas and Florida, in particular, stand out: Seven of the top 20 fastest-developing suburbs over the past decade are in Texas, with another five in Florida. These states have attracted people from across the U.S., notably from California and New York. Their warm climates, low taxes and abundant recreational activities, including beautiful scenery and theme parks, make them standout relocation hotspots. Dallas suburbs are top choices for young talent seeking job opportunities in the metroplex, while Austin and Houston offer access to a robust tech scene and a cosmopolitan vibe that rivals any coastal hub. Areas like The Villages in Florida cater specifically to retirees, offering a variety of amenities and a community-oriented lifestyle that appeals to older adults looking for a supportive environment to spend their retirement years.

The migration toward the suburbs is also significant in regions surrounding large urban hotspots where housing affordability has plummeted. In metropolitan areas like Washington, D.C., and the Tri-State area, the drive for more affordable and comfortable housing is pushing people toward suburban and exurban communities.

Moreover, the rise of remote work has enabled people to move away from expensive urban centers to more affordable regions where they can maintain a high quality of life while working from home. This trend has benefited cities like Blackwells Mills in New Jersey and Davenport and Nocatee in Florida.

Utah’s housing growth spearheaded by Provo suburb

Utah’s significant economic success over the past two decades has led to a housing boom, transforming quiet streets into lively communities, especially around Provo and Salt Lake City.

Aerial View of Downtown Provo during Summer
Aerial view of downtown Provo during summer

The fastest-growing housing market in Utah and the U.S. overall is Vineyard, a once-idle community located in the Provo-Orem metro area. This former exurb experienced explosive growth over the last decade, with its total housing inventory jumping from a mere 57 units in 2013 to 4,163 units in 2022. Virtually all of Vineyard’s multifamily stock has been built in the last 10 years. This expansion came in response to tremendous population growth, from 177 people in 2013 to 12,663 in 2022. Population density in Vineyard is now 2,641 people per square mile.

The redevelopment of the former Geneva Steel mill has fueled much of the local growth, providing the foundation for new homes to be built, with more developments on the horizon. Plans have already been announced for a new 700-acre mixed-use community that will include commercial and hospitality space, retail and housing.

Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain are also experiencing growth, although at a slower pace. The metro area’s principal city, Provo, registered a minor 5% increase in its housing inventory, with its population remaining largely stagnant. Orem performed slightly better, with an 18% increase in housing inventory, but this growth is still not comparable to the rapid development in the metro area’s suburbs.

In the Salt Lake City metro area, Herriman is also experiencing notable growth. It ranks seventeenth among the country’s hottest housing markets, with its total housing inventory increasing by 165% over the past decade. The population more than doubled as well, growing from under 23,500 in 2013 to over 55,000 in 2022. In contrast, the metro area’s principal city, Salt Lake City, saw a far more modest 16% increase in its total housing inventory, coupled with a 7% population growth.

Heart shaped lake amid buildings and houses in Salt Lake City Utah
Suburban development around Salt Lake City, Utah

Housing affordability pushes Tri-State area residents toward suburban living

Blackwells Mills, NJ, in the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area, is the second-fastest growing suburb in the nation. Located 45 miles from New York City, Blackwells Mills managed to increase its housing inventory by almost 20 times over the past decade. Its population jumped from under 500 in 2013 to over 10,000 in 2022, and much of this growth is associated with the debut of the pandemic.

The local population was still under 1,000 in 2019 but swelled to over 9,000 in 2020, a very striking example of the pandemic effect on suburban versus urban living. The exodus from downtowns toward suburban areas like Blackwells Mills was incentivized not solely by the temporary need for extra space that many of us felt during the pandemic. Affordability is a huge component as well — home prices in Blackwells Mills increased by only 16% over the past decade, compared to a 49% increase in home prices in NYC and a 52% increase in Jersey City. Thus, many of those who undertook what they believed was a temporary relocation during the pandemic most likely remain put to this day, due to a lower cost of living and the newly found freedom granted by remote work. In fact, almost a quarter of the suburb’s residents are currently working from home.

Not in the Tri-State area but relatively close by, Niskayuna, NY, an Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area suburb, ranks sixth nationally for fulminant growth over the past decade. The local housing stock more than quadrupled, from 1,800 units in 2013 to over 8,400 in 2022. The population followed much the same trajectory, reaching over 20,000 now from under 5,000 a decade ago. Not only did the housing inventory increase in Niskayuna, but it also diversified. If most units were single family homes a decade ago, nowadays the suburb is home to roughly 1,450 apartments. To compare, during the same period, Albany increased its housing inventory by just 6% while population stayed about the same.

