By Riki Markowitz

Nationally, the economy is the strongest it has been in decades. But in Texas, based on certain measurements, it’s just a little stronger. Last month, when Texas REALTORS released its 2018 Texas Relocation Report, it shined some light on what to expect for the rest of 2019. Analysis of current reporting data shows, “This is the fourth consecutive year that Texas added more than 500,000 new residents from out of state. [Texas experienced] a net gain of 87,656 residents this reporting period.”

The authors of the Texas REALTORS annual survey evaluated statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, migration trend data compiled by U-Haul, and relocation figures from 40 of the largest demographic areas in Texas. The resulting report reveals relocation numbers for metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and counties in Texas show, specifically, that Austin, Round Rock and Travis County are attractive destinations for new residents from within and out-of-state. The largest number of folks moving here from out-of-state are coming from other large MSAs, like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. Austin and Round Rock had the third highest net gains of out-of-state residents among the four major Texas MSAs — 17,280 new residents arrived here from California, New York and Illinois. On the list of counties experiencing the largest rise in population from out-of-state, Travis County ranks No. 5 (32,542 new residents) and Williamson County ranks 10th (16,105 new residents).

New residents are coming to Texas mostly from California, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Florida. But U.S. migration accounts for just 55 percent of new arrivals. More than 44 percent are moving to Texas from abroad.

Travis County is also appealing to fellow Texans living in other counties. In terms of the in-state counties that Texans relocate to the most, Travis County ranks No. 4. This past year, 1,741 Harris County residents moved to Travis and 1,426 moved here from Dallas County. And when folks decide to leave Travis for a different county in Texas, most go to Williamson County (6,674), followed by Hays County (3,466).

The obvious takeaway from the relocation report is that not only do families and individuals have the desire to move here, but also, the steady and favorable economy gives them the confidence to see it through. Job growth, good wages, pro-business policies, good schools, zero income tax and a strong housing market are all the different factors that people consider when making a big life decision.

It’s always interesting to find out where new Austin residents are coming from and when our neighbors pack up and leave, we want to know what new place they’re giving all this up for (most Texas experts say it’s MSAs in California, New York and Louisiana).

Tray Bates, 2019 chairman of Texas REALTORS, says there are some important points for Austin real estate professionals to glean from the annual report. For agents interested in growing their business, the Texas Relocation Report reveals exactly where to find new clients, says Bates. If you’re an agent in the Austin area, then you need to increase your presence to residents in Harris and Dallas Counties, as well as in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. With social media, it’s really easy to advertise to targeted zip codes anywhere in the country. Agents find a lot of success using social media to connect with referral partners. Bonnie Neel, a mortgage banker in Austin says, “the best lead-generation method is personal referrals and social media allows for referral connection with more success than advertising.” By using the research provided by Texas REALTORS’ relocation report and focusing on counties where you’re likely to find most new clients, you automatically maximize your marketing efforts. It also saves time, money and can increase your bottom line. RL