Fort Bend ranked one of the fastest-growing and affordable U.S. counties

Fort Bend ranked one of the fastest-growing, affordable U.S. counties

Sugar Land Town Square
Fort Bend is is tops for livability and economic success. Photo courtesy of Sugar Land Town Square

In terms of population growth, Fort Bend County isn’t just bending. It’s contorting like a Cirque du Soleil performer.

From 2012 to 2017, Fort Bend County ranked among the top 10 counties in the U.S. for the number of new arrivals, according to a new study from rental website RentCafé. With a net gain of 92,000 residents, Fort Bend County appeared at No. 4 on the list.

“To figure out which counties saw the largest net changes in population due to moving in or out of the county, we subtracted the total outbound domestic migration from the total inbound domestic migration over a five-year period between 2012 and 2017,” RentCafé explained.

The low price to put a roof over your head almost certainly contributed a lot to the population spike. Fort Bend County was one of the top counties on the RentCafé list in terms of housing affordability, boasting an attractive home-price-to-income ratio and attractive rent-as-a-percentage-of-income ratio.

In Fort Bend County, the ratio for home prices was 3.1, meaning home prices are 3.1 times the median income, according to RentCafé. By comparison, the same ratio for Los Angeles County was 9.5. For apartment dwellers in Fort Bend County, the rent-to-income ratio was 14 percent; in Los Angeles County, it was 38 percent.

In Fort Bend, the median income exceeded $93,000, according to the RentCafé study, and the median home price was $293,000.

If one forecast is correct, even more newcomers might be drawn to Fort Bend County because of its affordable housing and other attributes.

A report from the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs predicted that Fort Bend County will wind up being the state’s third-fastest growing county from 2010 to 2050.

The report’s highest-growth scenario envisions Fort Bend County’s population skyrocketing by 367.8 percent during the 40-year span, representing a surge of more than 2.1 million people. Under the report’s highest-growth scenario, the county’s population would be nearly 2.74 million in 2050, up from an estimated 764,828 in 2017.

As a point of reference, the population of the entire city of Chicago stood at 2.7 million in 2017.

“Fort Bend County has continued to top lists for livability and economic success — and there is no sign of slowing down,” according to the Fort Bend Economic Development Council. “Residents and businesses agree that there’s no place better to live or work.”