While many families made the choice to abandon city living in 2020, this exodus is nothing new. In fact, Census data shows that the growth of the exurbs has had tremendous development from 2010 to 2020.
Yes, you read that correctly: the “exurbs” – not the suburbs. So what are the exurbs? The Oxford English Dictionary has a fairly succinct answer, defining exurbs as “[districts] outside a city, especially in a prosperous area beyond the suburbs.” But what does that mean for Texans?
What Exurbs Are – and What They Aren’t
To find an exurb, one needs to (geographically) look just beyond the suburbs. A simple exurbs definition explains that they are “developments and communities on the outskirts of population centers beyond the suburbs where cities become rural.”
So how does that impact people building their own homes? Country-ish living, without actually living in the country. While you might not be on 10 acres, exurban homes tend to be in more rural areas just outside of city (or suburb) limits. And there is a notable cost benefit – according to one article, “exurban homes tend to be larger and newer than suburban or urban homes and generally cost less per square foot.”
So while you may still be in close contact with neighbors, building an exurban home will typically provide you with more home at less cost. And if you’re really looking to go rural, there are some exurban areas where you can live in relative isolation while still enjoying nothing more than a 15-minute trip to the grocery store.
Additionally, with the rise of remote work, exurb dwellers can take advantage of a more quiet (and more affordable) life without having to live in or commute to a city.
“Instead of thinking about the daily commute, I think it’s going to be the case that renters and homebuyers will think about the weekly commute,” Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, told Insider. “That expands the geographic area where they can choose to live, and it gives them some additional buying power.”
Essentially, exurbs are small oases where people can raise their families and work from home while enjoying a more quiet life – and more affordable housing.
For examples of Texas exurbs, let’s look at Dallas and its surrounding areas.
Suburbs like Addison, Farmers Branch, Richardson, and Plano are each approximately 15 minutes’ drive from downtown Dallas. Here you find a mix of older homes and luxury new construction homes built mostly in existing subdivisions, all relatively close to the city. But if you’re seeking an exurb, look 30-40 minutes north to communities like Little Elm, Celina, and Melissa. These exurbs offer new home communities where buyers can get more home for their money and enjoy a small town way of life but still enjoy access to city amenities when they choose.
Additionally, living in the exurbs provides just the right dash of working from home versus in-office. According to one piece, “Perhaps the most crucial characteristic is that exurbs are still close enough to cities for the occasional commute, unlike their more rural peers.”
Living in an exurb, you can ride your bike on remote country roads every day and still be able to socialize with your coworkers at least once a week. While exurbs might be removing the need for a regular commute to downtown spaces, they are also widening the level of talent that companies can acquire.
According to one expert, “that proximity – far enough to find a deal, but close enough to commute – is key to the exurban boom…Before the COVID crisis, the share of Americans working with a hybrid model between their homes and offices was in the low single-digits…NAHB economists expect that share to normalize at 30% after the country fully reopens.”
And there are plenty of other areas in Texas that are experiencing the exurb boom. Heading towards Houston, Manvel is a prime example of an exurb. Here families can find new builds on plenty of land, without sacrificing city access. Additionally, Northlake and Argyle, Texas, are prime examples of an exurb in the Fort Worth area.
All of these districts saw enormous gains within their outlying exurbs in 2021. These new communities provide homebuyers and new builders with a little more breathing room, all while being close to city accommodations – and employment.
How the Exurbs Are Changing the Economic Landscape
Families are flocking to the exurbs – and companies are taking note. With fewer talented employees living in cities, big names are moving their business operations – and sometimes their hubs – in and near exurbs.
PGA just opened a $500-million resort in Frisco, Texas. BPS Just Energy Technology is headed to Argyle, Texas. CelLink is developing a $130 million facility in Georgetown, outside of Austin, Texas. And these are just a handful of examples of how exurbs are influencing the economic landscape. A number of major sports teams, concert venues, and community events are moving to smaller towns and metros outside of Dallas, Houston, and Austin. People are leaving cities…and businesses aren’t far behind.
To Sum It Up: FAQs
What are exurbs?
The exurbs are communities located outside of the suburbs. Typically, exurb lots have more land where people can build homes. The appeal of exurbs is that people can build WFH-friendly homes while still having access to urban hubs. Additionally, many businesses are moving their operations to the exurbs.
What are the differences between suburbs and exurbs?
Suburbs are typically located just outside of a metropolitan area, while exurbs are farther out. Exurbs also tend to provide more land to homebuyers and homebuilders. Nonetheless, exurbs still offer the opportunity for an easy commute on a semi-regular basis.
How does living in exurbs affect children?
Exurbs provide the best of both worlds for children: opportunities to better connect with nature, while still remaining connected to society. Living in an exurb allows children to have a normal, high-quality city education, while still giving them space to roam. Exurbs are an ideal marriage of rural living and urban infrastructure, especially when it comes to education.
Interested in making an exit to the exurbs? Hillwood Communities are just what you’re looking for. We have been developing award-winning places to live since 1988, and new home communities in exurbs are next. Explore our new home communities online and see how the exurbs can help improve the quality of life for you and your family.