One of the common mistakes many investors make when looking for a place to invest in is going to the hot markets. Unfortunately, these are where everybody’s at. That means more competition and fewer deals for you. In this episode, Scott Carson lets you in on the markets that you can actually invest in – the fastest-growing American counties. Discussing a recent USA Today article on the top counties in each state with the highest growth rates, he reveals why you should be looking at some of these unknown counties to invest in versus some of the larger and well-known areas in the state.
Listen to the podcast here:
Fastest Growing Counties In America
Our topic on this episode is something to keep in mind when you’re looking at investing. A lot of people always ask me, “What are the hot markets? Where should I be buying notes and where should I be buying real estate in?” I always laugh because I can tell you what the hot markets are right now, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to find deals there. Hot markets are often what I consider and what I describe as markets where people have already come to. People are overpaying. That’s not necessarily the place that you want to go to. You want to go to a place, invest in an area, buy property, buy notes and become a landlord or fix and flip. Looking for deals in markets where everybody’s not at, but that is growing.
I’ve been thinking about doing this episode for a while now and what’s funny is over the weekend, USA Today published an article. I got to get full credit to USA Today on the article about The Fastest-Growing County in the country. What does that mean? The article says, “Here’s the fastest-growing county in each state.” I was like, “This is perfect, especially if you’re looking through the whole 50 states and you realize it, “There are quite a few in Idaho. I didn’t know about that. That’s a good one.” That’s what I thought I would take this article or this episode more so than anything else and share the article, but also not go through all 50 states because that could be a longer episode.
It was written by Samuel Stebbins, 24/7 Wall Street. I thought it was a great article because it did bring out some areas that I thought were important to look at. This breaks it down. I do a good job to go back in and talk about each county, the biggest technically city in that county and the growth over time. The article also prefaced that the US annual population growth hit its lowest level in 80 years. That’s interesting. It means more people are being born more than dying, but it’s the lowest amount. There are 18.5 million more people live in the United States now than there were in 2010. That’s a 6% increase but that’s the lowest increase in 80 years.
What’s great is that every state had at least one county that showed that it was going through population growth. They’re not all the ones that you would expect. Some of them you would expect and others are like, “That’s interesting.” A few of them I had checked to see where that county was as an idea, not only for me to understand where it’s at but also to look at when I start seeing tapes coming in or a list of assets of areas that are growing through a population because that’s what you want. You want to be buying in an area that people are moving to. I think we can all agree to that. You don’t want someone to be buying in an area where people are leaving. I’m going to try to find an article that hits the opposite side of this for our future article here in the next week or two.
Anyway, we’d kick it off with this and it starts alphabetically. I’m going to skip some states, states that we don’t see, that isn’t a surprise and we’ll go from there for the most part. Let’s start first with Alabama. It’s Baldwin County. The largest place in county is Daphne. It has almost a 20% increase from 2000 to 2018. It’s big and what is great is almost every one of these counties was a big enough place, over 100,000 or more that I identified, “There are enough people in that county or in that area. It truly makes sense with me investing.” Alabama is Baldwin County with 19.6% increase. I’m not going to cover Alaska. Arizona is Pinal County where Casa Grande is. That has also seen a 19% increase because it’s outside the Phoenix area.
Arkansas was Rogers in Benton County with another 23% increase. California is Placer County where Roseville is. It’s seen a 12.8% increase which was surprised. Colorado is Weld County with Greeley. We got some friends that live up there. It’s seen a 13% increase, which is nice. We’re not going to look at Connecticut which is Fairfield. Delaware is Sussex County. Florida is Sumter County where The Villages is. That’s seen almost a 38% increase which is pretty crazy, which we’re excited because that’s one of our flagships to seventeen markets. Radio stations are there in The Villages. I’m so excited that you guys are growing greatly down that neck of the woods. Georgia was Forsyth County where Cumming is. It has a 30% to 35% increase in the last eight years.
We’re not doing Idaho. Illinois is Kendall County where’s Oswego is. It’s only about 11.5% increase. Indiana is Hamilton County where Carmel, Indiana is. It’s seen a 20% increase over the last eight years. That’s a surprise, but I’m pretty excited about that area for a lot of the investors out there. Kansas is Pottawatomie County for Wamego in Kansas. It was where that biggest growth was and it’s 12%. Kentucky was Scott County with19% which is where Georgetown, Kentucky is at. Chalmette in St. Bernard Parish was the largest place in St. Bernard Parish growing 30% increase over the last eight years. People are moving out to New Orleans for sure. I do not see anything in Maine.
