Dallas Metro Ranks No. 1 in U.S. for Real Estate Development Over the Past 10 Years

That boom you heard in Dallas-Fort Worth the last decade? That was real estate activity. According to a new report from StorageCafe, the Dallas Metro ranks No. 1 in the U.S. for the most activity seen in all sectors of real estate over those 10 years.

From residential permits to corporate relocations to retail to industrial and more, here's a look at what boomed most.

construction management

From the ground up, nothing boomed more in the U.S. over the last decade than the Dallas-Fort Worth real estate market. That’s according to a new StorageCafe report, “The Most Active Real Estate Markets In The Last Decade: Development Fired Up In The U.S., With Texas Metros At The Forefront.”

According to the report, “The Dallas metropolitan area ranks first in the nation for the most activity in all sectors of real estate combined over the past decade.”

Residential building permits

As every developer knows, you can’t break ground without a permit. And there have been a lot of people in line for one in the DFW area. Building permits have been issued here for roughly 323,000 single family homes in the last decade, StorageCafe says (a 59% increase). That’s four times the numbers seen in Chicago. 

Permits were also issued for more than 233,000 multifamily units (a 176% increase). That’s nearly three times the numbers seen in Chicago. 

The Dallas Metro ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in real estate development over the past 10 years, says a report from StorageCafe. [Image: StorageCafe]

Residential really took off during the pandemic

According to the report, 2020 and 2021 “saw the highest numbers of permits issued for new single family homes in the last decade—44,000 and almost 50,000, respectively. The first pandemic year saw a rather steep drop of nearly 40% in multifamily construction. However, the development market bounced back in 2021, when almost 27,000 new apartments got the goahead in DFW.”

Office and industrial growth

Corporate relocations helped lead to a lot of DFW office growth. During the decade, office space in DFW “swelled by 55 million square feet.” That was second only to New York City, StorageCafe says.

Meanwhile, industrial space in DFW grew by almost 230 million square feet over the decade.

This was the most newindustrial space delivered in the country,” StorageCafe says. “In 2021, almost 4.1M square feet of office space was added to the local inventory.”


New registers were clicking across DFW during the decade, with 48 million square feet of new retail construction. That ringed up to No. 2 in the U.S.—only the Houston Metro surpassed it, with 52 million square feet. 

Self storage

With all those new homes and apartments, you’d think people had space for their stuff. Au contraire. During the decade, the Dallas metro ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for self-storage construction, adding around 23 million square feet of new space, 

Self storage generally follows growth in demand, which is what draws developers to a location, said Doug Ressler, business intelligence manager at Yardi Matrix, in a statement. “The new supply pipeline nationally is now at 8.9% of existing stock. Growth has been concentrated in secondary markets across the South, Southwest and West, especially in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Dallas, as well as the “Acela Corridor” in the Northeast.” 

Texas boomed along with DFW

DFW had company in the Lone Star State during all this. According to the report, the Houston Metro ranked No. 2 in the U.S. in real estate development over the last decade, while Austin clocked in at No. 11.

U.S. overall

Rounding out the Top 10 list overall in the U.S.—from No. 3 to No. 10—were New York City, Phoenix, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Miami, and Denver.

Over the last decade among America’s Top 50 metro areas, according to StorageCafe:

• Industrial grew strongly, with 2.2 billion sq. ft. of space delivered

• The office sector saw the addition of 740M sq. ft. of space

• 300 million square feet of self storage were added 

• 2021 was the best year of the decade for residential construction, with 557,000 building permits issued for single family homes and almost 437,000 for apartments last year alone.


The report’s analysis was performed by StorageCafe, an online platform providing storage unit listings across the U.S. The company analyzed new construction data for the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas in terms of population. San Juan and New Orleans metropolitan areas were eliminated from the analysis due to the lack of available data. The period covered was from January 2012 to December 2021. The overall ranking of metro areas in terms of real estate market activity was calculated as an average of the individual rankings for six different sector metrics.

Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

One quick signup, and you’re done.

R E A D   N E X T