Tandy On Real Estate

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Employment

Welcome to Austin!

400 years ago, refugees fleeing their home country’s hostile political environment bravely headed west over the Atlantic ocean in search of a better life. They arrived on a rock, unprepared for the challenges that come with moving to a new land: a shortage of food and inadequate shelter. A group of Americans called the Wampanoag took pity on these pilgrim refugees, shared their soil and helped them gain a foothold on it. In an act of goodwill and diplomacy, the grateful immigrants hosted the Americans for a large shared feast. Their meal has since become celebrated in the quintessential American tradition, Thanksgiving.

Migration, the core theme of this story, is one of the great forces of history. Not only internationally, but internally within the states. Texas itself has been a migration magnet throughout its history, which helps explain the record of growth that now makes it the second most populous state in America following California. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual Population Estimates program, regionally, the Austin MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) has shown a growth rate with consideration of births and deaths of over 55,000 people annually over the last decade – that’s over 150 people per day! Consequently, with so many people moving in large numbers, there is inevitable impact and influence on the current flavor of our local culture. How will all these new flavors meld into our sweet Central Texas? Let’s take a look at where and why migrants are joining our Thanksgiving table in Texas.

Population Growth Texas 2016-2017
Data Estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau

Growth in Texas
Texas in general is growing at a rate of 1,000 people per day, and roughly half of these new Texans are migrants, according to State Demographer Lloyd Potter. The other half are newborns, Potter added. The strong U.S. economy and low unemployment rates have caused net domestic migration to Texas from other states to slow since 2015. Instead, in 2018, the majority of migrants to Texas — 104,976 people — came from other countries. While historically, Latin countries have accounted for the majority of those migrating to Texas, recently, Texas has seen an increase in migration from Asian countries, particularly China and India, with those countries accounting for around 45% of international migration to Texas in 2016. “Over the 2000s, we saw a pretty significant opening of China and kind of increasing number of Indian students coming over to study”, Potter said, “and I think what happens frequently is once they finish studying, they are able to get sponsored by a company for a work visa… once they get a green card, then they can start sponsoring their family to come over as well.” With Central Texas hosting a university culture that welcomes a large international student population, it’s not surprising that Austin ends up drawing a chunk of this international student demographic within that Texan growth.

Population Growth Austin 2016-2017
Data Estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau

Growth in Austin
Despite the increasingly international migration numbers for Texas, net migration to Austin remains primarily domestic. This also differs from other comparatively fast growing cities such as Miami, San Jose, New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., which experience mostly international migration.

  • The greatest source of growth in Austin outside of local births is migration from other parts of Texas, followed by California, Florida, New York, and Colorado.
  • The most significant metro areas making a net positive contribution to annual migration to Austin are Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, New York, and Los Angeles.

A large part of what’s behind this growth trend can be found in the city’s employment opportunity, prosperity, and its evolution into a tech hub. While Central Texas provides massive employment opportunities in the service industry and in government, in 2018, the Austin Chamber of Commerce recorded 46 tech company relocations to the Austin area (these numbers do not include companies opening second offices as expansions locally like Apple, Amazon, and Google). Those 46 relocations translated into 9,424 new jobs in the city last year. That compares to 51 relocations in 2017 leading to 3,050 jobs. The incoming companies have justified the move due to the region’s lower cost of doing business and a growing pool of tech talent, who in turn are drawn to Austin’s flouishing job market and attractive cost of living.

So what does this kind of migration without RSVP mean for the Austin area? Have we run out of room at the table? A common fear is overcrowding and changes to Austin’s beloved physical and cultural landscape. What it really boils down to is increased population diversity brings with it new ideas, business opportunity, and varied cultures. This has the potential to beautifully blend into our “you be you” or “keep it weird” city, making it thrive. Without question, with this growing population will come the usual suspects – a surplus of traffic and an increased need for affordable housing. But let’s pull up some extra chairs to our table since the diversity of incoming minds will be an invaluable resource in addressing these twists and turns that come on the road to growth. In closing, it’s important to remember the positive lessons embedded in the American Thanksgiving story – our country was founded and fostered by a combination of native and migrant people. We will continue to grow gracefully as long as we embrace our diversity, and work together to build an Austin that we’re proud to call our home.

