Expert: Austin’s economy expected to continue on economic roll

Aug 7, 2014
Austin American Statesman

Central Texas has seen unprecedented demand in most real estate industry sectors since the recession, local housing market expert Eldon Rude said at a forecast event Wednesday. But the region’s rising home prices could slow population growth in the Austin area, as people and companies choose to remain or locate in cities where home prices are lower

Rude made his remarks about the local economy to nearly 700 business people and state and local officials gathered for the Real Estate Council of Austin’s mid-year economic forecast event, and in interviews with the American-Statesman. Anika Khan, a director and senior economist with Wells Fargo in Charlotte, N.C., spoke on the national economic outlook at the event

“We (in Austin) are in a really, really fortunate place in time,” said Rude, principal of 360 Real Estate Analytics, an Austin-based consulting firm. “Things are very good.”

Drawn by Austin’s job growth, “a lot of people are moving to Austin, and they’ve got to live somewhere,” Rude said

Annual job growth has topped 20,000 since late 2010, and exceeded 30,000 for the past two years, Rude said. “That’s phenomenal.”

Central Texas’ strong economic growth has spurred an influx of newcomers seeking opportunity — an estimated 110 a day are moving to Central Texas, according to U.S. Census Bureau counts. And that has spurred “tremendous demand” for houses and apartments. Some 17,700 apartments are now under construction in 76 projects, according to local real estate consulting firm Capitol Market Research, and housing starts have climbed to a pace of about 10,000 a year, up from a trough during the most recent recession of 6,000 and the pre-recession peak of 16,000 to 17,000, Rude said

And forecasts show the region’s population growth is expected to grow more than 3 percent annually from 2013 to 2020, which will continue to fuel demand for housing, Rude said

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