Top 10 real estate boomtowns: 2020

U.S. population projected to jump 8.9% in next decade

The U.S. population will rise 8.9 percent between 2010 and 2020 to 337.1 million, according to projections from data analysis firm ProximityOne.

The firm’s estimates take into account results from the 2010 census as well as historical birth, death, migration and economic data. According to the 2010 census, the nation’s inhabitants grew to 308.7 million between 2000 and 2010, a 9.7 percent increase.

The 10 metro areas expected to see the biggest jumps in population between 2010 and 2020 are mostly in states that experienced increases of between 15 percent and 25 percent in the last decade: North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Georgia, Idaho and Colorado.

Rank Metro area Pop. 2010 Pop. 2020 (projected) % change
1 Raleigh-Cary, N.C. 1,140,057 1,546,556 35.7%
2 Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, Wash. 255,485 345,779 35.3%
3 Austin-Round Rock, Texas 1,729,845 2,302,813 33.1%
4 Provo-Orem, Utah 530,931 700,234 31.9%
5 Hinesville-Fort Stewart, Ga. 78,595 102,769 30.8%
6 Logan, Utah-Idaho 126,348 163,550 29.4%
7 Grand Junction, Colo. 147,759 190,114 28.7%
8 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas 779,858 992,706 27.3%
9 Idaho Falls, Idaho 131,198 166,378 26.8%
10 Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C.-S.C. 1,769,001 2,236,368 26.4%

Source: ProximityOne 

At the top, the Raleigh-Cary, N.C., metro area is expected to see a 35.7 percent rise in population by 2020, after a 41.8 percent rise between 2000-10. The area’s economy is buoyed by a relatively young population attracted to the area’s universities and research facilities.

"Raleigh (has) always been a hot spot for growth and relocation. It doesn’t surprise me that we are slated for tremendous growth," said Sheri Moritz, broker at Keller Williams Preferred Realty in Raleigh.

"We have many great (businesses) in the area producing jobs that will eventually relocate people to the area."

Even so, "I have not seen a huge surge in relocation and out-of-town buyers yet," she added.

If that population growth materializes, Moritz expects housing prices to rise as a result of limited inventory in the area, except in high-end homes.

Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, Wash., is expected to see the second-biggest population increase by 2020 (35.3 percent), following a 32.6 percent jump between 2000-10. Chosen as one of Inman News’ "10 Real Estate Markets to Watch in 2011" in March, the area has a relatively low unemployment rate (7.3 percent in April) and a multi-industry economy.

"We are a transportation hub with rail, barge traffic and (a) freeway network. Our economy includes agriculture, with its growing grape/wine market, high-tech companies like Infinia, which manufactures generators powered by the sun’s energy, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, and the Hanford Project," said Don Havre, broker at The Real Estate Firm in Kennewick, in that report.

That the Austin metro area was No. 3 on the list did not surprise Texas Discount Realty broker Aaron Farmer.

"I am starting to see a lot more out of state license plates driving around Austin. Austin has a diverse economy with a strong government and education base of jobs … but we are seeing a lot more tech companies moving here or increasing their presence," Farmer said. 

"Facebook has an office here now, as does Google. Something that has been sometimes overlooked is that we also have a large tourist industry building up. We have many cool festivals like South by Southwest and Austin City Limits. We are also the corporate headquarters for Homeaway.com, which is a vacation rental company."

No. 4, Provo-Orem, Utah, offers a conservative college-town feel and lifestyle fed by Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University, said Kib Jensen, a Realtor and consultant at TRH Property Group in Provo.

"I see a diverse group moving in, from former (Utahans) moving back to raise their families, to Latino families looking for a good place to raise their families, to others who are moving here to take a new or better job and take advantage of the great recreational outdoors Utah offers," Jensen said.

The oil and gas industry helped spur an influx in population in Grand Junction, Colo., in the early 2000s, said Ron Fleenor, broker associate at Keller Williams Grand Junction Realty. The area’s population rose 25.8 percent between 2000 and 2010. For the past few years, however, those industries have been moving to areas such as North Dakota. That may mean unemployment will hamper population growth in Grand Junction, Fleenor said.

The area’s unemployment stood at 9.6 percent in April, compared with 8.3 percent in Colorado as a whole, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"If the oil and gas industry does not return to the area soon, the situation will even be worse than it is now. There would have to be a serious increase in available jobs coming to this area in the next couple of years for our population to increase at all," Fleenor said.

Of 366 metro areas, 43 are expected to experience population loss in the next decade. Of the 10 areas expected to lose the biggest share of people, most are in the former Rust Belt. Nearly all — except for the Crestview metro area in Florida, and Jackson, Mich. — saw their populations drop between 2000 and 2010.

All but Crestview had unemployment rates higher than the national rate in April (8.7 percent, nonseasonally adjusted). Four had double-digit jobless rates: Steubenville-Weirton, Ohio (11.3 percent); Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich. (11.1 percent); Flint, Mich. (10.8 percent); and Mansfield, Ohio (10.4 percent).

Rank Metro area Pop. 2010 Pop. 2020 (projected) % change
1 Flint, Mich. 424,564 375,775 -11.5%
2 Jackson, Mich. 160,011 149,027 -6.9%
3 Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Fla. 180,519 168,243 -6.8%
4 Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa. 564,856 527,389 -6.6%
5 Kokomo, Ind. 98,535 92,721 -5.9%
6 Pine Bluff, Ark. 100,107 94,213 -5.9%
7 Steubenville-Weirton, W.Va.-Ohio 124,273 117,110 -5.8%
8 Mansfield, Ohio 124,306 117,308 -5.6%
9 Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich. 4,290,394 4,055,769 -5.5%
10 Danville, Ill. 81,529 77,599 -4.8%

Source: ProximityOne

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