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The nation’s fastest-growing cities are more like popular suburbs located just outside of the hottest real estate markets. And they are all clustered in just two states: Texas and Arizona.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, smaller cities just beyond the city limits of Austin, TX, and Phoenix, AZ, grew at the fastest clip in the country from July 2020 through July 2021, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report. (The report looked at cities with at least 50,000 residents.)

“Movers are taking advantage [of their newfound ability to work remotely], and we’re seeing more people relocate to the South and West,” says® Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “As a result of the popularity, these areas have seen an influx of people, and in some cases struggled to accommodate them all. Many Sun Belt markets have topped our lists of the areas where home prices and rents are rising the fastest.”