We’ve all heard that everything is bigger in Texas. Now, everything also seems to be cheaper, which has caused a housing boom over recent years, as Americans seeking jobs and a low cost of living are relocating to the Lone Star state. In fact, more Americans moved to Texas over the last few years than to any other state, a gain of more than 387,000, according to the 2013 Census.
The state’s capital, Austin, was the fastest growing major city. In fact, some say the real estate market in Austin is toohot. According to real estate company Trulia’s Bubble Watch Report for 2014’s third quarter, Austin is listed as the most overvalued city in the nation. The report went say houses in Austin are the most overvalued in the United States, at 19% higher than they should be.
The cause for the recent boom? Jobs, with a low cost of living and affordable housing coming in a very close second. Texas and other heartland states have two major advantages in terms of affordable housing: lax regulations that make it easier for developers to build quickly, and plenty of cheap land surrounding metropolitan areas that allows them to do so.
Last year, nine out of the 10 fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States offered homes that were more affordable than national average, according to Redfin. Though many were in Texas, other states such as Utah and Oklahoma also offered affordable housing options, in addition to in-demand jobs.
Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio were all among the top 20 fastest growing metropolitan areas. Some smaller metropolitan areas in the state, such as oil-rich Odessa and nearby Midland, are growing even faster, with population increases of at least 3%.
“In general, growth is good for any city, it keeps the local economy strong.,” says Priscilla Allen, REALTOR®, Allen Realty Group with RE/MAX Associates. “Growth can also create a sellers market where there are more buyers than homes to be purchased, and it usually does bring higher home prices. But, Texas has a very favorable cost of living and people moving into the state will see the benefits of affordability and a dynamic economy.”
Affordable housing isn’t the only thing Austin has to offer. The unemployment rate in the city is only 4.6%, and there are plenty of jobs to go around. Austin’s population grew by 2.6% in just one year, between 2012 and 2013, nearly four times faster than the United States as a whole. Job growth is expected to average at nearly 4% a year through 2015, according to Moody’s Analytics.
Not only are jobs plentiful in Austin, but they are also high paying. At $75,000, the median income is nearly 20% higher than the national average. While the median home price of $243,000 is also higher than the national average, jobs in Austin provide an income that makes this affordable.