Suburban Texas grows by leaps and bounds, fueled by domestic migration, economic development

It’s hardly a secret that Texas as a whole saw immense growth in the recent past, both in terms of population and economy. Its bustling metro areas are attracting newcomers from all over the country and particularly from states with expensive real estate markets. The business-friendly environment in Texas acts as a magnet for companies as well, with over 100 companies relocating to the Lone Star State since 2020.

The influx of people and businesses is spurring construction and expanding Texas’s major metro areas. Many newcomers, seeking affordability and space, prefer the suburbs. This trend is reshaping urban sprawl, driving new residents toward suburban and exurban areas.

A good example of this phenomenon is Fulshear, located in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area. Fulshear ranks third nationally for fast-paced suburban growth over the past decade, managing to expand its housing inventory by 1,138%, from 544 units in 2013 to over 6,700 in 2022. Its population increased proportionally, by 1,200% over the same period. Fulshear evolved from its mostly rural character a decade ago to a bustling, busy suburb that also boasts apartment homes. And the trend is set to continue with new homes expected to hit the market — 2022 alone saw no less than 3,000 building permits being issued for single family homes.

The suburban revival of the past decade is even more obvious within the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area. In fact, four of the country’s top 20 fastest-growing suburbs are located in the metroplex, underlining the enormous success that Dallas has scored in terms of employment and economic development. A rising star of the tech industry that actually gained market share in tech-sector jobs during the pandemic, Dallas is marching toward its suburbs in an effort to make room for more people.

New development subdivision with quiet residential street in Dallas, Texas suburb on sunny autumn day
Residential street in Dallas, TX, suburb

Celina is the Dallas metro area’s top suburb for housing growth, ranking eighth nationally. Celina saw its total housing inventory multiply by over three times from 2013 to 2022, while its population increased by 237%, from around 6,400 to 21,500 currently. This former quiet exurb turned into a haven for remote workers — about 27% of the residents are working from home, and not by accident. In fact, Celina went ahead of the curve in terms of infrastructure and passed a “gigabit city ordinance” in 2017, providing fiber and high-speed internet to all its residential areas. However, the suburb’s popularity also translated into home price increases — far above the national average. The average house price in Celina expanded by almost 130% over the past decade, more than double the national growth rate.

Melissa, a pocket of intense suburban growth, is located a mere 20 miles from Celina and 40 miles from downtown Dallas. There are currently almost 5,000 housing units in Melissa, over three times more compared to a decade ago. The population tripled as well, with move-ins made easier by the fact that multifamily units started to be added to the local housing inventory over the past 10 years, a trend that persists, with 280 building permits for apartments issued in 2022 alone.

Prosper, another suburb located in the Dallas metro area, lives up to its name and ranks fifteenth nationally for suburban growth, with both housing inventory and population tripling since 2013. Almost a third of Prosper’s residents are working from home, and to help make room for home offices residents can easily turn to self storage. The area is home to roughly 681K square feet of storage space, well supplied by industry standards.

Other markers of urbanization, such as kindergartens, banks, and retail centers, popped up all across Prosper, signaling it as a great place to move for both young professionals and families with kids. But Prosper’s neat streets, great schools and top-notch homes do not come cheap. Median home prices are some of the highest in the state, with a home in Prosper calling for roughly $621K. The intensified housing construction doesn’t seem to have helped with stalling home price growth. Home prices have in fact nearly doubled from $339K in 2013, in line with what’s happening in other hot relocation destinations in D-FW.

Although more affordable overall and holding strong to its small-town feel, Fate has seen home prices double over the last decade — from roughly $172K to $343K. Housing units swelled by 162%, while population almost tripled during the same period.

To put things into perspective in terms of urban versus suburban growth within the Dallas metro area, the city of Dallas, which is in fact one of the country’s rapidly developing large cities, expanded its housing inventory by 11% over the same period. Arlington, another principal city in the metro area, saw only a minor 1% increase in housing units over the past decade.