Let’s look down here to Maryland with Howard County where Columbia, Maryland is at. That’s seen a 12.6% increase. Massachusetts with Suffolk County. There is no surprise there in Boston. Michigan was Ottawa County and Holland, Michigan. I did check where that is. That’s on the Great Lakes there East of Grand Rapids, Michigan. That’s seen a 10% increase that county had in the last eight years. It’s something to keep in mind outside of Grand Rapids. It’s an area that’s grown relatively quickly. People liked it. We don’t see much in Minnesota. It’s in Carver County. Mississippi is Lafayette County where Oxford is at. It’s seen a 15.7% increase. Missouri was Platte County. That’s Kansas City. Missouri has seen a 15% increase. I don’t see anything in Montana. Nebraska is a Sarpy County or Bellevue is. Nevada is no surprise at Clark County in Las Vegas. That’s 14% increase.
A lot of that’s been coming from California, but Clark County is growing at 14.5% for the last eight years. We don’t see anything in New Hampshire. New Jersey has Hudson County where Jersey City is at. It’s seen a 6.6% increase. I don’t see anything in New Mexico. New York is Saratoga County where Saratoga Springs is at. It is just at a 5% roughly 4.8% increase. North Carolina is a surprise. It’s Brunswick County, which is on the southern border with South Carolina, Oak Island areas right on the water just north of the state line is growing at 27%. It is surprising. I don’t see anything in North Dakota. Ohio is Delaware County which is north of Columbus. It has seen a growth of 17.6%. People moving a little bit of Columbus where maybe it’s a little more affordable. I’ve seen a good chunk there. If you’re an Ohio investor, look for stuff in that county. It’s Delaware County in Delaware, Ohio.
Oklahoma is Canadian County where Oklahoma City or OKC is at. It’s not a surprise for the most part. Oregon County where Bend is at. There is a lot of growth. It’s 21.7% there in Deschutes County. We jump to Pennsylvania in Cumberland County where Carlisle, Pennsylvania is. It has seen a 6.8% increase in population. I do not see anything in Rhode Island. It’s Providence. There’s no surprise there. It takes us to South Carolina in Horry County where Myrtle Beach is at. That’s gone through a boom. Just under 28% increase for the last eight years. It’s quite a bit of growth there. In South Dakota it’s Sioux Falls. There is no surprise there. Tennessee where Franklin in Williamson County, Tennessee has gone through a big rough 26.4%. It’s a lot of growth there Williamson County, Tennessee.
It’s 43% for Texas, everything’s about Texas, “It’s got to be Dallas, Fort Worth or around Harris.” I was surprised by this, but now that I think about it, it makes sense. It’s in Hays County. Now, where the heck is Hays County? Hays County includes San Marcos, Texas where Texas State is that. I went to school in San Marcos. I was surprised by this. Texas State has grown dramatically. It’s a great little area. It’s right smack dab between Austin and San Antonio. You’ve got San Marcos. You have New Braunfels to the south of that, which is on the north side of San Antonio. Areas like Kyle, which are just south of Austin. That rolls in the San Marcos Hays County has 41.7% growth in the last eight years. It’s pretty interesting.
Texas State has grown a lot since I went to school there. There are 38,000 students go to Texas State University. It is a big university. It’s one of the largest ones in the state. I think it’s third behind Texas and Texas A&M for the most part. It’s in the top two, three in the state. It’s a good business school with a good entrepreneurship program. We see a lot of people buying there, targeting that area here. Austin investor couldn’t find anything here. San Antonio investors are looking at New Braunfels, San Marcos, because still you only have a 20 to 30-minute drive from me to San Antonio or South Austin and there’s plenty of growth going on there.
What’s been a big attraction in San Marcos in Hays County has been in the big outlet malls. Every year as we’ve seen buses come up from the border, especially on tax-free weekends of people coming in from Mexico to go shopping at the outlet mall for twenty years since I was one of the first things is I can remember driving and going to the outlet malls as a kid with a buddy. That’s over twenty years of that stuff. Anyway, going back here to the rest of the list here for everybody, but that’s the thing. That’s one thing you want to look at outside of the major areas where people are moving to.
Utah is Wasatch County where Heber is. It’s 41.3%. It’s also a large increase. We don’t see lots in Vermont, Burlington. Virginia in the Loudoun County where Leesburg, Virginia is at. It’s 30.3% increase in that county. Washington State with Franklin County where Pascoe Washington is at, it’s seen a 20.7% increase. West Virginia, I don’t see a lot of stuff there. Berkeley County where Martinsburg is at. It’s a 12.4% increase. Wisconsin doesn’t surprise me in Dane County with Madison being the biggest area there. It’s 11%. It’s here the university is at. That’s grown a lot. In Wyoming, we don’t see a big surprise there in Jackson in Teton County. Wyoming rounding it up the 8.4%.