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SOURCES:

“Where is Texas’ growing population coming from?” By Maria Mendez, 5/8/2019 | Texas Tribune | www.texastribune.org/2019/05/08/texas-keeps-growing-where-are-newest-transplants-coming/

Yep. A Lot More People Have Moved To Austin, The Census Bureau Confirms, By Andrew Weber, 4/18/2019 | KUT Online | www.kut.org/post/yep-lot-more-people-have-moved-austin-census-bureau-confirms

Austin Migration Insights, By Chris Ramser, 2/21/2019 | Austin Chamber of Commerce | www.austinchamber.com/blog/02-21-2019-austin-migration

The U.S. Labor Shortage, Explained

Did you know that more Americans are quitting their jobs than ever? Here is a snapshot of the U.S. labor shortage featured on Vox.com:

  • For a record 16 straight months, the number of open jobs has been higher than the number of people looking for work.
  • The US economy had 7.4 million job openings in June, but only 6 million people were looking for work, according to data released by the US Department of Labor.
  • Employers have been complaining about a shortage of skilled workers in recent years, particularly workers with advanced degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. 
  • Employers are having a harder time filling blue-collar positions than professional positions that require a college education.
  • The hardest-to-find workers are no longer computer engineers. They are home health care aides, restaurant workers, and hotel staff. 
  • In April, 3.5 million workers quit their jobs — the highest number ever recorded in a single month.

Here is the full story.

The U.S. Labor Shortage, Explained
Featured in Vox.com
By Alexia Fernández Campbell August 12,2019

The US economy doesn’t have enough workers.

For a record 16 straight months, the number of open jobs has been higher than the number of people looking for work. The US economy had 7.4 million job openings in June, but only 6 million people were looking for work, according to data released by the US Department of Labor.

This is not normal. Ever since Labor began tracking job turnover two decades ago, there have always been more people looking for work than jobs available. That changed for the first time in January 2018. Just look at the chart below.

Employers have been complaining about a shortage of skilled workers in recent years, particularly workers with advanced degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Nearly every industry now has a labor shortage, but here’s the twist: Employers are having a harder time filling blue-collar positions than professional positions that require a college education.

The hardest-to-find workers are no longer computer engineers. They are home health care aides, restaurant workers, and hotel staff. The shift is happening because more and more Americans are going to college and taking professional jobs, while working-class baby boomers are retiring en masse.

This means that for once, low-skilled workers have the most leverage in the current labor market.

One way to measure that leverage is to see how many workers are quitting their jobs. When more people are quitting than getting fired, that’s a sign of a healthy labor market. It means people are finding better-paying jobs, or feel confident that they will. And, sure enough, a record number of workers are quitting.

In April, 3.5 million workers quit their jobs — the highest number ever recorded in a single month (check out the red line in the graph below). Meanwhile, layoffs and firings remain at record-low levels.

Who are the workers quitting at the highest rates? Restaurant and food catering workers, followed by those in the hotel and tourism industry. Both industries rely on a large number of low-paid workers. The fact that so many are quitting suggests that workers are fed up with crappy jobs.

It “indicates that workers are feeling more confident in their jobs prospects to quit in search of better opportunities,” writes economist Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute.

While a labor shortage seems like something for President Donald Trump to brag about, there is one troubling sign: The total number of job openings is decreasing. That means economic growth could continue to slow. That’s bad news for the president.

But in the meantime, there’s no better time for working-class Americans to demand better wages, benefits, schedules, and work conditions. It also means immigration reform is more urgent than ever. In order to fill all the open jobs and keep the economy growing, Congress will need to allow more low-skilled immigrants to work — legally.

Employers need to raise wages by a lot

The numbers are pretty clear about what comes next. If 7.4 million jobs are open and only 6 million people are looking for work, then employers need to find a lot more workers. They need to encourage more Americans to join the workforce.

Right now there are about 1.5 million people who are considered “marginally attached” to the US labor force and who are not counted as job seekers. They are people who would like to work but don’t need to, or can’t work because of other responsibilities. Their most common reasons for not working are because they’re enrolled in school or taking care of family members, according to the Labor Department.

Economists agree that employers need to do more to entice workers to join the labor market. They need to sweeten the deal.

“Companies looking to attract enough blue-collar workers will have to continue increasing wages and, as a result, possibly experience diminished profits,” wrote Gad Levanon, chief economist for North America at the Conference Board, a global economic research organization that has studied the recent US labor shortage.

Slow income growth has been the most persistent problem affecting the US economy in its recovery from the Great Recession. Wages have barely kept up with the cost of living, even as the unemployment rate dropped and the economy expanded.

With such a tight labor market and rising productivity, workers should expect much bigger pay raises than they’re getting.

Private sector workers (excluding farmworkers) got a measly 8-cent average hourly raise in July, adding up to an average pay of $27.98 an hour. Workers’ wages only grew about 1.6 percent in the past year, after adjusting for inflation.

