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Trouble in paradise?​ New data shows Austin growth may be leveling

Texas led states in growth in 2021, while Austin came in as the No. 16 city, according to a U-Haul study. (U-Haul/Facebook)

Like the original oil boomtowns of Texas past, it looks like Austin's "boomtown" status may be slowing down, according to U-Haul's 2021 data.

The moving truck company found Texas to be the No. 1 growth state of 2021 and Austin—labeled the best city in the world to move to by a 2021 U.K. study—No. 16 for U.S. cities, making it one of the state's top growth areas. The rankings were measured by comparing the net gain of over 2 million one-way U-Hauls that entered and left U.S. cities in 2021.

In the decades-long tradition of young wanderers and professionals packing their bags for the adventure of the Live Music Capital, one-way U-Hauls to Austin were up 22% when compared to 2020. But creeping up behind Austin's gleaming arrival stats are U-Haul departures, which were up 18% in the same time frame. And with arriving U-Hauls making up just 50.4% of one-way rides in Austin in 2021, the nation's newest tech hub may be leveling out.

Is Austin's fire-hot growth slowing down? The city's housing market, which unexpectedly broke records near the beginning of the pandemic before peaking in June 2021, has started to cool down with the seasons.

The metro's median home price dipped to $470,000 in November, down from an all-time high of $482,000 in June, and home sales were down 4.9% when compared to November 2020. Austin's rep as a cheap big city haven also suffered as many found out the hard way that the city's housing market was predicted to become the least affordable major metro region outside of California in 2021.

Maybe Austinite Elon Musk's catchy "boomtown" nickname for his new city will soon fall out of fashion. But with Austin becoming a city of many identities aside from music and tech, including crypto, poker and odd sports, it may be safe to say Austin will see more than 15 minutes of fame.

“The growth in Austin has been exacerbated by the amount of people moving away from California,” U-Haul Company of South Austin president Kristina Ramos said. “Austin is an awesome city that provides great opportunities.”

That trend was revealed in the stats—California was the No. 1 state for move-outs in the U-Haul study.

Perhaps some balance will strike a rare peace between "Don't California My Texas" natives and, well, Californians as both old and new Austinites look to make the quickly-changing city home.


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