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Fastest Growing Cities for VA Homebuying & Refinance Halfway Through FY 2021

The VA loan program set a record for loan guarantees in Fiscal Year 2020. That milestone looks increasingly short-lived.

Midway through Fiscal Year 2021, this historic benefit program is on pace to blow past last year's record-setting 1.2 million loans, according to new data from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The VA backed more than 817,000 loans in the first half of this fiscal year, an incredible 52% increase from the same span last year. A continued surge in refinance lending is fueling the growth, with interest rates still hovering near modern-day lows.

Some highlights from the half-year:

  • VA refinance loans were up 76% compared to the first half of FY20
  • VA purchase loans were up 9.7%
  • 31 metro areas saw total VA loans increase 50% or more
  • 17 metro areas saw VA refinance loans more than double
  • 13 metro areas saw VA purchase loans rise 15% or more

To dig into where Veterans are planting roots or using their benefit to refinance, we took a closer look at VA lending in the nation's metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). Below, you'll find rankings and tables for:

  • The Top 35 cities for total VA loan growth
  • The Top 35 cities for VA purchase loan growth
  • The Top 35 cities for VA refinance loan growth

We set a minimum loan threshold for each of those categories to weed out big increases in small markets. Those minimums are 1,000 loans for the total and refinance rankings and 500 loans for purchase.

Top 35 Cities for Total VA Loan Growth YoY

MSA FY20 Total Loans FY21 Total Loans % Difference
Honolulu, HI MSA 3,662 7,131 94.73%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA 18,834 36,293 92.70%
Baltimore-Towson, MD MSA 6,016 10,927 81.63%
Fayetteville, NC MSA 3,406 6,027 76.95%
El Paso, TX MSA 1,740 3,058 75.75%
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA 12,626 22,062 74.73%
Montgomery, AL MSA 1,066 1,861 74.58%
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR MSA 1,542 2,673 73.35%
Huntsville, AL MSA 2,062 3,560 72.65%
San Antonio, TX MSA 9,020 15,573 72.65%
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA MSA 1,530 2,630 71.90%
Anchorage, AK MSA 1,455 2,497 71.62%
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA MSA 1,338 2,283 70.63%
Albuquerque, NM MSA 2,262 3,797 67.86%
Tulsa, OK MSA 1,139 1,910 67.69%
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX MSA 6,515 10,868 66.82%
Columbus, GA-AL MSA 1,520 2,525 66.12%
Savannah, GA MSA 1,809 2,972 64.29%
Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX MSA 3,236 5,306 63.97%
St. Louis, MO-IL MSA 4,375 7,149 63.41%
Austin-Round Rock, TX MSA 3,114 5,077 63.04%
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA MSA 2,220 3,588 61.62%
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA 3,377 5,455 61.53%
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA MSA 12,352 19,741 59.82%
Oklahoma City, OK MSA 2,866 4,577 59.70%
Columbia, SC MSA 2,800 4,467 59.54%
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA MSA 2,312 3,680 59.17%
Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin, FL MSA 2,460 3,880 57.72%
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC MSA 2,678 4,213 57.32%
Memphis, TN-AR-MS MSA 1,965 3,075 56.49%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA MSA 8,080 12,568 55.54%
Raleigh-Cary, NC MSA 3,143 4,873 55.04%
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA MSA 1,411 2,181 54.57%
Jacksonville, FL MSA 6,395 9,852 54.06%
Wilmington, NC MSA 1,455 2,240 53.95%

Minimum 1,000 VA loans closed.

