03-31-11 | Printable Version

Post-Bubble, Household Growth Still Expected on the Coasts, Rockies and Sunbelt

A look at growth trends by county projected for the next five years

Sunshine still rules

The housing bubble might have burst in places like Tucson and Naples, but forecasters still expect these and other sunny climes to continue to lead the nation in household growth in the near term.

The map shows the U.S. divided into three growth sectors – high, moderate and limited – using data for projected percentage growth in households by county over the next five years from Nielsen Claritas. The purple color shows areas with the highest projected household growth.

Similar to growth trends pre-recession, the highest growth areas are located largely in the Southeast, West Coast, Southwest and the Rocky Mountain states, although pockets of exceptional growth also now exist in the upper Midwest. Georgia boasts five of the top 20 fastest-growing counties, and Arizona, Florida and Texas maintain top positions as well. The #1 market for projected household growth is Casa Grande, Arizona, located between Phoenix and Tucson.

However, the Sioux Falls, South Dakota market cracked the top 10 in the latest data.

The U.S. economy appears to be on firmer footing at the beginning of 2011. Economists are predicting gross domestic product growth of about 3.5% this year, and unemployment is trending down.

Yet, the overhang of vacant housing units continues to be a drag on the housing market and new construction. Construction outstripped demand pre-recession in many of the areas that Nielsen Claritas currently expects the highest growth rates going forward. Households are expected to be added as these communities work through foreclosures and excess sale inventory.

Many of these areas also are experiencing significant growth from immigration.