By Kevin Scanlan, 2019 President

Austin is still the place people want to move to. It’s no secret Austin’s metropolitan statistical area (MSA) has been growing rapidly over the past decade, and that growth has not stopped. Our MSA has grown by an average of more than 150 people a day since 2010 (that’s about 55,500 people annually and 440,000 people since 2010, if you’re doing the math), according to a recent analysis by the Austin Chamber of Commerce. The report showed that net migration accounted for 12.9 percent of Austin’s 2017 population, which is a larger market share than any other top 50 metro in the country.

This growth makes sense. For decades, Austin’s had the perfect combination of factors that make the city a desirable place to live: sunshine and access to green spaces, an awesome nightlife, a friendly culture and strong job growth. The city’s perks — ranging to its low crime rate to access to incredible hospitals and schools — has been a draw for millennials, families and retirees alike. But now that Austin has cemented its reputation for being a prime spot for business, supporting both startups and established tech companies (Facebook, Google, Apple, to name a few), it’s inevitable that our region’s stream of newcomers will continue.

But where are all of these people coming from? The Chamber’s analysis reveals that over half of the relocation to the Austin and Round Rock MSA was from other Texas metros: Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio. This was echoed in Texas REALTORS®’ Texas Relocation Report released last month, which ranked Texas No. 2 in the nation for relocation activity. At the county level, the Texas Relocation Report shows strong outflow of residents from Travis County into surrounding counties (particularly Williamson County) as Austin homebuyers look outward for access to more affordably priced housing and a greater selection of inventory.

What does this mean for REALTORS?

One, it’s important that we recognize our client base is changing — fast. The growing influx of residents from other states and countries means that Austin REALTORS must broaden their knowledge on homebuyer needs, challenges, and cultural backgrounds to best serve our increasingly diverse client base.
Second, despite favorable economic conditions in and around Austin, we can’t rest on our laurels and allow housing affordability to reach crisis levels on our watch. As learned from experience through Austin’s archaic land development code, rapid growth without strategic and proactive planning by local leaders can do more harm than good and, over time, detrimentally impact the long-term sustainability of our communities.

It’s important that we as REALTORS speak up and show up for what makes Austin a great place to live, raise a family and do business.
(Hint… this is where you come in!)

Here are three ways you can take action in the next month:

First, join us for REALTOR Day at the Capitol on March 26. Meet directly with state lawmakers alongside thousands of Texas REALTORS as we discuss industry issues such as property taxes and school finance reform. You can register at ABoR.com/RealtorDay.

Second, expand your knowledge base with a new course or designation from the ABoR Academy. We offer hundreds of courses each year, many of which are targeted around diversity, homebuyer and seller representation, and specific topics such as leasing and global real estate. Register for a course at ABoR.com/Calendar.

Thirdly, join us for our next Global Lunch and Learn event on March 22. The next session in this year-long series, “Moving to America: Auctions & Currency Exchange 101,” will explore the growing role of real estate auctions in the United States and how international homebuyers often expect them. Get your seat at ABoR.com/GoGlobal.

As always, you can reach out to me and the ABoR Board of Directors anytime at board@abor.com or join us in a dialogue on our ABoR Engage Portal at ABoR.com/Engage. I look forward to hearing from you! RL