Housing MarketReal Estate

Suburbs outpace big cities for housing inventory growth: StorageCafe

The analysis found average inventory growth of 15% in smaller, less dense cities from 2013 to 2022

Driven by Americans’ desire for affordability, more space and a “slower pace of life,” housing supply in suburbs and exurbs is growing faster than in major cities.

That’s the key takeaway from a report released Monday by StorageCafe, an affiliate of real estate data provider Yardi, which analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data from 2013 to 2022 to determine the fastest-growing housing markets in terms of single-family and multifamily homes added.

The analysis included more than 4,000 cities and defined “principal cities“ as those with populations of more than 150,000. Suburbs and exurbs have populations below that cutoff, with exurbs defined as places with a population density of less than 250 residents per square mile in 2013.

StorageCafe found that each of the 20 fastest-growing housing markets during the decade were suburbs and exurbs — and most of these markets still have fewer than 50,000 residents. The growth was concentrated in Southern and Sun Belt markets, with Texas placing seven cities on the list and Florida adding five.

Additionally, five of the top 10 fastest-growing markets were exurbs that transitioned into suburbs during this time due to growth in population density. The report noted that “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%).“

The No. 1 market in the country for inventory growth was Vineyard, Utah. Located in the Provo-Orem metro area, Vineyard (population 12,600) grew its stock by more than 7,000% during the decade and now has more than 4,100 housing units.

Other cities in the top five for inventory growth were Blackwells Mills, New Jersey; Fulshear, Texas; Woodbridge, Virginia; and Nocatee, Florida.

Major cities grew their housing supply too, albeit at slower rates. The Texas hubs of Austin and Fort Worth led the way with respective inventory growth of 23% and 21% during the decade. They were followed by Seattle (21%), Raleigh (18%) and Charlotte (18%).

“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,“ the report noted. “This demand has spurred significant increases in housing inventory to accommodate the growing population.“

StorageCafe observed that sharp home-price increases and persistently low levels of inventory are pushing Americans out of urban cores. The company cited recent research from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, which found that millennials are driving the trend.

Members of Generation Z are also “well-versed in assessing housing woes based on their predecessors’ experiences,“ StorageCafe reported. It noted that areas with “lower densities or rural charm have started to appeal to these youngsters.“

In a separate report released last month, the company found that Connecticut led the nation for net migration by Gen Z residents from 2021 to 2022. It was followed by Washington, D.C., Texas, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

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