Sun Belt, Mountain West lead housing boom

Three states accounted for more than a third of the new construction.
A construction worker sands a door opening at a new apartment complex, Tuesday, February 28, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

The United States added more than 1.5 million new housing units over the last year, led by explosive gains in the Sun Belt and the Mountain West as states pursue new policies meant to spur construction to alleviate high prices and low stock.

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows just three states — Texas, Florida and California — accounted for more than a third of the new construction. About 1 in 6 new housing units constructed over the last year, 260,000, were built in Texas alone.

Utah added more than 30,000 units, a nearly 2.5% increase in its housing stock and the most rapid growth in the nation. Utah lawmakers this year approved legislation to spur even more construction in the future, creating a program that will deliver low-cost loans to developers building homes at a price point below the median value.

Read more: The Utah housing program other states are watching

Idaho, South Dakota and Texas all saw their housing stocks grow by more than 2%. Sixteen more states experienced more than 1% growth in housing stocks.

The surging cost of homeownership has spurred several states to pass major bills and packages aimed at goosing the home building industry. Almost half of renters and 23% of homeowners spent more than a third of their income on housing in 2021, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

Oregon lawmakers approved almost $370 million to fund moderate-income housing, infrastructure projects, eviction prevention and homelessness programs. In New Mexico, lawmakers approved $200 million to fund low- and middle-income housing developments.

Washington State lawmakers approved more than half a billion dollars in spending on a housing trust fund over the last two years. Washington, Florida and Colorado have approved new laws in recent years overriding local zoning restrictions to allow for more density.

Read more: Lawmakers approve major new housing spending

The Census Bureau data shows gradual rebounds in population in the Northeast and Midwest. Detroit added an estimated 1,852 residents over the last year — the first time in decades the city’s population has increased year over year.

The Sun Belt’s population continues to grow faster than the rest of the country — and especially in Texas, home to eight of the 11 fastest-growing cities in the nation.

Celina, Texas, near Dallas, saw its population grow by more than 26% over the last year. Fulshear, in the Houston suburbs, experienced a 25% increase. And Princeton, also in the Dallas Metroplex, grew by 22%.

San Antonio added almost 22,000 new residents in the last year, more than any other city in America — followed closely by Fort Worth, at 21,000 new residents. Charlotte, N.C., Jacksonville, Fla., Port St. Lucie, Fla., Atlanta and Houston all added more than 10,000 new residents.

Four cities — Yuma, Ariz., Fayetteville, Ark., Palm Coast, Fla. and Suffolk, Va. — surpassed 100,000 new residents for the first time, according to the data.