The thing to keep in mind is those states are great and those numbers are all good. What can you do with them? The thing is that people are moving there. You start looking for things in the neck of the woods. I will not doubt that you will fall on growing universities in those counties near those cities. I’d be willing to bet money that a big portion of them, excluding the ones that are rural states we talk about, but most of the year, you’re going to see any university that’s going through a lot of growth too. What does that mean for you? If you can find a distressed debt in that neck of the woods, great. You target it, but also be very specific about looking at how far those assets are, those properties, those notes are from either major employers or the major universities.
Did you ever come through our workshop? I’ve talked about look at the universities there. Is there a major university? If you’re ten, twenty minutes from a major university, you should be able to worst case we get to take the asset back and can’t sell it. Maybe you can turn around and rent it, keep it as a rental or higher property management companies renting out by the room. That’s an attractive thing that a lot of people do when they’re very near a university. I don’t think you can do that when you’re outside of five, a ten-minute drive for the most part. If you’re close to university, our good buddy Cory Peterson talked about it in the Note CAMP. He targets his apartments to be student housing near a university. That’s what they look for.
You’re never going to run out of attendees or students to be your renters. One of the things we did when I was going to school, I tried to stay within ten minutes of the university that way for my 8:00 class, I could wake up at 7:45 and still rolling with them like many people do and avoid the traffic. That’s the thing you can see, especially when they’re moving out away the bigger cities. Austin’s been growing like crazy. It’d be interesting to see what the stats were here for Travis County or Bear County or the Harris County. I would say Harris County has probably reduced a little bit compared ratio that’s still growing. I’d be willing to bet the growth struggled, especially in the last two years with the hurricane recovery.
People are moving to places all the time. What does that mean? It means you have to look at it because if they’re moving into the more populated areas, the rural areas are lessening for the most part or they’re moving to counties near the major metroplexes. That’s the thing you got to be careful about. How many people in the area that you’re buying in that county? I still believe you need to be in an area that has at least six figures in that county to make it fruitful for you. There are plenty of rehabbers, plenty of people that can fix your house or attorneys or even people moving in if you need to do that aspect as well. That’s not saying if you are buying a portfolio, you won’t get a few in the outstretched areas. You’re going to be more flexible when you’re working that route to make sure that you’ve got plenty of people around to help you out with your asset.
You don’t want to buy a house where there’s nobody around or buy a note where there’s nobody around. That bar may be the exact bar that you need to keep them in the house and work to do that. Those are important things to keep in mind, but that’s the thing. Some of the things, as I said, we weren’t surprised with Vegas with it being Clark County there and then in other areas like Boston, Massachusetts and things like that. Some of those were the most surprising. Like I said, Delaware County in Ohio, the county near Grand Rapids. I’ve already forgotten Michigan. That’s a good one to keep in mind. Our friend is up in Grand Rapids. She’s probably got her eye out in that area already.
The Oak Island County on the southern part in North Carolina, which is on the water there was a surprise as well. The county in South Carolina there where Myrtle Beach is. It’s not a surprise. It’s been booming for years. Keep your eyes out for stuff like that. Maybe you need to target some banks that are in that area. Maybe one of the great things that I have done in the past is jump online and gone to those specific counties and pulled assignment searches to find out who’s living in the area, who the major banks have stuff in those areas and target those banks for nonperforming notes, whether it’s residential or commercial. That’s the thing to keep in mind. Residential growth also leads to increased commercial growth as well. It is keeping an eye out in those areas. There are opportunities.
If you’re near one of those counties, do yourself a favor. Jump in the car or on a plane. Head on down and drive around and take a look. You might find some nuggets that you may have overlooked or forgotten about because a lot of people like to target the major areas. Where you make the most money and cashflow is the target areas where you’re ahead of the curve. You’re ahead of the herd. If the herd is running in one direction, you run the opposite. You often make more money and be a lot safer off. That’s the thing to keep in mind. Just because people are all excited about Austin or San Antonio or Detroit or Columbus, it doesn’t mean there aren’t great areas nearby or just a stone’s throw away that. You can pick up some great assets that are going to grow and appreciate and have a high demand from homeowners, renters or other investors looking to buy deals in those markets. Take a look at a great article in USA Today. I love reading articles like that because it gives me some opportunities. It gives me some stuff to put on my hotlist stuck away. When I start looking at assets list coming from banks and hedge funds in this state. Go out, make something happen and enjoy it. We’ll see all the top.
- The Fastest-Growing County