Last week Rob Chrisman talked about what makes homebuyers move in his daily newsletter. According to MarketWatch jobs are the determining factor for someone to relocate, second to state and local taxes.
ATTOM Data Solutions, national property database provider, released its 2017 property tax analysis for more than 86 million U.S. single family homes which shows that property taxes levied on single family homes in 2017 totaled $293.4 billion, up 6 percent from $277.7 billion in 2016 and an average of $3,399 per home — an effective tax rate of 1.17 percent.
For Daren Blomquist, Attom’s senior vice president, the story of national property taxes is the story of migration around the country. Blomquist told MarketWatch that taxes are “the icing on the cake” in areas that are seeing strong population inflows anyway.
“Among the counties that saw the biggest percentage of in-migration in 2017, according to Census data, all are in Texas, Florida, Georgia, or the Carolinas. Texas doesn’t have particularly low property taxes, but it has no personal income tax, making the overall tax burden much more manageable,” said Andrea Riquier of MarketWatch.
Texas is a pro-business state that continues to attract business and population.
Business Facilities Magazine ranked Texas as the top state in the nation for the Best Business Climate in the magazine’s 13th Annual Rankings Report. Out of all 50 states, Texas achieved the best overall performance in the 2017 State Rankings Report.
According to Texas Governor Abbott, “economic liberty is why Texas leads in job creation and in corporate expansion and relocations. Restrained government, lower taxes, smarter regulations, right-to-work laws and litigation reform—these are the pro-growth economic policies that help free enterprise flourish and that attract business to Texas from states that overtax and overregulate.”
Austin continues to attract businesses, and is a hub for corporate and regional headquarters, including AMD, Apple, Bazaarvoice, Cirrus Logic, Dell, Dimensional Fund Advisors, eBay, Facebook, Freescale, General Motors, Hanger, Hewlett-Packard, HomeAway, Home Depot, IBM, LegalZoom, National Instruments, Oracle, Whole Foods, and Visa. Check out the Austin Chamber of Commerce Austin’s major employers map.
Best and worst business climates.
24/7 Wall Street ranked best and worst business climates looking at nearly 50 measures of doing business, including economic conditions, business costs, state infrastructure, the availability and skill level of the workforce, quality of life, regulations, technology and innovation, and cost of living.
Massachusetts ranked No. 1 with a well-educated population that is a boon for state businesses. Such a population presents a more flexible and skilled talent pool for employers. Also, people with college educations tend to have higher incomes, which means they have more disposable income to spend. A nation-leading 42.7% of Massachusetts adults have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 31.3% of adults nationwide. The typical state household earns $75,297 a year, the fourth highest median income of any state and over $17,000 greater than the national median.
And, Louisiana ranked last. Working-age Louisianans are less likely than working-age Americans to have the qualifications for higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs. Just 23.4% of adults in the state have a bachelor’s degree, nearly the lowest percentage of all states. Unlike most states, Louisiana’s working-age population is also declining. In the Census’ American Survey of Entrepreneurs, 46% of state businesses reported unpredictable conditions having a negative impact on their business, and 48% reported slow business or lost sales, each among the highest shares in the country.
Texas ranked among the top states at No. 13.
According to USAToday, “like North Dakota and a few other oil-producing states, Texas’ economy has taken a beating from the more-than-three-years-long stretch of depressed crude oil prices. However, the state’s economy is more diverse than that of North Dakota, and GDP has contracted by just 0.3% in the most recently reported year. Credit agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s clearly recognize the state’s stability and rate its debt a perfect AAA and Aaa, respectively, with a stable outlook. The state’s businesses not only benefit from a stable economy, but also from a growing labor force. Texas’ working age population is projected to grow by 14.9% between 2020 and 2030, the fourth most of any state.”
Austin MSA stands out with 42.8% having a bachelor’s degree or higher, as compared to 28.9% in Texas, and 31.3% in the United States. And, WalletHub ranked Austin-Round Rock No. 9 in the Most & Least Educated Cities of America.
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Two years running Austin is number one on the nation’s Best Places to Live according to U.S. News and World Report. For those of us who are Austinites and who are working in real estate, we know this to be true.
Austin took the lead again in the magazine’s 2018 edition of its Best Places to Live in the U.S. list, which ranks 125 major metro areas in four categories including desirability, value, job market, quality of life and net migration.
Check out the Top 10 cities.
2018 Top 10 “Best Places to Live”
“When deciding on a place to settle down, it’s important to understand that where a person lives can impact their well-being,” said Kim Castro, executive editor at U.S. News. “U.S. News created the Best Places to Live to highlight areas across the country that have the characteristics residents are looking for, including steady job growth and affordability. The top-ranked places are areas where citizens can feel the most fulfilled socially, physically and financially.”
