Population Shifts: Say Hello to the 'Rolling Boom'

High prices are forcing home buyers to move to the suburbs, smaller towns, or across state lines, giving new locales a taste of the housing boom.

January 1, 2006

Say hello to the new housing market trend—the rolling boom. State population estimates just released by the U.S. Census Bureau suggest that home buyers are migrating from higher-priced markets to more moderately priced areas, bringing new growth to cities such as Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, Jacksonville, Fla., and Portland, Ore.

The effect is what some experts are calling a “rolling boom.” It works like this: High prices force home buyers to move to the suburbs, smaller towns, or across state lines, giving new locales a taste of the housing boom.

California, for example, loses about 100,000 residents a year to other states, which has helped to create rolling booms in Nevada and Arizona. And as those states become less affordable, buyers are migrating to Texas, Georgia, and other states.

Rising Population in Key States

There are three ways that state populations grow—births, immigration from other countries, and migration from other states. Migration and immigration ultimately impact birth rates, creating population booms.

In 2005, the United States added nearly 3 million people, bringing the country's population to more than 296 million. More than half of that growth was in Florida, Texas, California, Arizona, and Georgia. Florida took the prize for the largest population increase, gaining nearly 404,000 residents. Texas was a close second with 388,000, or 1,063 new residents per day.

Despite the migration out of California, the Golden State remains the most populous with more than 36 million people in 2005. Texas ranks second with nearly 23 million, and New York is third with just below 20 million.

The Census report shows that more than half of the nation's population lives in 10 states, nearly equally divided among the Northeast (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey), Midwest (Illinois, Ohio, Michigan), South (Texas, Florida, Georgia), and West (California).

Expect Population Shifts

How will state populations change in the coming year? That remains to be seen. Population shifts are as old as mankind, so it's wise to expect the rolling boom to continue. Affordability will always play a large part in where people decide to live, but remember that it’s not the only factor at play.

When helping your customers or clients choose a place to live, look not only at home prices, but at job opportunities, lifestyle, and culture. All of those are compelling factors that will determine how happy they will be in their new home.

(c)Copyright 2006 Realty Times. Reprinted with permission.

Blanche Evans is a writer/editor and CEO of evansEmedia. Formerly, she was a senior editor with Realty Times, where she was named by REALTOR® Magazine as one of the most influential people in the real estate industry.