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[The Sun Gazette Winter Real Estate Guide will be published on Jan. 23. Here is a preview.]

Virginia occupied 39th place in the new “Growth States in America” ranking for 2019 from U-Haul, a decline from previous years.

Virginia arrivals of one-way U-Haul trucks held steady, while departures were up 1 percent compared to the state’s 2018 numbers. Arrivals accounted for 49.9 percent of all one-way U-Haul traffic in Virginia.

The Old Dominion fell 11 spots from the 2018 survey, and is down from 13th best in the nation in 2017. U-Haul bases its rankings on data from 22,000 offices in all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces to determine areas with the best levels of in-migration.

“Growth States” are calculated by the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a state versus leaving that state during a calendar year. Migration-trends data is compiled from more than 2 million one-way U-Haul truck-sharing transactions that occur annually.

Florida leapfrogged Texas as the top growth state for 2019, ending the Lone Star State’s three-year run atop the rankings for 2016-17-18. Florida rose one spot after being No. 2 for growth the previous three years.

North Carolina jumped a whopping 21 spots to third on the list, with South Carolina and Washington rounding out the top five.

On the other hand, Illinois and California led the way in out-migration with the largest net losses of moving trucks crossing their borders.

The Southeast accounts for four of the top six growth states, with Alabama’s climb to No. 6, while Utah and Vermont maintain their status as top-10 growth states. Illinois sits 50th for the fourth time in five years, outpacing No. 47 Massachusetts, No. 48 Michigan and No. 49 California for the greatest net loss of U-Haul truck customers.

Farmville, Lorton and Williamsburg led Virginia’s gains. Hampton, Suffolk, Henrico, Richmond, Reston and McLean were among other notable cities to see a net increase of U-Haul trucks. Lynchburg and Alexandria registered as virtual break-even cities.

Although U-Haul migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, the company’s growth data are an effective gauge of how well cities and states are attracting and maintaining residents, officials said.

For information on state and local rankings, see the Website at www.myuhaulstory.com.

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