U-Haul Destination No. 1: Movers, Not Rain, Flooded Houston in 2014

Jun 4, 2015

The rains immersed Houston and other Texas cities in recent weeks, giving Harris County its wettest spring on record and creating trying times for families and businesses that sustained flooding and even loss of life.

Now Houston can embrace a more navigable reign – one that has it atop the U-Haul Top 10 U.S. Destination Cities rankings for a sixth consecutive year.

Houston has been named the No. 1 destination for 2014, meaning it was the top drop-off location for one-way U-Haul truck rentals for the past calendar year. The migration report was compiled from more than 1.7 million one-way U-Haul truck transactions in 2014. All U.S. cities were considered, regardless of size.


Houston skyline (Credit: Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau)

While migration trends don’t correlate directly to a city’s population or economic growth, they are a strong gauge as to how well cities are attracting new residents.

Houston has been attracting do-it-yourself movers by the truckloads since it took over the top spot in 2009. The U-Haul report echoes Forbes’ annual America’s Fast-Growing Cities report from January 2015, which ranked Greater Houston No. 1.

“This accolade is a testament to Houston’s reputation as a city of opportunity,” said Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. “Whether you are looking for a great job, affordable housing options, an outstanding quality of life, or all of the above, Houston is a city with limitless opportunities.

“We are pleased to see Houston earn the No. 1 spot on U-Haul’s Top 10 U.S. Destination Cities for the sixth consecutive year.”

Three southern Texas cities made the destination countdown with San Antonio fourth and Austin seventh. Houston held off Chicago and Las Vegas for the top spot.

A cutting-edge medical sector, collection of celebrated tech companies and established energy giants have sustained a strong economy in Houston’s nine-county metropolitan area – even with a slumping oil market that has eliminated some jobs. College graduates are making Houston a top relocation choice, according to a recent report in the New York Times.

“Houston seems to grow by the minute,” said Matt Merrill, marketing company president of U-Haul Company of West Houston. “There are new apartments, housing communities, high-rise office buildings, restaurants and small businesses opening everyday.

“Exxon is currently building a huge complex to relocate families here. Having two major airports allows for quick travel with many direct flights across America. For families or singles, it’s a great place to live because there is anything and everything here. If you can dream it, it exists in Houston.”

Troy Pelkey, a 23-year Houston transplant and owner of commercial truck repair shop Cemco Services Company, joined the U-Haul dealer network in 2014. He noted that widespread growth has its pros and cons.

“I moved to the suburbs and it’s not really the suburbs anymore – it’s another mini-Houston coming in with all the building going on,” said Pelkey, whose business is relocating to 6127 Aldine Bender next month. “I remember when the infrastructure of the city wasn’t very nice, but over the last 10 years, they’re tearing down the ugly, old buildings and making townhouses or new office buildings that are appealing to the eye.

Photo from Houston

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“The cost of living is great here. You get more for your money than just about anywhere in terms of housing and land value. The taxes are real good. And I like Texas. The people are the best part. They’re pretty friendly considering how big a city it is.”

In addition to its universities, professional sports and entertainment options, and expanding rail system to help counter the traffic gridlock, Houston is known for the resilience and perseverance of its caring people.

The May floods were not the first natural disaster to strike The Bayou City, nor will they be the last. U-Haul sympathizes with those who suffered losses and is offering 30 days of free self-storage to anyone in the area affected by the storms. For more information, click here.

“Locally, we have had one U-Haul store destroyed by a tornado and a storage facility that flooded from the rising flood water,” Merrill said. “In these times is when you see the true dedication of our employees to our customers. U-Haul had moving helpers, free boxes and plenty of staff on hand to help our customers during these unfortunate times.

“Some customers are coming in to take advantage of the 30 days of free self-storage and can’t believe there isn’t a catch. This is another way we can say thank to residents of this great area for allowing U-Haul to be in business for 70 years now.”

U-Haul is the authority on migration trends thanks to its expansive network that blankets all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. The geographical coverage from 17,000-plus U-Haul neighborhood dealers and 1,540 U-Haul stores offers a comprehensive overview of where people are moving like no one else in the industry.

Additional photo credits: Houston skyline (featured image) and kids playing in water (thumbnail) by Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau.

U.S. Destination Rankings

1. Houston

2. Chicago

3. Las Vegas

4. San Antonio

5. Orlando

6. Brooklyn

7. Austin

8. Philadelphia

9. Kansas City

10. Sacramento

The rest: 11. Columbus (Ohio) 12. Charlotte 13. Phoenix 14. Jacksonville 15. Tampa 16. New York City 17. San Diego 18. Dallas 19. Bronx 20. St. Louis 21. Indianapolis 22. Tucson 23. Fort Worth 24. Columbia (S.C.) 25. Nashville.

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