The Austin-Round Rock metro area also claims a spot among the 20 hottest housing markets in the U.S. with Manor landing thirteenth in the ranking. The suburb is fairly close to downtown Austin and is connected to the city through a bike trail. Both single family homes and apartments were built in Manor over the past decade, with the housing inventory increasing from 1,500 units in 2013 to almost 4,600 units in 2022. With major businesses such as the Samsung semiconductor plant already in the area, as well technology manufacturer Han’s Laser rumored to land here as well, chances are that Manor will continue its outstanding rise in the coming years.

Woodbridge takes the lead in bridging the housing gap in Virginia

With Gen Zers most likely taking over urban centers in the D.C. metro area, it’s only natural to see some of its suburbs expanding to pick up the influx of older generations that might be chasing larger abodes to accommodate their expansive lifestyles.

Woodbridge, VA, situated in Prince William County along the I-95 corridor, approximately 20 miles south of Washington, D.C., seems to be a good candidate for those who want to remain in the proximity of major urban hotspots but with some added perks in terms of home space and housing affordability. Woodbridge multiplied its housing inventory by eight times over the past decade, ranking fourth nationally for rapid suburban growth. Moreover, the apartment sector encompassed a good portion of this striking growth, with the number of apartments increasing tenfold, from 550 in 2013 to almost 6,025 in 2022.

Florida’s suburbs are expanding to fit a steady influx of retirees, other newcomers

Florida, at the receiving end of domestic migration for a good while now, features five suburbs among the country’s top 20 fastest-growing housing markets. With retirees pouring in from places like New York and New Jersey, and with Californians changing coasts to get access to a far friendlier housing market, Florida is primed for further suburban development.

Apart from newcomers who relocate here for good, the Sunshine State also sees plenty of snowbirds and zoombirds spending anywhere from a few weeks to a few months each winter here. This short-term migration phenomenon has an impact on the local housing stock as well. Winter visitors usually favor more urbanized environments where apartment rentals and lifestyle amenities abound. This, in return, promotes further suburban expansion as a way to provide appealing housing options for long-term residents.


Coastal community Nocatee, located in the Jacksonville metro area, is a prime example of suburban expansion that caters to the growing need for housing in Florida’s major metro areas. The suburb ranks fifth nationally for development over the past decade, evolving from a small exurb with a little over 1,800 homes to a bustling, shiny, master-planned community of almost 8,400 units, where residents enjoy not only new and modern homes but plenty of lifestyle amenities as well. Naturally, there are also five times more residents in Nocatee nowadays compared to 10 years ago. Many of those are remote workers who seek to maximize their flexible work setup. The number of people working from home in Nocatee rose to over 34% in 2022.

Banking on its touristic potential and its proximity to Walt Disney World Resort, Horizon West, in the Orlando metro area, lands seventh in our ranking, due to an impressive 234% increase in its housing inventory. One of several master-planned communities in Florida, Horizon West is filled not only with new housing but also with schools, shops, restaurants and other attractions, plus a large regional park already mapped out.

Silver Springs Shores, part of the Ocala metro area, has attracted numerous young families over the past decade, due to a construction spree that saw its housing inventory tripling and its population quadrupling. The average household size expanded from 1.9 in 2013 to 2.5 in 2022, showcasing the return of millennials with young families to suburban areas that are affordable and ensure access to an outdoorsy lifestyle.

Davenport, on the outskirts of the Lakeland-Winter Haven metro area, and well connected not only to its principal cities but also to Kissimmee, Orlando and Florida’s Legoland resort, is in an ideal position, geographically and logistically, for ample growth. And the suburb is living up to its potential, having increased the local housing inventory by three times over the past decade, from around 1,100 homes in 2013 to almost 3,300 in 2022, which puts it in twelfth position in our ranking of rapidly developing suburban hotspots.

Another Central Florida suburb with meteoric rise over the past 10 years is Wildwood, part of The Villages metro area. Back in 2013, this was a small exurb with very low population density and about 2,600 homes. Nowadays, Wildwood, the country’s fourteenth-fastest-growing suburb, boasts almost 8,000 housing units. Apartment construction in particular is also picking up pace in the area, with the multifamily inventory quadrupling over the past decade, priming the suburb for even more intense moving activity.

The Midwest sees two suburbs among the country’s top 20 fastest-growing housing markets

With generally lower incoming domestic migration compared to the southern states, the Midwest boasts fewer rapidly growing suburban areas — but still a significant number. Whitestown, IN, part of the Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson metro area, landed 16th among the country’s fastest-growing suburbs. Whitestown increased its housing inventory from about 1,300 units in 2013 to 3,800 units in 2022, an evolution that also encompasses a 346% increase in its multifamily units.

