The 25 Best Places People Are Moving to in 2018

Check out which metro areas are growing the fastest.

By Devon Thorsby, Editor, Real Estate |May 18, 2018, at 4:14 p.m.

The 25 Best Places People Are Moving to in 2018

Slideshow

These places have the highest net migration over five years.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

(Getty Images)

In calculating the Best Places to Live, U.S. News factors in each metro area’s growth due to net migration over a five-year period. For the 2018 ranking, we used net migration data from 2012 to 2016 from the U.S. Census Bureau, the most recent complete data set at the time of our calculations. Places with the most growth might be attracting new residents thanks to a hot job market, affordable housing, a desirable location or some other factor. Read on for the 25 metro areas (out of the 125 most populous in the U.S.) that have grown the most over this period.

25. Seattle

25. Seattle

Frost covered grass on the hillside of Kerry Park in Seattle, Washington.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 10
Metro Population: 3,671,095
Median Home Price: $403,650
Median Annual Salary: $61,170
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 5.39 percent

Seattle has long had a reputation for its strong job market, with the likes of Microsoft, Starbucks and Amazon headquartered in the area. Also scoring highly for desirability in the Best Places to Live ranking, Seattle isn't just bringing people to the area for work, but also because they want it to be their next hometown.

Learn more about Seattle.

24. Dallas-Fort Worth

24. Dallas-Fort Worth

Photo of Dallas skyline in the morning. Sunrise moment. Dusk.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 18
Metro Population: 6,957,123
Median Home Price: $210,181
Median Annual Salary: $50,350
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 5.57 percent

The largest metro area on this list, Dallas-Fort Worth grew by 5.57 percent in a five-year period. Despite its size, Dallas-Fort Worth has a median home price of $210,181, less than the national median price of $222,408.

Learn more about Dallas-Fort Worth.

23. Asheville, North Carolina

23. Asheville, North Carolina

Autumn in Asheville, North Carolina.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 24
Metro Population: 441,724
Median Home Value: $234,576
Median Annual Salary: $40,330
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 5.72 percent

A smaller metro area that's appearing on the list for the first time as part of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S., Asheville earns its spot at No. 23 after growing 5.72 percent between 2012 and 2016 due to net migration alone.

(*The median home price for Asheville was not available, so median home value is listed.)

See more about Asheville.

22. Phoenix

22. Phoenix

aerial view of Phoenix Arizona skyline at sunset

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 19
Metro Population: 4,486,153
Median Home Price: $235,333
Median Annual Salary: $47,540
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 6 percent

Phoenix serves as a particularly hot destination for retirees. But the job market and ample outdoor activities continue to attract new residents of all ages. The area has grown by 6 percent over a five-year period.

Learn more about Phoenix.

21. Jacksonville, Florida

21. Jacksonville, Florida

A gorgeous aerial view of Ponte Vedra Beach in Jacksonville, Florida

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 44
Metro Population: 1,424,097
Median Home Price: $184,508
Median Annual Salary: $45,140
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 6.07 percent

Sunny Florida weather, a below-average cost of living and a growing business district continue to attract residents of all ages to Jacksonville, which grew more than 6 percent due to net migration between 2012 and 2016.

Learn more about Jacksonville.

20. Denver

20. Denver

Cherry Creek, Denver Colorado

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 3
Metro Population: 2,752,056
Median Home Price: $362,492
Median Annual Salary: $55,910
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 6.12 percent

Growing 6.12 percent due to net migration between 2012 and 2016, Denver continues to grow at a rapid pace, thanks to both its flourishing job market and high desirability among U.S. residents for its countless outdoor opportunities with the Rocky Mountains just a short drive away.

Learn more about Denver.

19. Fayetteville, Arkansas

19. Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville is the third-largest city in Arkansas and county seat of Washington County.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 5
Metro Population: 503,642
Median Home Price: $182,508
Median Annual Salary: $44,980
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 6.44 percent

Northwest Arkansas’s largest metro area continues to grow rapidly, by 6.44 percent over a five-year period due to net migration. Fayetteville’s growth is picking up speed as well – in last year’s ranking, Fayetteville saw just 6.09 percent growth due to net migration from 2011 to 2015.