And, Austin is not stopping it’s growth, according to the Austin Business Journal Austin’s population keeps growing. In fact, there were 151 additions to the population a day in 2017, down only slightly from 159 in 2016.
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According to CNBC not buying a home is the single biggest mistake of a millennial. Financial author David Bach says that, “millennials are making a big mistake by not owning a home.” According to his calculations today’s homeowner is on average 38 times wealthier than a renter.
Rent vs. buy
There is a lot of debate out there on if it is better rent or buy. According to Trulia buying is 28% less expensive than renting nationwide. For those of you in the Austin-Round Rock area buying a home is 45% cheaper than renting.
Trulia makes this calculation based on the following assumptions: a $1,650 monthly rent, $230,000 target home price, staying in the home for 7 years, a 25% income tax rate, and a 3.65% mortgage rate.
Zillow also offers a breakeven horizon calculator to calculate how many years it will take before the cost of buying will equal the cost of renting. For Austin, TX, using the same $1,650 monthly rent and $230,000 target home price, after 1 year and 11 months, buying will be cheaper than renting when you out 20% down. If you put 10% down, after 2 years and one month buying will be cheaper than renting.
Making the investment
Bach argues that you have to live somewhere for the rest of your life, so you might as well invest in a home that you could own permanently. By the time you spend all of your money on rent, you come up empty handed with no investment.
For those considering home ownership for the first time, here are a few tips offered by the financial author.
Tips for first-time homeowners:
Remember, your first home is more than likely not going to be your dream home. This is ok. Get in a home and begin to build your wealth. Bach says that by the time you are in your 50’s or 60’s you should be able to retire off the money from your home.
The decision is yours
As with any financial decision you make, it depends on your personal situation. Home ownership needs to be the right decision for you and one that you enter into both prepared and cautiously. It takes financial stability and responsibility to be a homeowner, and you need to fully understand the cost associated with your home. Make sure you partner with a trusted lender to understand your financial situation, a REALTOR® as you embark on this decision, and title company to help you through the homebuying process. The American Land Title Association offers a Home closing 101 to help you through this process.
With home prices remaining moderate with only slight increases and continuing low interest rates, my bet is that the American Dream is still a safe bet – no matter what generation you are.
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Can you believe it is February already? 2017 is flying by already. February tends to be a seasonally slow month for real estate. As we hit February 1st, homebuyers should be on the lookout for home price bargains. Per ATTOM Data Solutions, February is the best month for homebuyers to buy a home at a discounted rate. ATTOM data solutions looked at more than 50 million single family and condo sales for the past 16 years to determine the numbers of sales, median sales prices, and calculated the discount/premium against the annualized sales price. In their findings, “Homes in February sold at a price per square foot that was 6.1% less than the rest of the year on average – the biggest discount of any month of the year.”
Check out the ATTOM infographic for the details on the best bargain months.
It is not a strange coincidence that the first four months of the year are also in the Top 4 list of the best month to purchase a home at a bargain. We in real estate know that real estate is seasonal. November – January are typically slow due to the holidays. As the new year rolls in sellers who have homes on the market tend to get a little impatient, which could be why home prices decrease. In the early part of the year the spring and summer frenzied selling seasons have not yet hit, but more people begin to list their homes making it a more competitive buyer’s market. Then comes the summer when buyers and sellers want to complete a move before school which helps drive peak activity and increase home prices.
Let’s bring on the real estate seasons.
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I have said before, 2017 is looking very hopeful – reports are predicting a slow and steady growth. We may not increase at a rate that we have in the past, but we are still on the rise. This is confirmed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Austin American Statesman. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas released their Regional Economic data for December 2016, and all major metro business cycles indexes increased, except for a small dip for Houston.
The Austin American Statesman reports that Texas is ready to shift into 2nd gear in 2017. According to AAS, Keith Phillips senior economist of Dallas Fed, reported that, “Texas employers should expand payrolls by 2 percent this year, about 242,000 jobs. While far lower than the state’s long-run average, which typically exceeds national job growth rates, the job gains in 2017 are expected to surpass the estimated 1.6 percent annual growth rate through November of last year.”
Phillips said, “Texas still fared better than most energy states. And the Interstate 35 corridor, particularly Dallas and Austin, remained an exception to the otherwise modest growth in Texas.”
Phillips went on to say, “job growth picked up in the second half of 2016 due to a stabilization of the energy sector,” he said. “With that positive momentum, the Texas economy enters 2017 poised to shift into ‘second gear.”
Hear first hand from Phillips on how our Texas economy will be “slightly better than last year”.
