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Houstonians Are Looking To Move Elsewhere In Texas Amid Rising Rents, Remote Work Opportunities

Nearly a third of Houstonians are itching to move, but they want to stay nearby and in state.

Houstonians are itching for greener pastures. 

A perfect storm of coronavirus pandemic-fueled remote work and climbing rents means over 30% of Houston apartment hunters are looking to move out of the city, mostly elsewhere in Texas, according to Apartment List.

Dallas, Austin and San Antonio are nearly tied for the top three destinations for Houstonians looking to move out of Bayou City. Dallas barely ekes out the top spot, with 12.9% of those moving out of Houston eyeing the Metroplex. Austin comes second, at 12.5%.

Though a large number of Houstonians are looking to move, the national percentage is even higher: 40%.

The data, taken from Apartment List registered users’ searches between July 1 and Sept. 30, examines national moving trends. The data includes individuals who are both looking to move soon and those who are only browsing, Apartment List said.

Half of users over the last quarter indicated they were looking to move away from Houston urgently, Apartment List Senior Research Associate Rob Warnock told Bisnow.

When it comes to newcomers, Houston seems to be a less popular destination than other parts of the country with just 24.5% of those looking for a place to live in Houston searching from outside the metro. Dallas leads the charge in residents looking to move to Houston, with a little over 14%. Austin and Atlanta come in second and third, at 4.7% and 4.2%, respectively.

Cities that boast a status as technology meccas are seeing a high number of people both looking to move in and move out, bolstered by the fact that the technology industry is both rapidly growing and is also leading the way in allowing remote work. Apartment List calls those top cities, San Jose, Raleigh and Austin, “revolving door” metro areas. 

“Newfound flexibility has likely given many residents of these metros the opportunity to move somewhere new, which in turn creates vacancies that attract new renters from afar,” the report states.

Houston rents have steadily risen over the past 10 months, although the growth has been more muted than in other Texas cities and nationally. Multifamily experts said that while rents aren’t rising at the sharp rates of other major metros, they are recovering from Covid-19 and energy downturn depths

“Compared to the rest of the country, [rents are] a little behind, it's been a laggard,” Camden Property Trust Executive Vice President of Operations Laurie Baker said at a Bisnow event last month. “But take a look at where we were just a year ago when Houston had some challenges.”