While that’s faster than wages have been growing since the recession started in 2007, it’s still a pathetic amount compared to the sky-high payouts corporate CEOs are getting.

But raising wages will only do so much to ease the labor shortage. Businesses will need to hire more foreign workers too.

The US economy needs more low-skilled immigrants

The new labor market data shows a lot of unfilled jobs that require college degrees — about 1 million in the professional business service sector. But there are even more open jobs that don’t require that much education.

These are the kinds of jobs that low-skilled immigrants, often from Latin America, have long helped fill. But Trump’s restrictions on immigration threaten to make the labor shortage worse. Since taking office, his administration has tried to scale back nearly every avenue of legal immigration, ignoring the high demand for unskilled immigrant workers, even though he employs undocumented workers at his own golf clubs.

Trump’s most recent immigration proposal would revamp the current legal immigration system, which currently prioritizes immigrants with family ties to the US. The new green card system would instead favor immigrants with high levels of education, English-language fluency, and professional skills. Most of the green cards would go to immigrants under a point system that ranks applicants based on certain criteria, such as professional skills, education level, age, and English fluency. So Trump would like to make it even harder for unskilled immigrants to come to the US.

In 2017, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board warned Trump that his restrictions on immigration could hurt the economy.

“If President Trump wants employers to produce and build more in America, the US will need to improve education and skills in manufacturing and IT. But the economy will also need more foreign workers, and better guest worker programs to bring them in legally,” the publication said in March 2017.

Darrell West, a Brookings expert on technology and public policy, pointed out in 2013 that the US economy would suffer if Congress didn’t overhaul the immigration system:

America’s immigration system is not designed for today’s economy, and remains largely unchanged since 1965. In fact, of the approximately one million green cards given out by the US in 2011, around 139,000 (or 13 percent) were given out for economic reasons, a number far too small to meet the needs of the world’s largest economy.

Providing more work visas for skilled and unskilled immigrants seems like an obvious solution to ease the labor shortage. But it’s also the solution Trump seems least inclined to take.

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SOURCES:

Vox.com – https://www.vox.com/2019/8/12/20801941/us-labor-shortage-workers-quit

BLS.gov – https://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm

The Conference Board – https://www.conference-board.org/press/pressdetail.cfm?pressid=7622

Pew Research – http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/08/07/for-most-us-workers-real-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades/

NPR – https://www.npr.org/2018/10/26/660489729/will-headwinds-appear-in-u-s-economic-growth-benchmark

Vox.com – https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/8/16/17693198/ceo-pay-gap-income-inequality

The Wall Street Journal – https://www.wsj.com/articles/americas-growing-labor-shortage-1490829265?mg=prod/accounts-wsj

Governance Studies at Brookings – https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/West_Paradox-of-Worker-Shortages.pdf

Austin No. 1 City Gaining Company Migrations from California

Austin continues to grow from California residents and business relocations. A recent study by Joseph Vranich of Spectrum Location Solutions revealed more than 13,000 companies have left California for friendlier locations, with Austin being the No. 1 city to gain the California migrations. The study also ranked Texas as No. 1 in the Top 10 states gaining the most from California business relocations, a distinction Texas has held for the past decade.

“During the study period, $76.7 billion in capital funds were diverted out of California along with 275,000 jobs – and companies acquired at least 133 million sq. ft. elsewhere – all of which are greatly understated because such information often went unreported,” according to the study.

The Austin Business Journal summarized that “Departures are understandable when year after year CEOs nationwide surveyed by Chief Executive Magazine have declared California the worst state in which to do business,” said Vranich, a corporate relocation expert who jokes that he loves California’s weather, but not its business climate. Until recently, Spectrum and Vranich were based in Irvine, Calif. Texas, on the other hand, consistently ranks as one of the best states to do business in.”

The top 10 states starting in the order of those that gained the most from California business relocations were:

  1. Texas, which has held the first-place distinction for at least a decade
  2. Nevada
  3. Arizona
  4. Colorado
  5. Oregon
  6. Washington
  7. North Carolina
  8. Florida
  9. Georgia
  10. Virginia

The top 10 cities gaining company migrations from California were:

  1. Austin
  2. Reno, Nev.
  3. Las Vegas
  4. Phoenix
  5. Seattle
  6. Dallas
  7. Portland, Ore.
  8. Denver
  9. San Antonio
  10. Scottsdale, Ariz.


