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Study: Top 30 VA Loan Markets With Military Bases

Veterans and service members in military-dense communities nationwide are turning to their hard-earned VA home loan benefit in waves, thanks in part to on-base and community education efforts.

Key Findings

  • VA loan use in the the Top 30 metro areas with military bases has increased at least 40% over the last five years.
  • Metro areas with Air Force bases have seen the most growth in the last five years.
  • On-base education will continue to play a major role in educating veterans about their benefits and increasing the popularity of the VA home loan program.

Executive Summary

Nationally, VA loan utilization in Fiscal Year 2019 was up 43 percent compared to five years ago, according to Department of Veterans Affairs data. The numbers also suggest that close proximity to military bases, veterans centers, medical centers, clinics, and veterans service organizations are directly tied to continuous VA loan growth in certain areas. These organizations can offer more opportunities to educate veterans in the community about the VA home loan guaranty program.

From FY14 to FY19, the total number of VA-backed loans averaged 625,076 per year.

To develop this list of VA loan growth in Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with military bases, Veterans United Home Loans compared overall VA loan usage in FY19 to the figures for FY14.

Top 30 VA Loan Markets With Military Bases

We’ve identified the MSAs that saw at least a 40 percent increase in the VA loan space and have concluded that the growth could be attributed to the close proximity to a military base as well as VA loan education on bases increases in recent years.

Below shows the MSAs that saw the most drastic growth in the the last 5 years (Table 1)

Table 1: Top 30 for VA Loan Growth in MSAs with Military Bases

Rank MSA FY 14 Total Number of Loans FY 19 Total Number of Loans FY14-19 Growth %
1 Las Vegas 5,223 10,174 94.79%
2 Tampa-St Petersburg-Clearwater 5,584 10,502 88.07%
3 Palm Bay-Melbourne 1,761 3,132 77.85%
4 Boise-Nampa 1,832 3,141 71.45%
5 Jacksonville-St Marys-Palatka, FL GA CSA 4,834 7,941 64.27%
6 Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale 10,100 16,567 64.03%
7 Huntsville 1,552 2,525 62.69%
8 Pensecola-Ferry Pass-Brent 2,529 4,079 61.29%
9 Chicago 4,564 7,313 60.23%
10 Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula 764 1,216 59.16%
11 Yuba City 485 771 58.97%
12 Yuma 520 814 56.54%
13 Bremerton-Silverdale 1,533 2,392 56.03%
14 Colorado Springs 6,752 10,520 55.81%
15 Tuscon 2,813 4,370 55.35%
16 Crestview-Fort Walton Beach - Destin 1,989 3,079 54.80%
17 Spokane 1,300 1,974 51.85%
18 Dothan CSA 295 445 50.85%
19 Urban Honolulu 2,571 3,848 49.67%
20 Dayton 1,626 2,430 49.45%
21 New Orleans-Metairie 1,238 1,847 49.19%
22 St Louis, Mo-Il 3,761 5,573 48.18%
23 Valdosta 473 696 47.15%
24 Richmond 2,683 3,945 47.04%
25 Columbia 2,386 3,466 45.26%
26 Santa Maria - Santa Barbara 436 630 44.50%
27 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario 8,868 12,812 44.47%
28 Seattle-Tacoma CSA 7,181 10,305 43.50%
29 Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem 1,494 2,132 42.70%
30 Wichita Falls 325 462 42.15%

Source: Department of Veteran Affairs

Distribution by Military Branch. A large amount of Metro Areas seeing a huge spike in VA loan usage are areas surrounding United States Air Force (USAF) bases. (Figure 1)

Figure 1: Distribution of Military Sites Seeing the Greatest VA loan Growth

graph distribution of military sites

National VA Loan Usage. The VA loan program has experienced significant growth since the Great Recession. The VA backed 180,00 more loans in FY19 than it did in FY14. (Table 2)

Table 2: National VA Loan Statistics (2019 vs 2014)

- Total VA Loans in 2019 Total VA Loans in 2014
Purchase Loan 61.6% 64.4%
Refinance 38.4% 35.6%
Total 624,540 438,398

Source: Department of Veteran Affairs

Importance of On-Base & Community Education

On-base and community education plays a huge role in keeping service members informed about their VA home loan benefits.

Real estate agents and brokers play a key role in educating the veteran community and home sellers alike.

Thomas Girard, an agent with Jason Mitchell Real Estate in San Diego, said a greater focus on educating active duty military members and their families is paying off.

"It has allowed more veterans to understand their hard-earned benefits and how to utilize them to the greatest potential," Girard said. "There are still a number of veterans who weren't aware of the benefits and how to maximize them."

References

  1. Institutions and Geographic Concentration in VA Mortgage Lending.
  2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. VA Home Loans, Lender Statistics.
  3. U.S. Census. American Community Survey, 2017
  4. DoD Personnel, Workforce Reports & Publications. Military Bases

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