Learn more about Fayetteville.

18. Las Vegas

18. Las Vegas

Las Vegas Strip Palms in Colorful Color Grading. Las Vegas, Nevada, United States.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 80
Metro Population: 2,070,153
Median Home Price: $232,533
Median Annual Salary: $43,480
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 6.46 percent

One of the recession’s hardest-hit cities, particularly in the housing market, Las Vegas continues its upward trend with a growing job market and plenty of entertainment options to attract new residents.

Learn more about Las Vegas.

17. Boise, Idaho

17. Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 23
Metro Population: 663,680
Median Home Price: $221,475
Median Annual Salary: $43,040
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 6.47 percent

Offering a different landscape than Las Vegas, Boise comes in at No. 17. Idaho’s capital grew by 6.47 percent between 2012 and 2016 due to net migration alone.

Learn more about Boise.

16. San Antonio, Texas

16. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio Texas skyline cityscape aerial panorama

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 14
Metro Population: 2,332,345
Median Home Price: $200,667
Median Annual Salary: $45,210
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 6.53 percent

The second of four Texas metro areas on the list, San Antonio has experienced significant growth due to net migration: 6.53 percent between 2012 and 2016.

Learn more about San Antonio.

15. Houston

15. Houston

Downtown Houston at nighttime

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 26
Metro Population: 6,482,592
Median Home Price: $216,575
Median Annual Salary: $52,870
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 6.58 percent

Staying in Texas, Houston takes the No. 15 spot on the list, having grown by 6.58 percent from 2012 to 2016 due to net migration. But with population growth comes a higher cost of living – the median home price is $216,575, nearly 9.6 percent increase compared to last year’s $197,628.

Learn more about Houston.

14. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina

14. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina

Downtown Raleigh Twilight, North Carolina

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 13
Metro Population: 1,786,119
Median Home Price: $227,814
Median Annual Salary: $52,669
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 6.63 percent

Home to major universities – the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, Duke University and North Carolina State University – the Raleigh and Durham area has plenty of former students who are choosing to lay down permanent roots, while others are flocking to the metro region for the job opportunities the schools and other locally based corporations offer.

Learn more about Raleigh and Durham.

13. Charlotte, North Carolina

13. Charlotte, North Carolina

A foggy and colorful sunrise in Charlotte, North Carolina during the morning rush hour traffic.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 22
Metro Population: 2,381,152
Median Home Price: $200,942
Median Annual Salary: $49,600
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 6.64 percent

Growing by more than 6.5 percent between 2012 and 2016 from people relocating to the area, Charlotte brings many newcomers due to its role in the banking industry, as it's home to Bank of America and major offices for Wells Fargo.

Learn more about Charlotte.

12. Tampa, Florida

12. Tampa, Florida

Skyline of Downtown Tampa, Florida, US

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 75
Metro Population: 2,927,714
Median Home Price: $183,592
Median Annual Salary: $45,510
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 6.67 percent

The second of nine Florida metro areas on the list, this Gulf Coast metro area grew by 6.67 percent between 2012 and 2016 due to net migration.

Learn more about Tampa.

11. Nashville, Tennessee

11. Nashville, Tennessee

The sun is setting behind the Nashville Tennessee skyline

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 11
Metro Population: 1,794,570
Median Home Price: $236,267
Median Annual Salary: $45,780
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 6.7 percent

With growth numbers like this, aspiring country singers certainly aren't the only people moving to Nashville. The largest metro area in Tennessee comes in at No. 11, having grown by 6.7 percent due to net migration between 2012 and 2016.

Learn more about Nashville.

10. Melbourne, Florida

10. Melbourne, Florida

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 29
Metro Population: 560,683
Median Home Price: $163,042
Median Annual Salary: $46,520
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 7.19 percent

Growing 7.19 percent due to net migration between 2012 and 2016, Melbourne sees particular interest from seniors. The metro area’s median age is 47 years old, compared to the national median age of 37.9, according to the U.S Census Bureau.

Learn more about Melbourne.

9. Lakeland, Florida

9. Lakeland, Florida

A typical winter scene on Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland, Florida

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 71
Metro Population: 637,691
Median Home Price: $160,583
Median Annual Salary: $40,180
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 7.73 percent

Located in the center of Florida’s peninsula, Lakeland is showing strong growth that mirrors the state’s other coastal metro areas featured on the list. Lakeland grew by 7.73 percent from 2012 to 2016 due to net migration alone.

Learn more about Lakeland.

8. Charleston, South Carolina

8. Charleston, South Carolina

""

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 38
Metro Population: 728,271
Median Home Price: $232,983
Median Annual Salary: $44,500
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 8.27 percent

People love visiting Charleston, which is helping the South Carolina city's tourism industry boom. The Charleston metro area grew by 8.27 percent due to net migration over five years.

Learn more about Charleston.

7. Daytona Beach, Florida

7. Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach skyline aerial view.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 94
Metro Population: 613,723
Median Home Price: $164,069
Median Annual Salary: $38,010
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 8.95 percent

Daytona Beach’s growth from net migration between 2012 and 2016 nearly hit 9 percent. The coastal metro area attracts plenty of tourists to NASCAR races and local beaches, but plenty of these visitors also appear happy enough to make the place their next home.

Learn more about Daytona Beach.

6. Port St. Lucie, Florida

6. Port St. Lucie, Florida

The Crosstown Parkway Extension Project is a new bridge crossing the North Fork of the St. Lucie River in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Construction is expected to be completed by November of 2019.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 79
Metro Population: 446,728
Median Home Price: $179,058
Median Annual Salary: $41,120
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 9.1 percent

Located along the Treasure Coast, Port St. Lucie attracts people looking for a place with plenty of waterways to explore and, of course, the warm Florida weather. The Port St. Lucie area grew by just over 9 percent during a five-year period.

Learn more about Port St. Lucie.

5. Orlando, Florida

5. Orlando, Florida

Lake Eola Park, Orlando Florida

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 78
Metro Population: 2,328,508
Median Home Price: $213,717
Median Annual Salary: $43,060
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 9.14 percent

The home of Disney World and Universal Studios doesn’t just attract tourists hoping to see their favorite fictional characters up close, it also brings people who are planning to make this warm-weather destination their home.

Learn more about Orlando.

4. Austin, Texas

4. Austin, Texas

Stock photo of the skyline of downtown Austin, Texas, USA with apartment buildings and office buildings, reflecting in the Colorado River during the dawn twilight blue hour.

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 1
Metro Population: 1,942,615
Median Home Price: $278,608
Median Annual Salary: $50,830
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 10.25 percent

Tech companies have been opening offices in this Texas metro area with particular focus following the Great Recession. Its affordability relative to the likes of San Jose and San Francisco is driving many people to Austin for work. It’s a hot enough destination that the metro area grew 10.25 percent over five years due to net migration.

Learn more about Austin.

3. Sarasota, Florida

3. Sarasota, Florida

Going toward Downtown Sarasota from from the Ringling Bridge

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 34
Metro Population: 751,422
Median Home Price: $224,613
Median Annual Salary: $41,870
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 12.42 percent

With a median age of more than 50 years old, Sarasota is a particularly attractive destination for retirees, even more so than other Florida locales. Sarasota grew by a whopping 12.42 percent in a five-year period due to net migration.

Learn more about Sarasota.

2. Fort Myers, Florida

2. Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Myers, Florida

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2018 Rank: 41
Metro Population: 680,970
Median Home Price: $210,133
Median Annual Salary: $40,420
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 14.16 percent

After reigning as the fastest-growing metro area on the Best Places to Live list for the last two years, Fort Myers falls back to the No. 2 spot in 2018, beaten out by a newcomer to the list. Fort Myers grew by 14.16 percent over a five-year period due to net migration.

