Leah Binkovitz | @leahbink | May 24, 2016
Even as oil prices and production were starting to decline, Texas still managed to add people — and housing. Newly released numbers from the Census Bureau show that Texas built more new housing units than any other state between July 1, 2014 and July 1, 2015. The state added an impressive 162,312 units for a growth rate of 1.6 percent. Compare that to California, which added 79,977 for a growth rate of only 0.6 percent.
Interactive: Click on each state to see the number of units added between July 1, 2014 and July 1, 2015, plus more information about that state’s housing growth and ranking. By Leah Binkovitz.
North Dakota had the highest housing growth rate at 3.5 percent, driven largely by the surge of oil workers to the state.
Not surprisingly, North Dakota also had the county with the fastest housing growth rate. McKenzie County, located in the heart of the state’s oil fields, added roughly 2,000 units at a growth rate of 55.9 percent. Four other North Dakota counties were in the top 10. Just west of Harris County, Fort Bend County was the 8th fastest growing place for housing, adding 9,316 new units at a growth rate of 4.2 percent. Harris County grew at a slower rate — just 2.2 percent — but added 37,674 units.
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Will all these housing units do much to improve affordability?
That’s an open question. Many states, Texas and California included, are still facing massive affordable housing gaps. In an Urban Edge story about a new national program meant to help states build more affordable units, Tory Gunsolley, head of the Houston Housing Authority, noted that within Houston’s growth, “the vast majority of all the new housing that is being built is all targeted as luxury housing, so that’s not affordable for extremely low income families or even low income families.”