Ask anyone around Kerrville about the housing market, and the first thing they will say is that it's all of the out-of-state residents driving prices up.
That's partially true. It's more likely that someone from San Antonio, Houston or Dallas will purchase a home or ranch in Kerr County — at least that's what the U.S. Census Bureau reports.
In five years — 2014-2018 — the primary people moving into Kerr County were other Texans. More than 2,000 moved to Kerr County during that period, while just 576 previously lived out of state.
Kerr County saw a net loss of residents to other states between 2014 to 2018. During that period, 826 people left Kerr County for other states, including more than 100 people to Chesterfield County, Virginia — just south of Richmond. The number of people leaving Kerr County for other parts of Texas was more than 1,900. Overall, Kerr County's population was flat between 2014-2018.
The release of 2020 Census findings in August will demonstrate how the trends stand up, but Kerr County has seen an influx of new residents over the last few years.
Laure Fore, the area's top-performing real estate agent, said she's receiving inquiries about Kerr County properties from across the country.
"The most significant contributors are Houston, Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, Austin and San Antonio," Fore said in an email.
The largest influx of Texans to Kerr County are from Bexar, Harris and Kendall counties.
The Census data suggest Louisiana, New Mexico, Oregon and North Carolina had the most people move to Kerr County between 2014-2018. The California counties of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Napa are among the top 10. The three counties accounted for 18% of new residents to Kerr County.
The top area was from Lake Charles, Louisiana — a community repeatedly hit by tropical storms and hurricanes over the last 20 years.
The great migration to Texas is clear based on the numbers, but exactly who is moving into the Lone Star state may surprise you.
The going narrative is that it's primarily Californians, which isn't incorrect, but the reality is that 37% of all Texas newcomers come from outside the United States. California accounts for 15% of immigration into the state.
For years, if not decades, many Californians coming to Texas in unabated, but what's not usually communicated is that the Golden State remains the No. 1 destination for Texans. The U.S. Census Bureau precisely tracks state-to-state migration through 2019, and the connection between the nation's two largest economies is undeniable.
In 2018, more than 80,000 Californians moved to Texas, while more than 35,000 Texans moved to California. However, the net gain — estimated at more than 40,000 — and the pace may be accelerating.
In 2017, more than 85,000 Californians moved to Texas — a net gain of nearly 50,000 people. How the coronavirus pandemic determines future migrations is still to be determined.
However, the influx of those from other countries makes up the largest segment of new Texas residents. Since 2010, more than two million people have moved to Texas from outside the U.S. Since very few Texans leave to become expatriates, the net gain of foreign-born residents is by far the biggest of any region.
When Texas loses residents, it's usually to places with a robust oil and gas sector. In 2019, Colorado was the No. 1 destination for Texans other than California, but it proved to be a net loss for Texas, with more than 14,000 people leaving the state for the Rockies.
Texas had net population losses to Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Ohio and South Dakota — all states with significant oil and gas operations.
States producing the most significant net population gains for Texas were: Florida, Illinois, New Mexico and New Jersey. The 2019 numbers show more than 8,500 Puerto Ricans moved to Texas in 2019.
When it comes to where Texans like to move to, it's primarily southern states. Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee and North Carolina are all in the Top 10.
The 2020 Census report will not be available until later this year or 2022. However, other surveys show the quickening pace of movement across the nation. In one conducted by United Van Lines, Texas ranked 19th in destinations. Idaho was No. 1 in that survey.