U-Haul recently released their 2015 migration trends report, which ranked U.S. cities based off customer arrival and destination locations from over 1.7 million one-way truck rental transactions.
Concord, Calif., located on the outskirts of the Bay Area, is U-Haul's winner of 2015. Thanks to the booming local economy and convenient public transportation system, Concord has become a more livable and affordable option for transplants than San Francisco and San Jose, where many people are priced out of the market. Sacramento, Calif., and Roseville, Calif., with a dual downtown revitalization structure, are No. 2 on the list, a notable climb from No. 10 in 2014. Last year's winner, Austin, Texas, slid to third place in 2015, but is still a major draw for new residents with a strong job market, fast-growing economy, and vibrant cultural lifestyle. Young crowds from local higher educational institutions also fuel the local workforce and add to Austin's diversity.
Three of the top growth cities from U-Haul's ranking hail from a state included in United Van Lines' top 10 inbound states for moving study that BUILDER reported in December. Outside of prominent cities like Austin and Henderson, Texas and Nevada have both seen substantial population inflows in recent years.
U-Haul’s report also echos findings from Atlas Van Lines' 2015 migration pattern study, which ranked states by tracking the total number of shipments in each state and setting a threshold value of 0.55. In other words, a state qualified as inbound or outbound only if 55% or more of its total shipments were incoming or outgoing.
According to Atlan Van Lines' report, two Texas cities on the U-Haul ranking (Austin and College Station) also had the third-highest inbound moving rate over the past 10 years combined. Austin's strong job market has attracted many college graduates in the past five years, contributing to high demand for housing in the market. Annual housing starts in Austin lowered slightly in 2015 to 11,543, but starts still substantially outpaced closings, signaling builder confidence in the market.
Both United Van Lines and Atlas Van Lines included New York and Illinois in their rankings of top outbound moving states, but Manhattan and Chicago (no. 8 and no. 5 in U-Haul's ranking of high-growth cities) have proved that megacity charms against the outbound trend seen on the state level.
Strong housing demand is driven primarily by population growth in the twelve-county Chicago market, evidenced by a 5.4% increase in annual home closings year-over-year in 2015 (and 20% growth compared to 2012). According to Metrostudy's fourth quarter market summary, annual starts in Chicago were stable in 2015 compared to a year prior, but 2015 starts grew nearly 50% in comparison to three years ago, a solid sign of recovery from the housing crisis. With fundamentals for a progressive housing market in place, the Chicago market is expected to keep growing at a moderate pace for the rest of 2016.
Read more about the top cities and states for inbound and outbound moving from each report, and see the full Atlas Van Lines infographic below: