The Top 50 Destination Cities in the United States

Houston destination city

For the fifth year in a row, Houston has been named the top destination city in the United States in U-Haul's Top 50 U.S. Destination Cities Report.

By Patricia L. Garcia

Americans are on the move — 35.9 million of them between 2012 and 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

But, which were the 50 top destination cities in the United States that all of these folks are moving to? U-Haul has the answer. Combing through nationwide stats for 2013, the moving equipment and storage rental company recently released its 2013 Top 50 U.S. Destination Cities Report, based on more than 1.7 million one-way truck transactions occurring during a recent 12-month period.

Here’s why Americans flocked to the Top 10 destination cities:

1. Houston

As “The Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons mentions in a promo for his hometown, Houston is a museum hub (he says he saw more art in Houston than he ever did living in New York City), among other things. The cultural hotspot is the fourth-largest city in the country and is known for its energy, biomedical research, and aeronautical industries. This Texas city includes professional sports teams and plenty of upscale eateries.

2. Orlando

Orlando’s tourism is alive and strong — its many theme parks are the reason it’s known as the “Theme Park Capital of the World.” But there’s more to Orlando than mouse ears and roller coaster rides: an emerging tech industry makes it a great place for those looking for good jobs, while its many attractions make for good entertainment.

3. Las Vegas

Sin City is not all about excess. A low cost of living makes this casino-rich city attractive to out-of-towners. It’s got casinos and night clubs galore, but it also has world-class cuisine, a top-notch zoo for nature lovers and more golf courses than you can imagine. And with Zappos being headquartered here, the chances of Vegas being a tech hub (jobs!) have increased.

4. Chicago

The Windy City boasts entertainment — live music, Second City shows, museums and architecture, professional sports — as well as a lively economic culture. The international finance, commerce and transportation fields provide stable jobs for residents while its low cost of living make it affordable for transplants. The culturally diverse city also means lots of great food options.

5. San Antonio

The River Walk, theme parks and Mexican food (and the Alamo, remember the Alamo!) are enough to make anyone want to move to this historic city. The seventh largest in the country, San Antonio provides plenty of entertainment for families, young adults and older adults, alike. Historic missions, the first modern art museum in Texas and moderate weather are just a few reasons that Americans moved here. Other attractions include a the longest bar in the state, a delightful zoo, SeaWorld and Market Square, where you can delight in Mexican imports.

6. Austin, Texas

It’s said that 110 people move into the Live Music Capital of the World daily. Folks are flocking to this Central Texas city for its abundance of entertainment, its laid-back attitude and its plethora of jobs. The Texas capital is a mix of politicians, college students and young professionals (and hipsters) who appreciate the outdoors, a lively entertainment scene and paying zero dollars in state income taxes. A business-friendly atmosphere attracts many types of industries, especially the tech industry, making for a healthy economic situation. The Texas Capitol is quite the stunner, too, as is the barbecue.

7. Brooklyn, N.Y.

Have you heard? Brooklyn is the coolest borough of New York. Why? It’s close enough to Manhattan if you crave the theater, music and other attractions that The Big Apple has to offer, but still is far away enough to give folks the life that New York City just can’t offer: neighborhoods and parks with yards and views of the sky — not skyscrapers — a thriving nightlife and a hyper-local lifestyle. Here, hip young adults mingle with those who’ve been in the area for generations, businesspeople and college kids.

8. Philadelphia

The City of Brotherly Love is experiencing a cultural renaissance. While history shines in Philly, an emerging downtown arts scene and culinary scene (don’t think the cheesesteak will be abandoned, though!), coupled with affordable housing makes the area a destination for young adults and families. Residents enjoy the opportunity to live the urban lifestyle — downtown living, walkability and entertainment — at a fraction of what it costs in other cities.

9. Columbus, Ohio

Looking for some culture? The 15th largest city in the country has it in spades and the Wexler Center for the Arts is just the place to get your contemporary art fix. The business climate is friendly and the cost of living is affordable. Columbus is also a progressive city where biking is encouraged and being green is a normal part of life. And, for those who value a great discussion about, well, anything, you’ll likely find someone to converse with — The Intelligent Communities Forum named Columbus one of the seven most intelligent cities in the world.

10. Kansas City, Mo.

How cool is it that this city is, well, kind of like two cities? In case you were wondering, located on the Missouri-Kansas border, Kansas City, Mo., lies east of the Missouri River (Kansas City, Kansas, is west). Kansas City is known for its jazz and blues scene, barbecue and lively downtown. There you’ll find lots of fountains, museums and high-end shopping. Consider it an alternative to Brooklyn.

Below is the full list of destination cities. Do you live in one of these popular cities? Leave a comment on why you believe your city is great.

1. HOUSTON 26. PLANO, Texas
10. KANSAS CITY, Mo. 35. DENVER, Colo.
13. SACRAMENTO, Calif. 38. SAN JOSE, Calif.
16. TAMPA, Fla. 41. MIAMI, Fla.
20. TUCSON, Ariz. 45. KNOXVILLE, Tenn.
21. BRONX, N.Y. 46. MADISON, Wis
23. ST. LOUIS 48. RENO, Nev.
25. FORT WORTH, Texas 50. SPOKANE, Wash.


Patricia Garcia is content manager for NewHomeSource, where you can search for and get information on new homes and new construction communities. You can find her on Google+.

Posted in Buying a New Home, Opinion | Leave a comment

What’s Hot in Kitchens

Mick De Giulio showcase kitchen

Bosch, Ceasarstone and Thermador showcased their products and the latest kitchen trends at February's Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in this show kitchen designed by Mick De Giulio.

By Camilla McLaughlin

This year’s trend in kitchens is about making a personal statement while going for a timeless look. That was what could be found at the many displays at February’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Las Vegas. The best place catch up on what’s hot in kitchens was in any one of the demonstration kitchens created, often by the biggest names in the industry, just for the show.

This was the first year that KBIS and the homebuilders combined their shows into a three-day extravaganza. Bosch, Ceasarstone and Thermador wanted to do something special by creating a single venue to showcase their products and the latest trends. Legendary kitchen designer Mick De Giulio was tabbed for the job. “I wanted to create a setting that felt friendly and residential — where practical relatable design concepts would be presented in an open and comfortable environment,” he explained. The space housed several different concept kitchens as well as a larger demonstration kitchen. A soft grey wood floor flowed throughout underscoring the prevalence of grey in color schemes today even in kitchens. Grey seemed to be everywhere on the show floor, often showing up as an undertone in other colors.

Still, white continues to be a top pick for cabinets. A De Giulio kitchen for Thermador, designed for a smaller kitchen footprint, included streamlined SieMatic cabinets in a rich white finish and a gorgeous Kallista hammered steel sink. The overall look was definitely transitional, which continues to be the preferred style for homeowners today, just edging out contemporary in an industry survey of designers.

Many of the kitchens showcased at KBIS were more transitional than contemporary, but there were plenty of sleek contemporary designs, often mixing wood with sleek glossy materials such as quartz that wrapped around islands and cabinets. Popular words include cherry, maple and alder. Walnut is expected to grow in popularity.  Contemporary is coming on strong as a preferred style — 62 percent of designer say it’s on the upswing.  Tuscan and Provincial looks were noticeably absent.

Eco-design and lifestyle expert Danny Seo designed two concept kitchens for Wilsonart, a manufacturer of laminate surfaces. For Millennials, laminate is a new material and one look at Seo’s kitchens makes it clear that this is a far cry from the laminate you might remember from your grandmother’s house.  In his Modern Luxe Kitchen, Seo married two stone-inspired laminates, Calacatta Marble and Soapstone, in a bold herringbone pattern to create a dramatic backspace that complemented a gold-toned vent hood.  A Maple laminate was a warm backdrop for rustic modern country kitchen, which also included textured barn woods on the cabinetry.

Seo’s designs also show the trend toward metallics and pops of almost jewel tones. Bronze and warmer metals are finding their way into contemporary interiors overall.  At the show, copper in sinks and cabinet hardware was very much in evidence.  “Copper, along with its chromatic cousins — brass, bronze and gold — brings a sense of warmth to the home. I love copper because it’s elemental,” says New York interior designer Eric Cohler.  Copper often combines a range of metal finishes, although most homeowners opt for a coordinated look for kitchen hardware. Cohler proposed a modified mixing of hardware “as long as you’re consistent — for instance, all the wall cupboards are fitted with brass, and all the base cabinets and drawers have copper hardware — this approach will work.”

Even neutral color schemes are likely to have an interesting pop, as did the Ultimate Kitchen conceived by Wendy Johnson, who designed the association’s “best kitchen” in 2013.  A green glass addition, by Think Glass, at the end of an island accommodated bar height seating. Lit from underneath with LEDs, it injected a dash of color and eclectic feeling to the kitchen.

Another dynamic kitchen was found in the New American Home, which featured two islands, another growing trend especially in high end homes. The second island visually divided the kitchen from the great room. Unusually wide, it also provided a great deal of space for dining, homework or almost any need a family might have.

For consumers, having what’s most popular now in their kitchens is not always a positive. Designers say the one feature homeowners want is customization. On the other hand, they also do not want to be “too trendy.” Brenda Bryan, executive director of the Research Institute for Cooking and Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI) explains, “Customers want something unique, that is personal to them, but they also worry about going too far.”

Camilla McLaughlin is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate, house and home and luxury homes. She is a regular contributor to NewHomeSource, where you can search for and get information on new homes and new construction communities.

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How to Live the Indoor-Outdoor Life with Brookfield Residential SoCal

Residence 3 Plan by Brookfield Residential SoCal

The Residence 3 Plan by Brookfield Residential SoCal brings the outdoors in with a bi-fold door in the dining room that leads to a patio. Palo Verde at The Foothills, Carlsbad, Calif.

By Patricia L. Garcia

The Home of the Week: Residence 3 Plan by Brookfield Residential SoCal at Palo Verde at The Foothills, Carlsbad, Calif.

The Stats:

  • 4 bedrooms/4.5 baths
  • 2-car garage
  • 3,416 sq. ft.
  • 2-story home

It’s warming up and what better way to enjoy your new home than by bringing the outdoors in? In the Residence 3 Plan by Brookfield Residential SoCal, doing that is a snap with an optional bi-fold door in the dining room. The door opens up onto an outdoor patio, expanding the home’s space. Vallery DeVilbiss, sales representative for the company’s Palo Verde division, says that while the bi-fold door is an option, many buyers choose this option because of the importance of outdoor living in California.

Other highlights of home include four-bedrooms and 4.5 baths, with a master bedroom that includes a separate shower and soaking tub as well as a separate vanity area with two sinks.

How important are outdoor spaces in your new home search? Leave a comment telling us what is your can’t-do-without outdoor feature and why. And, to tour the rest of this home, visit

Patricia Garcia is content manager for NewHomeSource, where you can search for and get information on new homes and new construction communities. You can find her on Google+.

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The Hottest Trends in Home Décor at the High Point Market

Ion Design platform bed

A platform bed from Ion Design is subtle, creating a clean and chic space to relax.

By Patricia L. Garcia

You’d expect the Furniture Capital of the World to be a bustling metropolis. New York City, perhaps. Maybe Miami or even an Italian city known for its leather goods. But that distinguishing feature goes to High Point, N.C., where two times a year, more than 100,000 people descend on the north-central town of about 104,000 residents for the High Point Market.

Simply put, High Point Market is the largest home furnishings industry trade show in the world. It’s where designers, buyers, sellers, the media and just plain lovers of home furnishings come two times a year to find the latest trends in home décor.

NewHomeSource was on the scene to dig up the trends you’ll be seeing in your home come this fall. (Believe us when we say there’s something for everybody!) Here’s a slideshow of just a few of the items that caught our eye on our first day at the market:

Regina Andrew chandeliers
Regina Andrew chandeliers

This silver quatrefoil ceiling mount, left, and crystal chandelier by Regina Andrew Lighting are both chic and bold. Each is a modern take on traditional lighting options.

Regina Andrew chandelier
Regina Andrew chandelier

Another creation of Regina Andrew Lighting, this shell-like chandelier is a work of art. Whether hanging in a family room or dining room, this glowing lighting option is extraordinary.

Noir Furniture decorative pillows
Noir Furniture decorative pillows

Noir Furniture’s sassy decorative pillows are for those whose design sense borders on trendy, yet understated. The screen-print pillows were donned with skulls, pistols, horses and geometric patterns.

Corona Decor Company decorative pillows
Corona Decor Company decorative pillows

We love how easy it is to change up a room with decorative pillows. These sea-inspired ones from Corona Decor Company can be flashy (add the fringe!) or more subtle, making a statement without going over the top.

Ion Design platform bed
Ion Design platform bed

Who would not love to wake up in this platform bed from Ion Design? Coupled with three large panels of wall art and tan sheets, you can have a stylish and clean look in your bedroom.

Sugarboo Designs text art
Sugarboo Designs text art

Text art is a good way to enhance your walls. And, because text art can be an inspirational quote or simply a phrase you share with loved ones, it can be completely personalized to boost your mood. Who wouldn’t like to walk by these smile-inducing prints from Sugarboo Designs?

PolArt grandfather silhouette clock
PolArt grandfather silhouette clock

Both functional and whimsical, this interesting take on the grandfather clock from PolArt is not your grandfather’s grandfather clock. This statement piece is a must for risk-takers and anyone else who doesn’t take themselves too seriously.

Calma e Gesso crystal foosball table
Calma e Gesso crystal foosball table

It’s not enough to have a foosball table, it must stand out from the rest. This crystal foosball table by Calma e Gesso joins the Italian company’s series of crystal game pieces, including a crystal pool table.


Patricia Garcia is content manager for NewHomeSource, where you can search for and get information on new homes and new construction communities. You can find her on Google+.

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Best Plants to Add Spring Color to Your New Home’s Yard

Yellow Lady Banks Rose by Monrovia

The Yellow Lady Banks is just one way to add spring color to your yard. This hardy vine is a prolific bloomer. Photos Courtesy of Monrovia.

By Patricia L. Garcia

Each spring, vegetable gardens get all of the acclaim: “How to Start a Veggie Garden” “Prepare Your Garden for Spring!” “Easy Garden Tips” But lost beyond all that veggie freshness are spring’s peacocks that, while not edible, bring dazzle to any yard — both new and old.

I’m talking about plants whose showy blooms will add spring color to your yard. By adding a few of these plants to your new home's yard or garden, you’ll not only add a focal point, but provide good food sources for beneficial insects and birds. We checked in with Nicholas Staddon, director of new plants for leading plant company Monrovia, for the best plants to do just that. Here’s his list of show-stopping, colorful plants for this spring:

Lady Banks Rose

This vine has yellow, picture above, or white blooms and can get quite large, Staddon says. Because it can grow so large, it’s important to place this plant in a spot where it can spread its thornless branches or around a trellis where it can climb freely.

You’ll be rewarded with a multitude of flowers. In milder climates, this hardy rose is an evergreen plant. This plant is ideal for both beginners and experienced gardeners alike.

Eternal Fragrance Daphne

Eternal Fragrance Daphne by MonroviaWhile Staddon recommends daphnes in general for their hardiness and the large varieties, he says the Eternal Fragrance Daphne is “really setting the market on fire,” because of its small fragrant, blush pink blossoms. “It’s a fabulous evergreen shrub with a sweet rum scent that is lovely.”

The compact, round plant can reach two to three feet tall and wide and blooms on and off throughout the summer.



Magical Gold Forsythia

Magical Gold ForsythiaBoth showy and prolific, the Magical Gold is a burst of color in the garden. “It has the most stunning gold flowers about the size of a quarter,” Staddon says. This deciduous (it loses its leaves seasonally) shrub grows to about five feet tall and four feet wide when mature and blooms from 20 to 30 days.

While a great outdoor plant, Staddon says that folks tend to let this plant bloom indoors. One easy trick for those who do so: place flower stems in tepid sugar water (just two teaspoons will do) to give them “a dose of sunshine without them ever seeing the sun.”

