Relocation: Dallas-Fort Worth tops for new residents

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We have 65 active prospects for office and industrial relocation. Our area offers good value, low taxes and a low cost of doing business.

– Chris Strayer, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

With its robust economy, abundance of jobs and affordability compared to other parts of the country, Texas continues to gain more than 500,000 new residents from out-of-state annually, according to a new report on relocation in Texas.

The largest number of them chose to settle in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to the report from Texas Realtors, a real estate trade organization based in Austin.

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Texas ranked second behind Florida as the top destination for transplants in 2017, the latest year of data in the relocation report. That year, 524,511 new residents moved to Texas, compared to 566,476 who moved to Florida. California ranked third as a destination for newcomers with 523,131 relocations.

“This is fifth year in a row that Texas has gained more than 500,000 new residents from out of state and we anticipate that trend will continue in the coming years,” the report states.

Ironically, the highest number of people who relocated to Texas from other states came from California, with 63,175 relocations. At the same time, the top destination for the 467,338 Texans who moved away from the state, the highest number of them, 40,999, moved to California, according to the report.

The greatest number of people who moved to Texas came from outside the United States.

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Population growth is recognized as a leading sign of economic strength because it drives home sales, demand for consumer goods and services and expands the workforce pool, which in turn, attracts new corporate and business relocations, according to industry officials.

“One of the questions that is always asked is about workforce,” said Chris Strayer, senior vice president for Business Attraction & Retention for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, which leads efforts to relocate new corporations and businesses to the area.

“What companies want to know is do we have the workforce with the skillsets they need to be successful,” Strayer said. “These companies are looking to grow and they may need to hire 100, 200 or even 500 people. They need to know that we have a large enough population and workforce to support their needs.”

Within Texas, the Dallas-Fort Worth area was the top destination for out-of-state newcomers at 230,118.

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The Houston area came in second with 203,279 relocations, followed by the Austin area at 116,174 and 101,875 for the San Antonio area, according to the relocation report.

At the county level, Harris County (Houston) led in 2017 relocations at 83,282, followed by Dallas County with 45,212. Tarrant County ranked third with 42,451, edging out Bexar County (San Antonio) with 40,322 and Travis County (Austin) with 42,451.

Collin County, recognized as one of the fastest growing the nation as a result of high-profile corporation relocation such as Toyota, added 23,168 newcomers in 2017.

At the same time as out-of-staters are arriving, residents are also departing.

The outbound numbers for the state’s major metro areas reflect the same pattern as inbound migration.

The DFW area ranked first by shedding 209,188 people. Houston followed with a loss of 174,181 people, Austin dropped 86,982 people and San Antonio declined by 86,355 residents.

Other Tarrant County data in the report shows the county ranked No. 3 for relocations, both in and out, from other Texas counties, No. 4 for total residents leaving Texas and No. 2 for net new residents from out-of-state.

The largest number of Texas residents who moved to Tarrant County came from Dallas County at 5,333. Harris County was a distant second with 1,279 relocations to Tarrant County.

The largest number of people, 1,780, who left Tarrant County moved to Denton County, according to the report.

The results are not surprising, according to Moiri Brown, branch manager for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Fort Worth and president of the Board of Directors of the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors.

Population growth in the DFW area during the past few years was a key driver behind the red-hot residential real estate market, especially for sellers. Prices rose to historic levels as sales boomed and frustrated would-be buyers found themselves out-maneuvered in bidding wars or paying over asking price.

In Tarrant County, prices rose 9.5 percent in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, median sales prices rose to a peak of 12.2 percent. The median price of a Tarrant County home was $169,000 in 2015 and $207,500 in 2017, Brown said.

In 2018, the median home price rose to $220,522 but the percentage of price increase dropped to 6.3 percent.

Prices are expected to rise this year but only by about 2 to 3 percent.

“It’s all about supply and demand,” Brown said. “We’re starting to see buyers pushing back against high prices.

“For people moving here from California, prices here are a bargain. But first-time buyers and low- and middle-income people are being priced out of the market,” she said. “Our biggest issue is supply of affordable homes.”

But even as Tarrant County has gotten more expensive, it is still more affordable than Dallas County. It is the reason why relocations are highest from Dallas to Tarrant counties, as the relocation report shows, Brown said.

The outbound relocations from Tarrant County to Denton County reflect the northward expansion of new homebuilding in the Alliance Corridor. Vacant land for new homebuilding is becoming scarcer in northern Tarrant County but still abundant in Southern Denton County towns such as Argyle and Northlake.

“There are a lot of companies in Tarrant County that move employees in and out every few years,” Brown said. Those companies include BNSF Railroad, American Airlines, Lockheed Martin, Alcon and TD Ameritrade.

“People moving in with a company tend to want new houses because they are probably only going to stay a few years,” Brown said. “Most of those have been in northeast Tarrant County and now in Denton County.”

Strayer said the outlook for continued population growth looks strong, particularly with the Fort Worth Chamber’s new push to attract new businesses and corporations to the area.

“We have 65 active prospects for office and industrial relocation,” he said. “Our area offers good value, low taxes and a low cost of doing business.

“We’re fortunate to have 7.5 million people living in North Texas and that’s a good thing from a workforce and talent perspective.”

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