Mine Yucel, Dallas Fed’s director of research, supported this with, “Despite the sharp drop in oil prices that sent the energy industry into a tailspin over the past two years, Texas did not drop into a recession at any point. And the modest recovery in commodity prices has helped stem the bleeding of oilfield services jobs and helped buoy statewide manufacturing outlooks.”
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A new year is full of potential – the promise of what is to come. People make resolutions and promises to themselves on what they want to accomplish or how they will improve in the year to come. Curiosity has gotten me when it comes to the resolutions people make, especially as we enter into the post-New Year’s Day weeks where these promises to ourselves begin to become less of a priority.
According to Inc.com the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions are:
Not too far off from what I was thinking: be healthier, kick an old habit, save money, advance your career… I don’t think there are any huge surprises on the list. Today I want to focus on one in particular – finding another job. If your resolution happens to be in line with #8, one of advancing your career or finding a new job then, this will come as good news to you. According to NerdWallet, Austin is the best city for job seekers.
Here are the Top 10 lists of cities for job seekers:
The report analyzed federal data for the 100 largest cities to see where there is the most potential coupled with affordability. Data included the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the increase in the working-age population from 2010-2015 with U.S. Census Bureau data, as well as census data for median earning and monthly rent in each city to factor in the cost of living.
Laura McMullen & Sreekar Jasthi at Nerd Wallet summarize the Top 10 list by saying job seekers should follow the young people, find fast growing hubs (like technology or healthcare), and head to the state capitals. And wherever you are, volunteer to grow your professional and friend network. They say to surround yourself by people who know and like you and want to help you. I could not agree with this more.
Two Texas cities made the list. Austin at #1 and Irving at #9. Austinites understand this, but for those looking to change up your career or job here is a breakdown for you on why Austin and the Dallas area could help you fulfill your new year’s resolution.
Unemployment in Austin was 3.2% in October 2016 and 3.6% in Irving. Texas unemployment held steady in December at 4.6% overall. And, according to Sterling’s Best Places, “the unemployment rate in Irving, Texas, is 3.60%, with job growth of 3.09%. Future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 42.59%.”
High quality jobs in technology
Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2014-2024 employment projection says that technology is one of the fastest growing in terms of output. Austin is no stranger to technology, being the home of two major technology companies, Dell and IBM, with many other companies following suit, like Apple. Forbes argues that Austin is the most attractive tech hub attributing the draw to the “young, educated population, large VC presence and burgeoning restaurant and music scene”. Companies see the potential of Austin’s labor pool and are taking advantage of this to grow their tech advantages.
According to Christopher Calnan at the Austin Business Journal, “Texas ranks No. 2 in the nation for number of tech jobs, 585,614, second only to California. And, tech companies accounted for 6 percent of the Lone Star State’s private sector jobs, the report by Computing Technology Industry Association found.”
So, the jobs are here, and per CIO.com Austin salaries are 106% of the national average. Not too bad. For a detailed look at wages, here is snapshot of tech salaries by industry from the Austin American Statesman. In addition, the Salary Increase Forecast for U.S. Jobs projects a 3.3% increase in tech salaries from the 87K median salary as reported by the Economic Research Institute.
This is exciting news for our city.
Job growth in healthcare
On the healthcare side Will Anderson with the Austin Business Journal says that, “in the health care sector, the opening over the summer of the Dell Medical School is expected to accelerate the development of a business ecosystem that combines the city’s existing care centers with entrepreneurial startups and innovators in medicine.”
Irving attributes much of its growth to technology. According to the Irving Chamber of Commerce, “Irving was recently ranked number three for tech startups per capita in the United States by American Express through research conducted by SizeUp.com. In addition, the City of Irving is the first city in Texas and the second in the nation to earn the Malcom Baldrige Quality Award.”
The Irving Chamber of Commerce also notes that “five of Irving’s approximately 50 Fortune 500 companies have chosen Irving for their global headquarters: Celanese, Commercial Metals, ExxonMobil, Fluor and Kimberly-Clark. Irving is home to more of the DFW Metroplex’s largest private and public companies than any other city except Dallas, including Citi, Microsoft, Verizon, NEC Corporation, Allstate Insurance Company, Time Warner Cable, RIM (BlackBerry), Aviall, Michaels Stores, Pioneer Natural Resources, CEC Entertainment and TXU Energy.” These companies choosing Irving, TX as their home base no doubt makes it a hot bed for career opportunities for job seekers.
So, how about it, are you ready to make the move to one of our great Texas cities? The opportunity is definitely here.
And, of course, I would love to help you with Resolution #7. If you are trying to read more, please subscribe to my updates.
