The fastest-growing city in America has 2 things everyone wants, its mayor says

Ryan Tubbs, the mayor of Celina, on the town’s square.

Celina, Texas is the fastest-growing city over 20,000 people in the US.Mayor Ryan Tubbs said two things set Celina apart. The first is its tight-knit community.The city is also more affordable than parts of California and Texas many people are moving from.

America’s fastest-growing city isn’t what you might expect.

It’s not a big metropolis where movies are set like New York or San Franciso. Instead, it’s a small town in the South that only welcomed its first Starbucks in 2022: Celina, Texas.

Celina, located about 40 miles north of downtown Dallas, has been attracting movers with its relatively lower cost of living and its close-knit community.

Celina’s population surged 26.6% from July 2022 to July 2023, far exceeding the 0.5% growth rate of the nation as a whole, according to the latest figures from the US Census Bureau.

In 2010, the city had only 6,028 residents. By 2020, its population had increased to 16,739, and by 2023, it was 43,317, according to the census.

Most new residents in Collin County, where Celina sits, come from Texas ZIP codes, as well as ones in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Missouri, according to BI’s analysis of census migration data. A significant number of people are also coming from Africa, Asia, Central America, and Europe.

The city said Celina welcomes an average of 830 newcomers each month.

Celina mayor Ryan Tubbs told Business Insider that he believes people are drawn to two main things about Celina: its relative affordability and its tight-knit community.

“It’s just astronomical growth when you think about the influx of residents,” Tubbs said. “Even so, our vision is to maintain that small-town feel, no matter how big we get.”

Many movers to Celina come for affordability

Celina’s proximity to Dallas makes it an attractive option for those who work in the city or visit for entertainment but prefer to steer clear of its hustle, bustle, and high costs.

According to data company Payscale, Celina’s cost of living is 18% lower than the national average, while Dallas’ is 3% higher. In total, Celina’s cost of living is 19.9% less than Dallas’.

“The cost of living in Celina is a significant factor for many families and individuals who choose to live here,” Tubbs said.

Over the past few years, thousands of movers who have relocated to Celina are also drawn by its many newly built homes from companies including Taylor Morrison, Toll Brothers, and Highland Homes, which sit in numerous master-planned communities.

According to the city, from 2010 until June 2024, 15,062 single-family permits have been issued for Celina.

Combined with the rise of remote work and improved accessibility via the expansion of the North Texas Tollway, the area has become increasingly appealing to both Texans and out-of-staters looking to rent or buy homes.

Money can go farther in Celina than in other parts of the US.

California native Michelle Clifford is moving to Celina in July after renting in its neighboring town, Prosper, Texas, since February.

Clifford, along with her husband and their two children, will be settling into a 2,400-square-foot home in Celina on an acre of land they purchased for around $600,000.

She said they “absolutely could not afford” that caliber of property in a Dallas neighborhood or in and around San Diego, where they previously lived.

Michelle Clifford, her husband, and children are moving to Celina, Texas, in July.

“I have really good friends who live in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas, and those home prices are right up there with San Diego,” Clifford said.

In Preston Hollow, an area about eight miles north of downtown Dallas, the median home price was $2.1 million in May, according to Redfin.

The median home in Celina sold for $632,030 in May. While it’s more expensive than some parts of Dallas, it’s significantly cheaper than San Diego, where the median home price was $980,000, according to Redfin.

“I feel like a lot of the city’s natives will roll their eyes at me calling Celina affordable,” she added. “It’s a double-edged sword with Californians coming in and raising prices. But for me, it made our dream come true to be able to buy a home.”

Celina’s intimate, friendly feel is also a draw

Celina’s growth reflects a broader trend of Americans seeking out smaller, community- and family-focused towns that offer some relief from the fast pace and density of big cities.

Census population totals from 2020 to mid-2022 show that while smaller cities in Texas like Celina — as well as Josephine, northwest of Dallas, and New Braunfels, between Austin and San Antonio — are experiencing population surges, the state’s biggest cities have seen minimal growth or, in some cases, even outright declines.

Until recently, Celina was a sleepy town dotted with homes in between farms, cornfields, and cotton fields.

“We have people who were born and raised in Celina and remember it when it was just a small farming community,” Tubbs said.

While the city’s relative affordability may initially attract newcomers, they are staying for its “close-knit relationships” and strong sense of community, Tubbs said.

Celina’s town square hosts many events and gatherings that its mayor said promote bonding.

To preserve Celina’s friendly vibe, the city puts on events, especially in its downtown square.

The city regularly hosts movie screenings on its lawn, and a night market six times a year with up to 70 local vendors and small businesses.

Several holiday events are on the horizon, including “Christmas on the Square,” which features Santa in costume, a petting zoo, live performances, and local vendors.

“These events connect us to our past and to one another in an incomparable way,” Tubbs said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours