Bigger D

Dallas beats out Austin as favorite Texas city for new residents during pandemic

Dallas beats Austin as top Texas city for new residents amid pandemic

Dallas skyline with reflection
Dallas added about 76,000 residents last year. joe daniel price/Getty Images

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio recently tweeted a link to a Forbes article along with the following caption: "Move over Austin, because as the song says, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere — and it’s easier than ever for young dreamers to make it in the greatest city in the world!"

Though it's a stretch to say de Blasio was trying to start a "feud," the tweet does illustrate the national hype surrounding Austin — from major news outlets reporting on a COVID-induced wave of people trading big cities for a better quality of life in Central Texas to companies such as Oracle moving their operations to the Capital City. 

But new data from Redfin says it's actually not Austin pulling the most newcomers into Texas. It's ... Dallas.

In its new report, published February 4, the real-estate brokerage used data from 1 million Redfin users and the U.S. Census Bureau to calculate pandemic-induced migration, using net inflow (another name for people moving into the city), number of homes for sale compared to last year, median home price, and new construction permits to calculate the 10 metro areas with the biggest boon.

Dallas might not be grabbing the headlines (or tweets) bestowed upon Austin, but at 76,037 people, Big D had the No. 2 largest net inflow in the U.S. last year, adding nearly 30,000 more people than Austin.

That's the most residents Dallas has added in the past decade.

Austin is a few spots below Dallas, as the No. 5 metro area with the biggest net inflow in 2020. Last year, the Capital City welcomed 46,958 new residents. Like Dallas, that's more than any other year in the past decade.

Coupled with the pandemic, the influx has set off a residential real estate explosion in Austin, knocking the number of homes for sale down 19.2 percent year-over-year and shooting home prices up 15.2 percent to a median of $370,000 across the Austin-Round Rock metro area. 

Dallas, too, is seeing a housing shortage, with the number of homes for sale falling 35.7 percent over last year and the median home price climbing 9.1 percent to $323,900.

"People aren't moving to places with more homes available to buy; they're moving to places with more affordable homes to buy," says Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. "Remote workers leaving expensive places for relatively affordable areas, partly because the allure of more house for less money is strong, is exacerbating housing supply shortages in more affordable parts of the country."

Earning the top spot in the Redfin report was Phoenix, a city where more than 82,000 moved to last year. Like Dallas and Austin, Phoenix is attracting buyers from California looking for better tax rates, warm weather, outdoor amenities, and affordability. And, like its Texas counterparts, it's also finding some long-term residents struggling to afford the new normal.

"Even though Phoenix is affordable compared to other places, prices have risen significantly over the last year," said Phoenix-based Redfin agent Van Welborn in the report. "Locals are having a hard time getting their offers accepted because there are so few homes on the market, and often someone from California will put in a competing offer at a higher price and waive the appraisal."

Joining Dallas and Austin in the top 10 are Phoenix (No. 1); Orlando (No. 3); Tampa, Florida (No. 4); Las Vegas (No. 6); Atlanta (No. 7); Greenville, South Carolina (No. 8); Charlotte, North Carolina (No. 9); and Knoxville, Tennessee (No. 10).

According to Redfin, Bill de Blasio has a right to tweet his worries about New York City. The Big Apple lost 273,248 residents last year, the most of any city in the U.S. Currently, the number of homes on the market has increased 27.7 percent, and the median home price as of December now sits at $550,000.

Los Angeles, at No. 2, also saw a mass exodus in 2020, losing 124,175 residents. Chicago came in next at No. 3, followed by the San Francisco Bay Area (No. 4); Detroit (No. 5); Seattle (No. 6); Boston (No. 7); Miami (No. 8); Washington, D.C. (No. 9); and Baton Rouge, Louisiana (No. 10).