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Why more people are packing up and heading to this quiet lakeside Houston suburb

Chron logo Chron 1/26/2021 Alison Medley
a view of a large body of water: More folks are packing up and heading to this cozy Houston suburb, Conroe, according to U-Haul.  Featured image: Homes on Lake Conroe, the fourth-largest lake real estate market in Texas © Michael Goins / Lake Homes Realty

More folks are packing up and heading to this cozy Houston suburb, Conroe, according to U-Haul.

Featured image: Homes on Lake Conroe, the fourth-largest lake real estate market in Texas

Venture just a little down the road from The Woodlands and you'll find the quiet lakeside town of Conroe, Texas.

What you might not know, however, is that this small town gem was among the top places in America to move to in 2020, according to U-Haul.

The rental van company ranked Conroe No. 24 on its list of "Top 25 Growth Cities" of 2020. U-Haul based its rankings on company data tracking customers' migration patterns over the previous year.

According to a U-Haul press release, the number of people with one-way truck rentals heading to Conroe in 2020 increased 17 percent over the previous year. This increase accounts for the number of one-way rentals leaving Conroe, U-Haul notes.

Conroe residents might not be surprised by this news. The city was crowned one of the "fastest-growing cities in the country" by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2017, and there's been a solid uptick of interest in moving to this Texas lake community.

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"Absolutely, we're seeing a boom in Conroe," Boulevard Realty owner Billy Baldwin told Chron. "It's cheaper in the suburbs for the most part and the schools are considered as good."

According to Baldwin, one of the factors driving the boom is the perception that people now have the freedom to work remotely during the pandemic. He added the price point of home loans with a 2.5 percent mortgage rate have attracted many to making that jump to the 'burbs.

"In the suburbs, there's the perception that they might not have to commute," Baldwin said. "They believe they will work remote in some fashion. Also, there's the sheer perception of being near green space.  Lake Conroe is a huge bidding war right now. The 2.5 percent rate is making the price point very attractive.

Baldwin said that the pandemic changed everything in terms of perception about living in the 'burbs.

"They're moving to areas that they would not have considered before the pandemic," Baldwin said. "Some may even switch careers so they can work remotely."

When you break it down, 13 of the top 25 growth cities on U-Haul's list are in the Southeast, with five in Florida and Tennessee.

The only other Texas town that made the list was Tyler, Texas, ranked at No. 10. Tyler earned the ranking with a 21-percent increase in arrivals over 2019.

Yes, Texas saw its share of folks coming into the state in 2020, as it was the second-most-popular state in terms of growth for incoming U-Haul movers in the country.

Here are the top 25 "growth cities" in 2020, according to U-Haul:

  1. North Port, Florida
  2. Kissimmee, Florida
  3. Port St. Lucie, Florida
  4. Auburn-Opelika, Alabama
  5. Madison, Wisconsin
  6. Ocala, Florida
  7. Knoxville, Tennessee
  8. Surprise, Arizona
  9. St. George, Utah
  10. Tyler, Texas
  11. Sacramento-Roseville, CA
  12. Johnson City-Kingsport, TV
  13. Milwaukee, WI
  14. Asheville, NC
  15. Huntsville, Alabama
  16. Redding, California
  17. Charleston, South Carolina
  18. Athens, Georgia
  19. Colorado, Colorado
  20. Edmond, Oklahoma
  21. Fort Wayne, Indiana
  22. Augusta, Georgia
  23. Melbourne, Florida
  24. Conroe, Texas
  25. Fort Collins, Colorado

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