The report’s ranking is based only on cities, not metro areas. Fort Worth, Houston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Indianapolis and Nashville also ranked among the top twenty.

Vranich further details the Texas metro market migrations in the Austin Relocation Guide. Metropolitan areas benefiting from California divestment events show Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos in the top spot, followed by No. 2 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, and No. 10 San Antonio, which was tied with Salt Lake City. Of the Top 15 destination metropolitan communities benefiting from out-of-California Austin tops the list, followed by No. 6 Dallas, No. 8 San Antonio, No. 11 Houston, No. 13 Irving and Plano (tied) and No. 14 Fort Worth.”

The new 2018 Migration Trends study by residential real estate brokerage site Redfin shows California is the top source of people from other metro areas shopping for homes in Austin. KVUE reported that in the Austin area, the biggest generator of inflow (more people seeking to move to area than leave it) was from San Francisco, unsurprising considering both cities are hubs for the technology sector. In Dallas, the L.A. area produced the most potential newcomers.

With the California migrations, it begs the question, how is Austin doing today?

The Austin Chamber of Commerce recently reported:

  • Austin added 36,800 net new jobs, growth of 3.5%, in the 12 months ending in December, making Austin the fourth fastest growing major metro.
  • In Austin, the industry adding the most jobs and growing the fastest is wholesale trade which grew by 6,900 jobs or 12.8% over the last 12 months. Also growing at faster-than-average rates are construction and natural resources (8.1% or 5,000 jobs) and other services (4.4% or 2,000 jobs).
  • Austin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 2.9%, up from 2.8% in November. Unemployment has been at or below 3.0% for the last 16 months.
  • For new home construction Austin ranked number 1 in the nation in per capita building permits through midyear 2018 with a projected increase over 2017.
  • Home prices are rising with a median home price increase of approx. 4% in 2018.
  • Incomes are rising with total personal income in the Austin metro growing by 6.4% in 2017, the 5th fastest growth rate among major metros.

We continue to see growth in Austin, and we welcome California transplants to make Austin their home.

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Resources:

Austin Business Journal – https://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2018/12/13/1-800-companies-left-california-in-a-year-with.html 

The Kumar Law Firm – https://thekumarlawfirm.com/lawyer/2018/12/31/Business-Law/California-Businesses-Flock-to-Texas_bl36525.htm

KVUE – https://www.kvue.com/article/news/local/california-homebuyers-continue-coasting-into-austins-real-estate-market/269-608008889 

PRWeb – https://www.prweb.com/releases/record_number_of_companies_departing_california_study_urges_more_to_leave/prweb15977005.htm

Redfin – https://www.redfin.com/blog/2018/10/q3-2018-migration-report.html

Culture Map – http://austin.culturemap.com/news/real-estate/10-25-18-homebuyer-interest-in-austin-california-san-franscisco-redfin/

Austin Chamber of Commerce – https://www.austinchamber.com/blog/01-22-2019-job-growth-unemployment

Austin Chamber of Commerce – https://www.austinchamber.com/economic-development/business-climate/economic-perspective

Austin Relocation Guide – http://www.austinrelocationguide.com/Austin-Wins-Big-as-Companies-Leave-California/

Texas Growth Reports

The Perryman Report and Texas Letter talks about:

• Jobs – Texas added 39,600 jobs in April for a total of 332,300 jobs over the previous 12 months,
• Energy – Advances in technology in an amazingly short period of time have reduced the cost to produce oil.  Three years ago $70 per barrel almost shut down the industry.  Today that price accelerates an ongoing surge.  Production is so strong that the Permian Basin will run out of pipeline capacity within the next 3 to 4 months until new pipelines can be completed in 2019.
• Business – Texas again winning the top award for corporation location and expansion projects from the Site Selection Magazine.
• Population – Texas is projected to reach a population of 30 million in the next 4 years.

Major Metro Areas Growth

Major Metro Areas Growth

The Federal Reserve of Dallas Texas Employment Forecast projects a whopping 412,600 jobs will be added to the state this year with a job growth rate of 3.3%.  The 2018 forecast is significantly above 2017 job growth of 1.9 percent. The Fed’s Leading Index for Texas continues it’s positive three year trend after recovering from the downturn caused by the drop in the price of crude oil.

TX Job Forecast 6-25-18

TX Job Forecast 6-25-18

Chamber Report on High Tech

This week, the Austin Chamber of Commerce published a report on the High Tech Industry: https://www.austinchamber.com/blog/06-05-2018-high-tech-industry

• Nearly 6,500 employers in the Austin metro area are in high tech industries.
• Jobs in Austin’s tech industries total over 138,500, or 14.1% of all jobs, compared to 7.0% nationally.
• In 2017, jobs in Austin’s high tech industries grew by 4.3%, surpassing the metro’s 3.2% total job growth.