Learn more about Fort Myers.

1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Last minute vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

(Getty Images)

Best Places to Live 2017 Rank: 74
Metro Population: 419,585
Median Home Price: $137,428*
Median Annual Salary: $35,650
Net Migration Rate, 2012 to 2016: 15.62 percent

Myrtle Beach may be small, but it’s proving popular among people looking for a new place to live. Like many of the Florida metro areas on the list, this coastal South Carolina spot attracts plenty of retirees looking for warm weather year-round, lending to the metro’s median age of 45.8 years.

(*The median home price for Myrtle Beach was not available, so median home value is listed.)

Learn more about Myrtle Beach.

Read More
AD

Learn More


Devon Thorsby is the Real Estate editor at U.S. News & World Report, where she writes consumer-focused articles about the homebuying and selling process, home improvement, tenant rights and the state of the housing market.

She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.

Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at dthorsby@usnews.com.

Recommended Articles

Red Flags to Help You Spot a Rental Scam

Devon Thorsby | Feb. 22, 2019

Avoid falling victim to online rental scams by knowing the most common tricks.

How Do I Find My Property Lines?

Devon Thorsby | Feb. 21, 2019

The best ways for homeowners to determine the exact boundaries of the lot their house sits on.

4 Home Devices Your Dog Needs

Sally Forster Jones | Feb. 21, 2019

Take advantage of new technologies you can incorporate into your home to benefit your family’s furry friends.

What to Know: Tenant Rights in Texas

Devon Thorsby | Feb. 15, 2019

Here's how renters in Texas fare when facing a dispute with their landlord.

Measuring Your Home's Square Footage

Devon Thorsby | Feb. 13, 2019

Know exactly how big your house is, and maximize the way you use it.

5 Travel-Inspired Home Decorating Ideas

Sally Forster Jones | Feb. 12, 2019

Transform your home's interior with a few simple projects that highlight the time you've spent in other parts of the world.

What to Know About a Pending Home Sale

Devon Thorsby | Feb. 8, 2019

As the buyer, seller or interested outside party, here's what you need to do while a real estate deal is pending.

10 Home Renovations Under $5,000

Devon Thorsby | Feb. 6, 2019

How to get the most impact from your renovation when you're on a tight budget.

4 Eco-Friendly Upgrades for Your Home

Sally Forster Jones | Feb. 6, 2019

You can improve your home with green features, but you don't have to sacrifice a sleek design.

What to Know: California Tenant Rights

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 30, 2019

What renters in the Golden State should know before they go toe-to-toe with their landlord.

How to Find a Room for Rent

Geoff Williams | Jan. 29, 2019

If you're relocating or you have poor credit, subletting a room can be a smart financial move.

The Best Places for Young Professionals

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 25, 2019

These places offer the job market, affordability and reputation recent grads are looking for.

First-Time Homebuyer Programs in Florida

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 25, 2019

State and local options provide financial assistance and teach about effective homeownership.

What Is a Condo – and Should I Buy One?

Geoff Williams | Jan. 23, 2019

Consider fees, association rules and mortgage rates before committing to condo ownership.

5 Healthy Enhancements for Your Home

Sally Forster Jones | Jan. 23, 2019

These easy changes to your home and how you maintain it can help you live healthier all year round.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 18, 2019

Follow these steps to start on the path to being a successful real estate agent.

How to Find a Real Estate Agent

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 18, 2019

Here's how to find a real estate agent to help you confidently navigate a home sale or purchase.

How to Break Your Apartment Lease

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 18, 2019

Five options for you to end your rental contract before time is up.

How to Back Out of a Real Estate Deal

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 18, 2019

Here are your best options for bowing out of a home purchase or sale without ruffling too many feathers.

The Best Places to Live in Florida

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 18, 2019

See how the most populous metro areas in the Sunshine State compare to each other.