Top 10 Destination Cities: Increased Housing Demand

January 28, 2013

Americans are on the move. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 36 million people relocated in 2012, an increase from 2011's record low mover rate of 35.1 million. And while many of those stayed within the same county, plenty of them packed their bags and moved to a different state.

Data from Penske Truck Rental, a global transportation services provider, showed that warmer climates were the biggest impetus to move last year.

10. Sarasota, Fla.
Located on Florida's Gulf Coast, Sarasota is home to Siesta Key Beach, which ranked one of the top three beaches in the U.S. for four years in a row. In addition to its fine white sand and calm blue waters, Sarasota is the perfect place to enjoy boat rides, eco-tours, world-class restaurants and more. With a median home sale price of $165,000, according to online real estate firm Trulia.com, housing is affordable for many middle-income families.

9. Charlotte, N.C.
Charlotte is a major U.S. financial center, with Bank of America and the East Coast operations of Wells Fargo both headquartered here. In 2011, the city was named the second largest financial center by assets, behind New York City. Nicknamed "The Queen City," Charlotte is home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, more than 40 public golf courses and plenty of other big-city attractions. On average, homes sell for around $162,000.

8. Seattle
It's certainly not warm and sunny, but Seattle offers residents a little bit of everything. Check out the city's gorgeous mountain and water views from the famous Space Needle, or enjoy the generally mild temperatures and locally grown food at Pike Place Market. Homes sell for a median price of $362,500; if you have more to spend, check out the unique houseboats -- a la "Sleepless in Seattle" -- on Lake Union. They're more expensive than a traditional home but offer a one-of-a-kind living experience.

7. Denver
Denver is the perfect blend of big city and mountain living. A short drive from the Rocky Mountains, the "mile high" city draws residents who want to work hard and play harder -- outside. From skiing and snowboarding in the winter to mountain biking and hiking in the summer, there's always something to do. The weather is generally mild, with super-hot and below-freezing days peppered in for good measure. For all its perks, Denver's home prices are reasonable -- the median home sale price is $233,950.

6. Houston
Winters in Houston are mild, to say the least. Temperatures average in the mid-60's December through February, and are well into the 70s by the time March rolls around. If you like mild winters, hot summers and Southern hospitality, Houston is the place for you. There are plenty of employment opportunities, and homes sell for a median price of $124,050. For that price, you'll have plenty of cash left over to enjoy the countless restaurants and shops Houston has to offer.

5. Chicago
Residents of the Second City enjoy food from all over the world, thanks to Chicago's diverse neighborhoods, and entertainment that ranges from the world-famous Joffrey Ballet to local rock bands. Public transit moves residents easily from neighborhood to neighborhood, so a car is unnecessary, and the median home sale price is $190,000 -- a steal for a home in a large city.

4. Orlando, Fla.
It's well-known as the home to Disney World, but Orlando isn't just Mickey Mouse. It's also one of the world's largest golf destinations and home to more pro golfers than any other city in the world. But you don't have to hit the links to enjoy the city. Locals relish fishing, boating and other outdoor activities in the year-round warm weather. Homes are inexpensive, with the median home sale price hovering around $116,000.

3. Phoenix
If you love warm, sunny weather, Phoenix is for you. The average temperature is 70 degrees in February, and rainfall is a rarity year-round. While summer days can peak well into the 100s, evenings are great for dining under the desert stars. Residents enjoy kayaking, hiking and biking in the spring and winter months, before the heat of summer gets too oppressive. The Phoenix real estate market is slowly rebounding from its post-housing bust lows, but the median home sale price is still a reasonable $131,000.

2. Dallas-Fort Worth
Reasonable housing prices, ample job opportunities and pleasant weather continue to draw new residents to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Enjoy the classic, Texas-style fun, like rodeos, along with fast-paced thrills at the Texas Motor Speedway and Six Flags Over Texas amusement park. Even with all the nightlife, shopping and entertainment that residents enjoy, home prices remain reasonable -- the median home sale price is $61,000.

1. Atlanta
For the third year in a row, Atlanta was the country's most popular place to move last year. A diverse city with many cultural attractions, residents enjoy the perks of big cities like New York and Chicago without the sub-freezing temperatures. Atlanta is home to the world's largest aquarium, numerous critically acclaimed restaurants and a thriving cultural scene. For a city as in-demand as Atlanta, homes are affordable, with a median home sale price of $200,100.

Posted on February 4, 2013 in Economic and Housing & Construction.