Annual average employment in high tech industries in the Austin MSA in 2017 was 138,544, up 4.3% from 2016. That’s a stronger gain than the 3.2% increase for employment across all industries. High tech jobs represent 14.1% of all Austin area jobs in 2017 and 18.5% of the year’s net new jobs. Nationally, high tech accounts for 7.0% of all jobs.

This is important to Austin and to the Real Estate community overall because of the quality of the these jobs.  For all industries, the average annual salary in Austin is $59,742, up 4.3% from 2016, while the average salary for high tech jobs is $112,771, up 6.2%.

Average Annual Salary Austin MSA

Average Annual Salary Austin MSA

High Tech Jobs Austin MSA

High Tech Jobs Austin MSA

Corporations Relocating to Texas and Austin

Here are some great articles highlighting the continued trend of corporations relocating to Texas and the Austin area:

Today, Ray Perryman reports that Texas again wins of Site Selection Magazine’s “Governor’s Cup” competition: Another Win for Texas – This award goes to the state with the most major corporate location and expansion projects in a year. The 2017 win is the sixth in a row for Texas. Lone Star State also won in 2004, 2005, and 2010 (and was a close second in several of the years between).  Last year, Texas had 594 projects with a capital investment of at least $1 million, 20 or more new jobs, or 20,000 square feet of new construction. Texas has resources corporations need: a large and growing population, oil and gas, a coastline favorable to shipping, abundant land, a relatively moderate climate, and a central location, among others.

Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce reports on Relocations and Expansions: 2016-2017 RELOCATIONS & EXPANSIONS LOG – note the large number of Headquarters that are expanding.

Other tech companies moving to Austin: Texas takeover: Why 5 tech companies relocated their headquarters to Austin – Great article which highlights the many reasons why companies want to relocate to Austin.

San Francisco article: Tech pipeline to Texas: Tax money, people flow out of Bay Area – which highlights the struggles of keeping companies in the bay area vs. moving to Austin for the labor they need to grow and expand.  This is a 2016 article but highlights the ongoing trend of companies moving from other states, particularly California, to Austin.

Links to articles:

Top 10 issues affecting real estate

The Counselors of Real Estate® (CRE) announced on June 14, 2017 the CRE 2017-2018 Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate at the National Association of Real Estate Editors Annual Conference in Denver last week. In the presentation Scott Muldavin, 2017 chair of The Counselors of Real Estate,  revealed the Top Ten issues, and then broke out the impact on both residential and commercial real estate. Today I will cover how the Top Ten affects residential real estate according to CRE.

 

 

  1. Political polarization and global uncertainty

Watch any bit of news or fake news, and you know this one to be true, but how does this impact real estate? As we continue to see uncertainty about changes to trade, travel and immigration policy threaten cross-border investing, hospitality properties, retail and manufacturing supply chains. Middle class how ownership will also be impacted as interest rates rise.

The impact on residential real estate:

  • Consumer price index rise
  • Interest rate rise
  • Mortgages less affordable
  • Polarized communities.
  1. The technology boom

We have seen the boom in apps. It is now at an inflection point where the use of technology will totally effect the real estate industry. In 2016 2.7 billion was spent in real estate tech. This boom will change every aspect of buying and selling real estate, as well as the homes that we live in.

The impact on residential real estate:

  • Smart homes (thermostats, lighting, security…)
  • Wireless access and bandwidth key
  • Health and wellness attributes on the rise
  • Suburbs could benefit from new transportation models
  1. Generational disruption

Babyboomers and millennials are now about the same. According to CRE The Baby Boomers generation of approximately 74 million (born between 1946 and 1964) is now smaller than the Millennial generations of approx. 75.4 million (born roughly between 1980 and 1997.) A significant number of today’s real estate decisions, as well as those connected to the workplace and consumer spending are now made by people under the age of 40. For the first time people are living and working together (both old and young). Boomers are wanting to move to inner suburbs and want more of an experiential lifestyle. “Surban” areas are the new it. These are suburban urban areas that feel urban-esque. People are looking for an urban feeling in suburban areas.