Top 35 Cities for Purchase VA Loan Growth YoY

MSA FY20 Purchase Loans FY21 Purchase Loans % Difference
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA MSA 534 743 39.14%
Anchorage, AK MSA 606 807 33.17%
Savannah, GA MSA 809 1,043 28.92%
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA 5,273 6,752 28.05%
Fayetteville, NC MSA 1,734 2,204 27.10%
Columbus, GA-AL MSA 693 874 26.12%
El Paso, TX MSA 1,100 1,375 25.00%
Tulsa, OK MSA 548 677 23.54%
Honolulu, HI MSA 1,128 1,388 23.05%
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA MSA 532 643 20.86%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA 5,704 6,805 19.30%
Columbia, SC MSA 1,182 1,404 18.78%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA MSA 2,901 3,435 18.41%
Birmingham-Hoover, AL MSA 606 717 18.32%
Warner Robins, GA MSA 504 588 16.67%
Clarksville, TN-KY MSA 1,688 1,967 16.53%
Baltimore-Towson, MD MSA 2,001 2,330 16.44%
St. Louis, MO-IL MSA 1,575 1,832 16.32%
Albuquerque, NM MSA 785 912 16.18%
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC MSA 1,291 1,499 16.11%
Charleston-North Charleston, SC MSA 1,192 1,383 16.02%
Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX MSA 1,958 2,258 15.32%
Wilmington, NC MSA 544 627 15.26%
Pittsburgh, PA MSA 665 755 13.53%
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI MSA 2,090 2,372 13.49%
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL MSA 1,568 1,769 12.82%
Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA 2,724 3,061 12.37%
San Antonio, TX MSA 4,556 5,114 12.25%
Jacksonville, FL MSA 2,825 3,167 12.11%
Tucson, AZ MSA 1,341 1,495 11.48%
Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA MSA 1,111 1,236 11.25%
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX MSA 3,370 3,735 10.83%
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL MSA 518 572 10.42%
Colorado Springs, CO MSA 3,083 3,395 10.12%
Memphis, TN-AR-MS MSA 743 818 10.09%

Minimum 500 VA purchase loans closed.

Top 35 Cities for Refinance VA Loan Growth YoY

MSA FY20 Refinance Loans FY21 Refinance Loans % Difference
Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX MSA 1,278 3,048 138.50%
San Antonio, TX MSA 4,464 10,459 134.30%
Austin-Round Rock, TX MSA 1,572 3,620 130.28%
Fayetteville, NC MSA 1,672 3,823 128.65%
Huntsville, AL MSA 1,146 2,607 127.49%
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX MSA 3,145 7,133 126.80%
Honolulu, HI MSA 2,534 5,743 126.64%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA 13,130 29,488 124.58%
Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin, FL MSA 1,151 2,540 120.68%
Oklahoma City, OK MSA 1,376 2,970 115.84%
Baltimore-Towson, MD MSA 4,015 8,597 114.12%
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA 7,353 15,310 108.21%
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA MSA 1,348 2,694 99.85%
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC MSA 1,387 2,714 95.67%
Albuquerque, NM MSA 1,477 2,885 95.33%
Savannah, GA MSA 1,000 1,929 92.90%
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL MSA 1,592 3,066 92.59%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX MSA 5,191 9,984 92.33%
St. Louis, MO-IL MSA 2,800 5,317 89.89%
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA 2,253 4,271 89.57%
Columbia, SC MSA 1,618 3,063 89.31%
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA MSA 1,035 1,948 88.21%
Jacksonville, FL MSA 3,570 6,685 87.25%
Memphis, TN-AR-MS MSA 1,222 2,257 84.70%
Clarksville, TN-KY MSA 1,333 2,446 83.50%
Raleigh-Cary, NC MSA 2,022 3,663 81.16%
Pittsburgh, PA MSA 1,026 1,813 76.71%
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA MSA 9,360 16,504 76.32%
Kansas City, MO-KS MSA 2,396 4,216 75.96%
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN MSA 1,479 2,591 75.19%
Tucson, AZ MSA 2,680 4,681 74.66%
Birmingham-Hoover, AL MSA 1,029 1,788 73.76%
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 5,105 8,842 73.20%
Charleston-North Charleston, SC MSA 1,949 3,364 72.60%
Bakersfield, CA MSA 1,055 1,810 71.56%

Minimum 1,000 VA refinance loans closed.