Amelia, OH, located in the Cincinnati metro area, is the 19th-rapidly -developing suburb nationwide and an excellent place for those who enjoy laid-back, peaceful living, with easy access to an urban center. Amelia is very well connected to downtown Cincinnati — you can obviously drive the 20 miles, but there are also buses that provide nonstop express service from the suburb to downtown. Its housing inventory increased by 158%, from 2,000 units in 2013 to almost 5,300 today.

Airway Heights, WA, rounds out the country’s top 20 rapidly growing housing markets

The Pacific Northwest has just one suburban area in the top 20: Airway Heights in the Spokane metro area. This growing suburb saw its housing inventory increase by 155% over the past decade, from around 1,200 homes in 2013 to over 3,000 today. Population growth was 70% over the same period, while household size decreased from an average of 5.2 to 3.5 people. This may be related to the area’s strong military presence, given its proximity to Fairchild Air Force Base, making it a hotspot for temporary relocations

Midsize cities top the fastest-growing housing markets

It’s natural that small suburbs usually expand at a faster pace compared to well-established cities, as there’s available, affordable land for growth, and zoning regulations are usually laxer for new housing projects, with less bureaucracy involved. However, that’s not saying that larger cities don’t see their fair share of new housing. Midsize cities (with a population between 150K and 350K), particularly those located in the Southern and the Southwestern areas of the country, registered steep housing inventory increases. The absolute winners in this category are Frisco, TX, and Enterprise, NV. Both now have approximately 70% more housing units than they did a decade ago.

Frisco, TX, situated in the high-flying Dallas metro area, now boasts almost 74,000 housing units, compared to 43,000 in 2013. Multifamily living is taking up a big slice of the housing development in Frisco: The number of apartments increased by 175%, from about 11,800 to 18,500 today, compared to a 53% advancement of single family homes. Another midsize city located in the Dallas metro area, McKinney, expanded its housing inventory by a neat 50%, ranking third in its category.

Enterprise, NV, comes in second, managing to build over 35,000 homes over the past decade for a total of 85,000 nowadays. Located in the Las Vegas metro area, Enterprise is a safe, family-friendly city, extremely attractive for those who want to keep close the bustle of Las Vegas while still enjoying a relaxed lifestyle a mere 15 miles away.

View of residential building of Enterprise area at Las Vegas, NV
View of residential building of Enterprise area at Las Vegas, NV

Large cities: Tech and science hubs from across the country lead in housing inventory increases

Over the past decade, several large cities across the United States have registered significant increases in housing inventory — and most of them are, again, in the South. There are common factors underpinning the housing inventory increases across these cities: strong job markets and diverse economies driven by high-paying sectors such as tech and scientific research; high living standards including cultural amenities, outdoor activities and education; and some of these locations offer still affordable housing options, drawing people seeking better value for their money.

Austin ranks first nationally among large cities with a 23% housing inventory increase, fueled by its booming tech industry and reputation as a vibrant cultural hub. The influx of tech companies and startups, alongside a high quality of life and relatively low cost of living compared to Silicon Valley, has made Austin a magnet for young professionals and families alike. This demand has spurred significant increases in housing inventory to accommodate the growing population. Similarly, Fort Worth, part of the rapidly expanding Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, has seen a 21% expansion of its housing inventory.

On the other hand, the challenge of affordability continues to loom in Seattle, even as the city experienced a 21% growth in the number of its housing units in the last decade. Median home prices doubled over the same time frame and now top $880K.

In North Carolina, Raleigh, as part of the Research Triangle, and Charlotte, a major financial hub, both experienced massive housing inventory expansions of 18% over the past decade.

New avenue for self storage development in the country’s fast-growing suburbs

With America experiencing a renaissance of the suburbs, the self storage sector is deeply influenced by these shifts. Historically, self storage facilities were built on the outskirts of large cities, primarily in suburbs serving residents within a three-to-five-mile radius. However, over the last decade, self storage development has focused on large urban areas, driven by high population density and limited space.

With these trends shaping self storage development and smaller suburbs and exurbs growing in appeal, there is a burgeoning opportunity for self storage in these rapidly expanding areas. Exurbs have seen a remarkable 15% growth in housing inventory over the past decade, but self storage inventory in these regions has lagged, increasing by only 9%. Meanwhile, the self storage industry has kept pace with suburban expansions and outpaced housing inventory growth in principal cities.