The impact on residential real estate:

  • Younger renters/buyers’ income limits
  • Marrying later, moving to suburbs
  • Older owners downsizing, selling, moving back to cities
  • Design, amenities differ by age group, yet they will live side-by-side in the same properties and neighborhoods
  • “Surban” communities thrive
  1. Retail disruption

According to CRE, there is a trend toward transforming retail in to “experiential” continues and is offsetting the shrinkage in the physical “bricks mortars” consumer goods platforms. Half of all U.S. households are members of Amazon Prime. There is a fundamental behavioral change in how people shop. The emphasis is on “timely, fast delivery of goods to consumers. May retailers are adopting an “Amazon-like approach, creating new warehouses; new distribution methods; and new fulfillment models while, ironically “disruptive retailers” such as Amazon are opening physical stores. With these changes, up to 30% of malls expected to close, but with this comes opportunities to repurpose the malls Retails is not dying, it is just changing. It is resilient. This disruption is similar to when Sears had to reinvent themselves because of Walmart.

The impact on residential real estate:

  • Walking distance retail demand is up
  • Unique destinations in high demand
  • Retail disruptions is a residential value determinant
  1. Infrastructure investment

We don’t really know what is going on with infrastructure now with the political polarization. It is clear that infrastructure investment is critical. 200 billion was spent over 10 years. 80% of which was state and local government. Mass transportation is being zeroed out. Don’t typically do tax reform or infrastructure spending in a time of growth.

The impact on residential real estate:

  • More infrastructure jobs = more income for housing
  • Better access to housing, work, shopping; improved utilities
  • Improved delivery of purchased goods
  • Potential higher costs for access to privately owned infrastructure (roads, utilities)
  1. Housing: The big mismatch

Affordability is a big issue. In Cleveland you can still buy a house for 80K. But, where jobs are being created there are huge affordability issues, i.e. Denver, West Coast… According to CRE, “Safe, decent, affordable housing has been shown to have a stabilizing effect on urban economies, crime, and public health.  A current lack of inventory has  generated a spike in home prices and, as a result, declining affordability for many home buyers, particularly those in lower income sectors.   A critical disparity exists between housing needs and housing supply. Although improving home prices, economic growth, mortgage accessibility and rental development have improved housing access and affordability in many areas, a confounding series of supply-demand mismatches continues to severely impact markets worldwide.  While the United States increasingly wrestles with the issue, a recent study of 300 metropolitan areas around the world ranked North America as a market with far fewer affordability problems than most.”

The impact on residential real estate:

  • Lack of inventory
  • Few “starter homes” for young buyers
  • Spike in home prices
  • Rising rents
  • Declining affordability
  • Poor market for older, larger homes in suburbs hinders Baby Boomer downsizing and moves
  1. Lost decades of the middle class

According to CRE, “After successive post-recession years of insignificant gains, median household incomes in the U.S. rose in 2015 by 5.2% to $56,516. Still, despite this welcome increase, middle class incomes have yet to recover their pre-recession highs ($57,403 in 2007), and are actually hovering below inflation-adjusted levels from almost two decades ago ($57,909).  Battered by automation and outsourcing, middle class jobs are still under pressure as the U.S. economy transitions from manufacturing to services.”

The impact on residential real estate:

  • Lack of funds for home purchases = postponed home buying
  • Debt and rents of more than 40% of income makes saving for down payment difficult
  • Little disposable income to support retail, restaurants…
  1. Real estate’s emerging role in health care

According to CRE, “Building occupants are increasingly demanding that the space they inhabit be designed, constructed, and operated in ways that advance positive health outcomes. It makes intuitive sense that buildings could help or hurt health in that people spend 90% of their time indoors. Research from the Mayo Clinic also concludes that only 20% of health comes from health care, with environmental and behavioral factors accounting for 40%.”

The impact of residential real estate:

  • Rising health care costs put a strain on household spending and saving
  • Potentially increased access to medical services at malls
  • May see health buildings/homes increase in desirability
  1. Immigration

According to CRE, “New immigrants tend to rent, boosting demand for multifamily housing, especially in gateway cities.  Recent surveys suggest that immigrant populations aspire to own homes and to move relatively freely from cities to suburbs and back in the search for employment. Labor mobility and homeownership rates will be constrained by limiting immigration. Industries like tech that demand highly skilled workers may be forced to innovate and substitute capital for labor if they cannot fill vacancies by recruiting foreign workers – constraining job growth. Longer term, if the entry of immigrant populations that tend to have larger households is curtailed, there will be a limit on the so-called demographic dividend for economic growth, with less of a labor force to support an aging population.”

