September 25th, 2007 10:23 PM by Heather Brown
In Austin, Texas, the rental market takes a back seat to buyers, many of whom hold high paying jobs with tech giants like Dell, IBM, Cisco, Broadcom and Freescale Semiconductors. Austin's population is extremely well educated! 40 percent have a university degree and the Texas capital ranks among the top major metropolitan areas for business startups per capita. Austin also has the highest percent age of residents in the coveted 25-35 year old demographic and, not coincidentally, the highest concentration of live music venues in the country. The labor market is so hot that shortages of engineers and product managers are driving double-digit wage hikes in those occupations.
But unlike other creative class capitals, Austin doesn't price white-collar talent out of the housing market. At $200,000, the median sales price for a single-family home is about a third of that in San Francisco. But is the gap starting to close? While home prices in San Francisco have barely budged since the marked peaked in 2005, prices in Austin have risen by a minimum of 6 percent (I've seen as much as 24% in some areas). That has prompted major builders to lay groundwork for some of the largest new master planned communities in the country. At the very time that competitors are fleeing other Sun Belt metros. It's a great time to buy real estate in Austin!
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