This disparity highlights a potential gap in the market. As more Americans move to exurbs and smaller suburbs, the demand for additional storage space is likely to grow in these areas, presenting a compelling opportunity for the sector.

Self storage Availability and Prices in the 100 Fastest-Growing Housing Markets

RankCitySelf Storage Availability (sq. ft./capita)Self Storage Rent
1Vineyard, UT--
2Blackwells Mills, NJ--
3Fulshear, TX3.99-
4Woodbridge, VA5.44-
5Nocatee, FL--
6Niskayuna, NY--
7Horizon West, FL--
8Celina, TX6.12-
9Melissa, TX13.71-
10Palmview, TX--
11Silver Springs Shores, FL--
12Davenport, FL7.24-
13Manor, TX4.4-
14Wildwood, FL-$92
15Prosper, TX7.76-
16Whitestown, IN--
17Herriman, UT1-
18Fate, TX5.62-
19Amelia, OH6.82-
20Airway Heights, WA5.79$92
21Leander, TX6.79-
22Bluffdale, UT3.41-
23Loudoun Valley Estates, VA--
24Monument, CO11.29-
25Monument, CO5.28-
26Groveland, FL5.41-
27Nolensville, TN2.83-
28Anna, TX11.83-
29Wimauma, FL1.68-
30Queen Creek, AZ3.37-
31Lake Stickney, WA--
32Bluffton, SC9.22-
33Ridgefield, WA3.55-
34Star, ID17.4-
35Saratoga Springs, UT3.02-
36Brambleton, VA--
37Scenic Oaks, TX--
38Berthoud, CO7.17-
39Viera West, FL--
40Princeton, TX4.99$88
41Sanford, ME11.41-
42Chamblee, GA2.88-
43Eagle Mountain, UT4.01-
44Stansbury Park, UT--
45Williston, ND--
46Port St. John, FL--
47Fort Mill, SC6.53-
48Kyle, TX8.17-
49Progress, FL--
50Clarksburg, MD--
51Centerton, AR6$71
52Port Wentworth, GA7.69-
53East Glenville, NY--
54Little Elm, TX3.11-
55Westchester, FL--
56Midlothian, TX16.24-
57Buda, TX10.24-
58Windsor, CO12.38-
59Myers Corner, NY--
60Stone Ridge, VA--
61Johnstown, CO9.53-
62Spring Hill, TN14.2-
63Port Royal, SC3.6$149
64Waxhaw, NC2.51-
65Hornsby Bend, TX--
66Avon, IN4.61-
67Selma, TX3.8$159
68Waukee, IA7.43-
69Braselton, GA7.48$244
70World Golf, FL--
71Holly Springs, GA2.1$165
72Pasadena Hills, FL--
73West Haven, UT1.51-
74Hutto, TX3.1-
75Mountain House, CA--
76Conroe, TX9.24-
77Hobart, WI--
78Forney, TX15.84-
79Fort Bliss, TX--
80Fuquay-Varina, NC9.63-
81Apex, NC4.58-
82Frisco, TX3.91-
83Buckeye, AZ5.95-
84Enterprise, NV--
85New Braunfels, TX12.2-
86Westphalia, MD--
87Clarkston, GA1.11$106
88Manvel, TX3.5-
89Trinity, FL2.16-
90Frederick, CO4.45-
91Kailua, HI--
92Newcastle, OK18.83-
93Harrison, NJ0.09-
94Happy Valley, OR1.52-
95Knightdale, NC4.32-
96Leland, NC16.64-
97Ocean Pointe, HI--
98Lathrop, CA4.58-
99New Kingman-Butler--
100Grimes, IA5.17-
StorageCafe analysis of Yardi Matrix data.

 

“In a landscape characterized by flexible work setups and the post-pandemic search for more space, suburban and exurban areas are growing faster than urban cores, said Doug Ressler, manager of business intelligence at Yardi Matrix. “High-growth suburbs are emerging in areas with natural scenery, especially appealing to remote workers and retirees, as well as in places with high-performing schools near medium or large metro areas with strong job markets, even when that means paying a premium on housing.”

“This suburban boom allows people to enjoy more living space and provides access to more diverse housing, but it also complicates efforts to bring employees back to urban offices”, he added. “The full impact of this major migration shift remains to be seen, as suburban and exurban living continues to reshape residential and work environments.”