The impact on residential real estate:

  • Fewer immigrants = fewer new household formations
  • Fewer renters
  • Fewer homebuyers
  • Fewer larger immigrant families = fewer larger homes needed
  • Affects urban and suburban areas alike
  1. Climate change

According to CRE, “In January 2017, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a new report based on the most up to date scientific evidence on sea level rise that more than doubles the 2013 forecasts of potential sea level rise by 2100 from 2.2 to 4 feet to 6.6 to 8.6 feet.  Sea level rise is caused by both the thermal expansion of the oceans—as water warms up, it expands—and the melting of glaciers and ice sheets.  These dramatic rises were due largely to new research on the role of the Antarctic in sea rises as well as improved forecast models.  The Atlantic (Virginia Coast North) and western Gulf of Mexico Coasts’ sea rise is projected to be greater than the global average by .3 to .5 meters by 2100.  Alaska and the Pacific Northwest are projected to be 0.1 to 1 meter lower.

While a potential rise of sea level by 6.6 to 8.6 feet by 2100 may seem far in the future, NOAA also estimates that annual frequencies of disruptive and damaging flooding would increase 25-fold with only a 14-inch increase in local sea level rise.  Major cities such as Miami, New York, New Orleans, Tampa and Boston are projected to have the most costly problems, with South Florida and most coastal areas all exposed to differing levels of sea rise risk and cost.”

The impact on residential real estate:

  • Property value declines
  • Property insurance too costly or not offered in impacted areas
  • Potential early home sales before next climatic event to protect ‘nest egg” equity for retirement
  • Particularly in cities like Miami, NYC, New Orleans, Tampa, Boston, South Florida

CRE also identified three issues to watch including: tax reform and monetary policy, other policy issues and the cannabis.

The CRE Top Ten list is developed annually by members of the CRE organizations’ External Affairs group. The Counselors’ 1,100 members around the world undertake an extensive dialogue on current issue and trends to identify the final list. Click here to see the full list or follow #CRETopTen on Twitter.

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SOURCE:
https://www.cre.org/
https://www.cre.org/news-releases/political-polarization-global-uncertainty-top-cre-2017-18-top-ten-issues-affecting-real-estate-list/
https://www.cre.org/external-affairs/alert-the-cre-2017-18-top-ten-issues-affecting-real-estate/
https://www.cre.org/external-affairs/cre-2016-2017-top-ten-issues-affecting-real-estate/

 

Corpus Christi real estate activity is alive and well; City continues to turn on seasonal activity

It is that time of year to start planning your summer vacations. The days are longer, Spring Break is over, and now we can look forward to a sunny spring and summer. This planning brings to mind our Texas beaches. On that note, today I would like to highlight Corpus Christi.

The South Texas Economic Development Center Economic Pulse, 2017, Issue 4 on the “Housing Market Downswing?” covers how the Corpus Christi housing market has boomed since the beginning of the decade. According to the article, “recently, the local economy has stalled in the wake of falling oil prices. Still the area’s residential construction remains remarkably active, and home prices stay at historically high levels.”

Here is a snapshot of the article:

  • The housing market has grown without major interruptions since 2000. Even during the burst of the nationwide housing bubble and the subsequent recession of 2007-2009, local home prices merely slowed down.
  • Along with other metro areas in Texas, Corpus Christi was among the top cities in home price appreciation during the decade ending in 2016.
  • The area’s median home price grew nearly 40 percent over the 2006-2016 period, slightly below the 45 percent and 44 percent growth rates for Houston and Dallas, respectively.While the median home price of the Corpus Christi metro area tended to rise at a solid pace in the past decade, the housing conditions varied widely across its local communities.A real estate bubble might have developed and then burst recently in the Rockport-Fulton area—the major community of Aransas County. Construction of a large number of industrial sites around the Port of Corpus Christi seems to have boosted the housing markets of various communities in San Patricio County. Following a long period of swings in different directions, the median home prices of these three counties converged to about $160,000 by the end of 2016.
  • Developers responded to rising home prices by increasing the supply of home units.The column chart below shows the Real Estate Center’s Texas Home Affordability Index (THAI) for Corpus Christi and the state. The index indicates the ability of the typical household, measured by total earnings, to buy a house selling for the median home price. The higher is the index, the more affordable are homes in the area.The chart suggests that homes in both Corpus Christi and Texas are less affordable today than in 2012. Home prices across Texas have caught up with income growth, which has recently slowed down from the 2011-2014 period of economic boom. Still the latest THAI readings remain higher, meaning more affordable, than their respective readings at the previous housing boom ending in 2007.
  • Given its relatively large exposure to the oil and gas industry, Corpus Christi’s overall economic condition is tied to developments in the oil market. For the three years that local personal income per capita recorded a loss, the crude oil price also fell. Year 2016 was the most recent period that local income per capita shrank, after the collapse of the oil market beginning in early 2015.
  • Oil and gas drilling and production in South Texas began to rebound in late 2016, and based on the oil futures market, oil prices are expected to rise steadily at least in the next six months.
  • Should the current market trends continue under normal conditions, home prices would rise modestly through the end of this year.
  • Corpus Christi will likely continue to recover from the recent economic downturn, holding up home demand.

