People around the country are packing up and moving to the ‘burbs—and to one Houston-area ‘burb in particular—according to the folks over at U-haul.
The experts in DIY moving released their annual migration trends report early this month, which tracks the percentage of their vehicles being used to move into one state or city and out of another in a calendar year. The report found that, in what it described as “one of the more turbulent moving seasons in modern history,” Americans were moving to southeastern suburbs at growing rates.
Conroe—which was touted not too long ago as being the fastest-growing city in the country—welcomed some of the highest incoming traffic in the country last year. The quiet, lake-adjacent suburb, located 40 miles north of Houston via I-45 and just a few miles north of The Woodlands, ranked 24th out of the report’s top 25 “growth cities,” or cities that had the highest net gains of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a city versus leaving that city.
About 17-percent more people moved into Conroe in 2020 than in the year before, according to U-Haul. People moving to Conroe also represented 51.5 percent of U-Haul business in the area in the calendar year.
And on a state level, Texas saw the second most growth in incoming U-Haul movers in the country for the fifth year in a row. About 9-percent more people moved to Texas in 2020 than in the year prior, and incoming movers represented more than 50 percent of U-Haul business in the state.
Tennessee jumped up 11 spots to claim the top state spot. And though Florida, which held the top growth state title in 2019, fell to third place, it was home to the top three growth cities: North Port, Kissimmee, and Port St. Lucie.
Tyler, Texas, was the only other Lone Star city to crack the top 25, earning a number 10 spot with arrivals increasing by more than 21 percent last year. Still, U-Haul notes that Kingwood, College Station, the Spring/The Woodlands corridor, Cypress, and Katy all saw growth last year.
The study is careful to add, “While U-Haul migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, the Company’s growth data is an effective gauge of how well cities and states are attracting and maintaining residents.”
Still, area realtor Jordan Schilleci, owner and broker of Jo & Co. Realty Group, can attest to an “overwhelming” interest in Conroe.
“It's been kind of intense and insane,” Schilleci says. “2020 compared to 2019 was a totally different market. I acquired so many more people moving to our area than ever before.”
Schilleci, who specializes in relocation, says she sees clients moving to Conroe from within Houston or from areas much farther away, like California, the Pacific Northwest, New York, and New Jersey. They’re attracted to the area because they feel it’ll be a great place to raise their kids and because of the growing supply of newly constructed homes.
“People want options. They want new,” she says. “They've been focusing on HGTV a little too much, so they kind of want the flashiness of new construction.”
With The Woodlands nearly maxed out on land space for new builds, developers have turned to Conroe. Schilleci calls out subdivisions like Grand Central Park, Fosters Ridge, Stillwater, and Arcadia where buyers can still scoop up never-lived-in properties from a wide range of price points—something that seems so foreign to Inner Loopers.
“If my client wants new construction, and they want to spend around $200,000, there aren't very many options left out there anymore,” she says. “But Conroe is one of them.”
Still, this might not be the case for long. “Developers are getting their hands on [land] and they're not slowing down. Inventory is low for resale. And now, officially because of Covid, inventory is low for new construction,” she says. “It's just selling like hotcakes.”
And though she describes Conroe as the “land of opportunity,” moving there might just be an opportunity that buyers (and U-Haulers) need to act on sooner rather than later—because these kinds of opportunities have a way of selling out so fast it makes your head spin.