As the suburban revival sweeps across the nation, it’s clear that these fast-growing areas are more than just places to live — they’re becoming vibrant, dynamic communities that mirror the evolving aspirations of American families. Unlike previous suburban expansions, these new developments have the potential to align with modern lifestyle preferences, offering amenities, services and opportunities that cater to contemporary needs. These flourishing suburbs are poised to redefine the American dream, presenting a blueprint for sustainable, community-focused living that meets the demands of a new generation.

You can see below the data regarding housing inventory expansion and population growth in 4,028 U.S. cities:

Featured expert opinion

To gain additional insights on the factors shaping housing development within an urban, suburban and exurban context, we talked to Jake Wegman, professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jake Wegmann, The University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture Jake Wegmann_headshot_Sept_2022

1. What are the primary drivers behind the current population changes?

When I analyzed housing growth from 1980 to 2022 (the latest data available from the Census), I did of course observe some changes. But I was even more struck by how many suburbs have remained near the top of the list for growth across the decades. Examples include suburbs such as Leander and Cedar (near Austin), and Allen and Frisco (near Dallas-Fort Worth), which have maintained red hot housing growth rates across multiple decades. We can guess that the factors driving growth in these places in the 2020s are similar to what they were in the 2000s or even in some cases in the 1980s: location within a medium or large metro area with booming job growth; major freeway links to large job centers; low crime rates; high-performing school districts; and permissive local land use regulations enabling growth.

2. Have you noticed any notable changes in the types of locations experiencing more population growth?

I can see glimpses of at least two trends, although I wouldn't call them universal. First, I see some suburbs with recent high rates of growth that are extremely racially and ethnically diverse, such as Garland (near Dallas-Fort Worth), Manor (near Austin), and Missouri City (near Houston). Suburbs like this are some of the places where you can best glimpse the multiracial future of America. You can see soccer and cricket being played in local parks alongside baseball and football. Second, some of the suburbs that have joined the top of the growth charts in Texas recently include some places that have preexisting amenities, such as natural scenery (Dripping Springs near Austin) or a robust historic downtown (Georgetown near Austin). But there are also recent high-growth suburbs that exhibit neither of these characteristics, so I would hesitate to call it a firm trend. We could instead say that suburban growth in Texas reflects changes in America as a whole, including racial/ethnic diversification and a hunger for lifestyle amenities.

3. How do you perceive the evolution of the exurb and suburban growth trends compared to urban growth?

It is always going to be faster--that has been true for a long time, and it continues to be true even though urban cores around the country, including in Texas, are in many ways much more robust and attractive places now (despite the economic damage of the pandemic) than they were in 1980s. Exurban areas simply have more room to grow and fewer neighbors to object. Well-established suburbs are "thickening up" as they begin to welcome denser forms of development, such as redeveloped malls or new town centers (particularly for suburbs lacking historic downtowns). In doing so they can help maintain fairly high rates of housing unit growth in some cases. It is true, there are some central cities both large and small (Fort Worth, Laredo, Brownsville) that are near the top of the growth rates for Texas municipalities in recent years, but these are places that have a lot of developable and vacant land inside their city limits. Thus, this growth, while technically inside of central cities, is predominantly more suburban in character.

Methodology

This analysis was done by StorageCafe, an online platform that provides storage unit listings across the nation.

For this research, we considered 4,098 cities with a population of over 10,000 residents. We ranked these cities based on the increase in their total housing inventory (single family homes and multifamily units) over a decade (2013 to 2022), using the latest available data from the U.S. Census.

Additional data used in this research (population change, housing costs, average household size and work-from-home numbers) are from the U.S. Census as well.

All places with a population of under 150,000 residents are labeled as suburbs. Additionally, we defined as exurbs those places with a population density of under 250 residents per square mile in 2013.

In contrast, all towns and cities with a population of over 150,000 residents are categorized as principal cities.

Data on self storage comes from Yardi Matrix, StorageCafe’s sister division and a business development and asset management tool for brokers, sponsors, banks and equity sources underwriting investments in the multifamily, office, industrial and self storage sectors.

Fair use and distribution

This study serves as a resource for the general public on issues of common interest and should not be regarded as investment advice. The data is true to the best of our knowledge but may change if amendments to it are made. We agree to the distribution of this content but we do require a mention in return for attribution purposes.

Author

Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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