So, we know that Austin is the Silicon Hills of the South and leads the tech corridor in microchip development, tech startups and venture capital funding, outside of cities like San Francisco. I recently received the Patent Activity Report produced by Beverly Kerr, VP, Research at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, and it became ever more evident to me why we are the incubator of tech development and why inventors, developers and top technology companies flock to our great city. The opportunity and the amazing talent pool is right here in our backyard.
Per the report:
These are some fantastic stats for our city and the future of tech development. According to Beverly, “patent activity is a primary indicator of Austin’s climate for innovation and is key to the region’s ability to sustain its competitive edge. Austin’s economic growth, exports, and job creation are uncommonly dependent on the concentration of high tech industries in our economy.”
Now, let’s get into the details and what this means for us.
The tech talent pool is right here
Patent growth is a direct result of the talented developers who work tirelessly to improve not only technology, but also processes and product design. We see this in Austin. According to Avalanche Consulting, Austin ranks #5 in the United States as The Most Talented U.S. Metros. We know we have a great workforce, but it is nice to have it confirmed.
In addition, according to the American Community Survey (ACS) 2015, the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program, the Austin MSA has a 89.2% educational attainment – this is the percent of the population that attended high school or higher. 69.5% of Austin’s population has attended some college, 42.6% has a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, and 14.8% have a Graduate Degree. Austin stands above other major metro markets, ranking 6th out of the 50 largest metros for percent of the population with at least a Bachelor’s Degree according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce.
Patent growth and its tie to jobs
Austin has the perfect environment for this talent. According to Innovate Austin, Austin has 46 tech incubators, accelerators, maker and co-worker spaces, and 5,485 high-tech companies, providing a hot bed of activity for our workforce.
It is noted in the Patent Activity that IBM is consistently the top patented company in Austin. The Austin location has in the past had the highest number of patents, beat out only by Yorktown Heights, IBM’s largest research lab. Recently there has been a decline by 52% in Austin IBM patents compared to New York, but Austin still ranks above the San Jose and other major U.S. lab locations.
Business leaders have witnessed companies’ success after success in Austin. Since 2000, IBM and Dell’s success have been drivers to bring other companies to Austin. In 2016, we have seen companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple and other giant California-based tech companies expanding in Austin or looking to setup shop. Companies moving to Austin will not only stimulate the economy, but also create jobs and, as a result, increase housing demands.
Technology trends in line with recent influx in patents
“Among the larger patent classes in Austin, ‘Semiconductor Device Manufacturing: Process’ has seen the greatest decline in patents issued,” said the Patent Activity Report. This is in line with what we are seeing with rumblings of semiconductor company declines and acquisitions.
The report continues, “a smaller but growing ‘life sciences’ grouping made up of what the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) calls ‘body treatment and care’ plus selected classes under ‘life and agricultural sciences and testing methods’ shows significant growth (210%) in Austin between 2001-2005 (211 patents) and 2011-2015 (443 patents).” This patent growth can be attributed to the over 200 life sciences companies now in the region fueling this growth in new products.
Virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) companies are on the rise in Austin. If you look at the Top 20 Hot Austin Startups to Watch in 2017, you will see that several VR and AI startups are in the rankings.
With our talent pool, technology prowess and entrepreneurial spirit, I am excited to see what new technology comes out of Austin. The proof is in the patents.
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According to the Austin American Statesman, Austin’s economy in 2017 will still be strong, but will face some challenges. Here are a few highlights:
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas released its Austin Economic Indicators report January 5th. According to the report job growth continues to lead in Austin over Texas and the U.S. and unemployment is still down at a low 3.0 percent. Although growth has slowed from Austin-typical fast-paced growth, we still are looking forward to a strong 2017.
The Austin American Statesman covers the full story here.
Austin ranked number 4 in economic expansion for 2015 with 5.0% growth rate and number 2 with an amazing 28.1% growth over the last 5 years. According to new data on gross domestic product (GDP) by metro released late last month by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), in 2015, Austin grew 5.0%, San Antonio grew 5.9%, Houston grew 4.6% for a ranking of number 6 in the nation and Dallas was ranked 16 with 3.6% growth.
Monday, September 19th the Austin American Statesman announced that Amazon will be growing their Domain office, hiring 100 additional Austin workers. Since opening in 2015 the Domain office has doubled its staff to 350 employees. The staffing addition will continue to build Amazon’s online presence.
Amazon’s growth in Austin affirms my belief that Austin is a great place to both live and work. Our superior labor force and focus on innovation, as well as the determination to be the “Silicon Hills”, make the heads of major organizations look to Austin for their technology advancement and growth initiatives. Continue reading