The Apartment List Q3 2020 Renter Migration Report found that 25.8% of those looking for an apartment in DFW were searching from outside the Metroplex -- speaks to population shifts and surges over the past decade and relocations -- but those numbers don't tell the whole story. Last year at this time, 26.6% of those searching for apartments were outside the DFW area, so that number has actually gone down with COVID and everything. At the same time, 16.6% of renters searching for apartments from DFW ISP addresses are looking elsewhere, a number that was 16.4% last year.
If you take those two stats in isolation, then, it looks like there could be a net negative out of DFW in the coming months. That's not the expected reality, but those numbers are a bit surprising in that regard.
That all said, a research associate at Apartment List, Rob Warnock, gave an interview to Dallas Business Journal stating that the Dallas market was relatively stable during COVID, especially compared to markets like New Orleans, San Francisco, and Boston, which are expected to be hit harder by people leaving.
At the same time as these stats are happening, DFW led the nation in new apartment construction for the third year in a row, at a time when broadly apartment construction is down. 2020 is a five-year low nationally, down 12% from last year.
If you take all this together, what does it mean?
Not much at this second. A lot of people are playing the "COVID waiting game," and/or need to stay near DFW because of family, friends, or work. Many companies have extended WFH, but there is still a belief it will end for white-collar knowledge work, and people will need to be near a "hub" for their work.
Now, those hubs may increasingly be in DFW. Some California companies and individuals are considering leaving because of taxes and other reasons. If you scroll up to our article about relocations linked at the top of this article, you'll find that over 90% of relocations into DFW in 2019 came from California (and to a lesser extent the Seattle area).
All signs point to DFW population growth, which is why hammers are swinging on apartments at a rate above even NYC.
More inventory = more supply = could be helpful for prices as we continue to "emerge" from COVID. (Just don't expect them to drop a lot.)