As an added bonus, this fire-resistive plant makes for good firescaping, so these could work in places that are closer to your home.


Razzleberry Loropetalum This flowery shrub does best in the warmer areas of the country, like the West and the South. It can grow to anywhere from 12 inches to two feet high and 10 feet wide. The Razzleberry Loropetalum produces soft pink or hot pink flowers, while Pipa’s Red produces red — burgundy in some cases — flowers.

Because of its size, you’ll want to plant these farther from your home than other plants. Place them along the entryway to your home as a welcoming sign for guests. “People will walk up and see these and emotionally, it will make them feel good,” Staddon says.


Staddon says that now is the perfect time to find colorful plants for your yard. He suggests that gardeners go into garden centers or nurseries and ask which are the plants that are coming in. If there’s a special plant that you’ve been wanting for some time and ask, they will likely save one for you, he says.

Patricia Garcia is content manager for NewHomeSource, where you can search for and get information on new homes and new construction communities. You can find her on Google+.

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Celebrating New Homes Month

By Patricia L. Garcia

New Home Source celebrates newly built homes every day of the year, but in April we like to really show the world just what new homes are made of!

April is New Homes Month, as proclaimed by the National Association of Home Builders, and we're here to show you what the big deal is. To do so, we interviewed thousands of home shoppers in dozens of cities across the nation, including buyers considering both new and used homes.

What did home buyers tell us? That today's new homes have four main features that make them so attractive:

  1. Low cost of ownership — with all-new products (and typically the home itself) under warranty, there's much less chance for unexpected, potentially costly repairs.
  2. Quality construction — today's new homes are highly engineered, comprised of state-of-the-art building materials, and constructed to meet the latest building codes.
  3. Designed for living — with open floor plans with kitchens that merge seamlessly into great rooms, higher ceilings, larger owner's suites and closets, built-in storage and larger master baths.
  4. Energy efficiency — newly built homes, on average, are 30 percent more energy efficient than homes built just 5 to 7 years ago, saving you money as well as energy.

Home buyers also told us how much they enjoyed personalizing their new home by selecting their favorite colors, styles and products in categories such as appliances, cabinets, countertops, faucets, flooring, lighting and more.

So, what are you waiting for? Celebrate New Homes Month by visiting a model home near you!

new homes month

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Patricia Garcia is content manager for NewHomeSource, where you can search for and get information on new homes and new construction communities. You can find her on Google+.

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Coastal Living with Taylor Morrison’s Rousseau Plan

Rousseau plan

A two-story family room in the Rousseau plan is spacious enough for hosting any sized gathering. By Taylor Morrison; Mar Bella community, League City, Texas.

By Patricia L. Garcia

Home of the Week: Rousseau Plan by Taylor Morrison, League City, Texas

The stats:

  • 5 bedrooms/2.5 baths
  • 2-car garage
  • 5,084 sq. ft.
  • 2-story home

This week’s Home of the Week brings us coastal living that’s both comfortable and perfect for all of your entertaining needs. Family game night? No problem, the upstairs game room is spacious enough to fit a full-sized pool table and more. Movie night more your style? This five-bedroom home has a media room that is perfect for transforming into your own personal movie theater. An open floor plan leaves plenty of space in the living room and kitchen. And, after all the fun and games, the master suite is the perfect way to unwind.

The home also has the option for an additional master suite on the second floor, ideal for those with aging parents or an adult child who move back home. The home, located in League City, Texas, is less than 20 minutes from the Texas coast, conveniently located near attractions such as the NASA Johnson Space Center and the Kemah Boardwalk. The home’s community, Mar Bella, is conveniently located close to downtown Houston, shopping and dining.

We’re big fans of the home’s entertaining spaces. What are the features in this home that you couldn’t do without in your new home?

  • A) An additional master suite;
  • B) Two-story family room;
  • C) Media room; or
  • D) Game room.

Leave a comment telling us what is your can’t-do-without feature and why. And, to tour the rest of this home, visit

Patricia Garcia is content manager for NewHomeSource, where you can search for and get information on new homes and new construction communities. You can find her on Google+.

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