Let’s talk about seasonal activity.

According to the Texas A & M Corpus Christi South Texas Economic Development Center Corpus Christi employment and unemployment reflect remarkable seasonal fluctuations. This to me, is no surprise given the tourist attractiveness of the city. In this article, Jim Lee covers the seasonal variations in unemployment not only from tourism, but also other cyclical activities which greatly effect South Texas, like harvest seasons and how this effects the agricultural sector, as well as government job and hiring patterns and their contribution to seasonal fluctuations. The graph below shows the Corpus Christi MSA unemployment rates, both the original and then in blue the seasonally adjusted rates.

“The level of farm employment indeed shows considerable seasonal variations. For the United States as a whole, the peak months for farm employment are March and September. Another regular seasonally pattern occurs in retail sales, which tend to peak during the holiday season in November and December 2017.” For Corpus, “employment typically peaks in April, and dips the most in January with New Year holidays.”

To explain the dips in the latter summer months, Lee attributes this to local government. He states, “compared to the average for the first half of the year, employment in the local government sector fell about 1,500 positions on average in July and about 1,200 position in August. This regular pattern was attributable to the summer break taken by some of those 2,500 local grade school teachers. The public sector typically recovered most of the jobs lost from those two summer months in the latter part of the year beginning in September.”

The bottom line, Corpus Christi will continue to be a strong housing market. There is inventory, homes continue to be affordable and the city is on the upward swing of recovery from the energy crisis. And, we now have the seasonal activity to look forward to. Bring on the summer.

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SOURCES:
http://stedc.tamucc.edu/files/Econ_Pulse_2017_1.pdf
https://stedc.atavist.com/housing-market-downswing

 

The state of Texas’ South Region

Texas is almost like a country in itself with 12 economic regions including: High Plains, West, Northwest, Metroplex, Upper East, Capital, Central, Southeast, Upper Rio Grande, Alamo, Gulf Coast and South.

Today I would like to take a look at what we Texans call “the Valley”, to look at our economy and job growth.

The much talked about border towns of Texas are growing, as is the opportunity for jobs. Texas’ South Region is comprised of the 28 counties covering the Gulf Cost and Mexico border and offers a “young, growing workforce”. According to the Texas Comptroller, “the South Region added more than 138,600 jobs from 2004 to 2014, led by Hidalgo County. Its 26 percent job growth accounted for 37 percent of the region’s net new jobs.”

Here is how South Texas ranked against Texas and the US on Job Growth.

Job growth 2004 – 2014
South Texas – 20.1%
Texas – 21.7%
U.S. – 5.5%

In the Texas Comptroller’s Regional Snapshot, they conclude that “The South Region is one of Texas’ fastest growing and most diverse. It overlies a portion of the Eagle Ford Shale that has helped fuel the state’s energy resurgence. It also serves as a hub for shipping, farming and manufacturing. Meanwhile, tourists flock to shoreline destinations such as Corpus Christi and South Padre Island.

The region offers a dynamic workforce. Both birth and graduation rates top state averages. It has also added jobs at a faster rate than Texas as a whole, though wages lag significantly behind the state average. Rapid growth, coupled with drought conditions, has strained the region’s water supplies.

Thriving cities, agriculture and mining helped drive Texas’ largest consumption increase over the past decade. In all, the region offers much promise. It will remain relatively young and culturally dynamic  while supporting some of Texas’  key industries.”

Here is the rest of the story from the Comptroller.

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SOURCES:
http://stedc.tamucc.edu/rei/
https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/economy/docs/regions/region-10.pdf
http://eaglefordshale.com/

Slow and steady growth for the Texas economy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

For more insights into the economy and how this will affect your business, please subscribe to my updates.

SOURCE:
https://www.dallasfed.org/research/econdata/metro9tab.aspx
https://youtu.be/IaoHg499HEg
http://www.mystatesman.com/business/economists-texas-economy-pick-2017-but-modestly/PY8GfgB4e0hndibj1oOK8J/?ref=cbTopWidget

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