"Sorry, We're Closed" - An Open Letter to Austin's Growth Curmudgeons

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Austin Texas Homes, LLC 453249

"Austin Construction" by Michael CotéConstruction cranes are often an indicator of a city undergowing a growth spurt. Last weekend in downtown Austin, TWELVE construction cranes were visibly in use in the 11-block area between 12th Street and Cesar Chavez. 

 

As Austin continues its explosive growth pattern from the past couple of years, I still see an outpouring of vitriol from a vocal minority who seem unaware of what growth means for this area (or for any area, for that matter). Simply put, growth is the lifeblood of a city. Once a city ceases to grow, it starts to die. Just drive up Highway 183 toward Oklahoma. You'll pass through a dozen or so dying (or dead) small towns that were once thriving and lively whistle-stops. These little towns are the perfect example of what happens when a city stops growing. Austin has been an exceptionally bright spot in a strong Texas economy, which has been a shining beacon in an often lackluster national economy. Things here are good, and we should be thankful for that.

 

Recently, the Austin Business Journal released a poll asking readers if they'd rate traffic or affordability as Austin's biggest problem. Out came the curmudgeons in the comment section. One reader stated,

     "The cause of both problems, the traffic and affordability, is bringing more jobs and people to Austin. Will Austin ever have enough people? If people were leaving Austin, there would be less traffic and the homes would be more affordable. So, is it really an advantage to keep bringing thousands of jobs to Austin?"

It's understandable to be irritated when you have to sit in traffic for hours just to get where you're going, and yes, prices are indeed higher for homes, but these are some of the natural consequences of living in a boomtown. As the old saying goes, you can't have your cake and eat it too. The "cake" in this scenario is Austin itself; Austin is vibrant, attractive, economically thriving, and high-profile both in the film and music industry. When you live in such a great place and other people figure it out, they will naturally want to move there. It's a bit like a perpetual motion machine: More people move to Austin, which makes the economy grow, and economic growth brings more jobs and....more people. On a similar note, having great entertainment and music is what attracts publicity, and the publicity attracts more entertainers and musicians.

 

Yes, we all know that central Austin is expensive. Any desirable city is expensive, frankly. That's the law of supply and demand. The Austin area is not, however, completely unattainable. In fact, Austin Business Journal (the same publication that released the aforementioned poll asking about traffic vs affordability) published this article that states that Round Rock, a north Austin suburb, is America's best affordable city. If you want to move to Austin, but think you can't afford it, there are other options that are very close and pleasant. You can still get a decent home near Austin for $200K or so.

 

The problem with the "grumpy" outlook on Austin is that the people complaining about traffic seem to be the same ones voting down every new traffic relief proposal the city proposes. It's clear that making traffic awful and refusing to change anything about the city we all love is not going to stop people from moving in. This may sound a little harsh, but if you're unhappy with Austin's current upward trend, the only real solution is to move away or move farther out. So if you're interested in moving away from Austin, please give me a call, and I will be happy to help you sell your home. 

Thanks for reading!

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If you're looking for a home in the Austin area, you can also visit my primary website at www.austintexashomes.com.  Thanks!

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Ambassador
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Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
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When I lived in Portland OR - across the river from where I live now, we always joked at a former Governor's Public Tourism Message in 1971  "You're welcome to visit, just don't stay." 

Wow. :) 

Feb 04, 2015 03:11 AM #1
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Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Debb Janes - That seems to be the attitude for many here as well. I would much rather deal with some of the associated headaches from growth than to begin to stagnate.

Feb 04, 2015 03:47 AM #2
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Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I'm in the business and I share the opinion of the reader.  I wouldn't want my rural town to be more than it is.  I like stability.

Feb 04, 2015 08:23 AM #3
Rainmaker
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William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Sounds like there are a lot of good jobs to be had.  A very good sign

Feb 04, 2015 09:45 AM #4
Rainmaker
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Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Austin is an amazing place to live and work.  Keep improving it and you will still attract new residents and employees.  Nothing wrong with that!  I bet when that writer wants to sell his/her home they will be happy about the prices of homes.

Feb 04, 2015 10:52 AM #5
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Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Tammy Lankford - And that is understandable. If I were in a rural or small-town environment, I would probably feel the same way.

William Feela - Indeed. It's been a mecca for job hunters for many years now.

Evelyn Johnston - I agree on all points. I bet that particular reader will be astounded at his/her home price.

Feb 04, 2015 11:18 AM #6
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Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

We are experiencing the same thing here in The Woodlands Jason.  With growth comes the demands of ever-increasing infrastructure.  We need a major road to cut through to give us a strong east-west connect.  There are proponents who are saying this will be bad for the area.  Clearly they must just be staying home enjoying their homes.

Feb 06, 2015 03:08 AM #7
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Chuck Willman UtahHomes.me
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

"I hate that people like this place to much!" <-- the anti-growth cry.

I was in Austin recently Jason. I'm a former Texan who hasn't been back much... but my goodness- Texas is impressive. So much is going on- and it's great in my book. 

Yes- growth is good. To the anti-growth folks: take a visit to any declining population city, just once, and the reason should be obvious.

So good to be reading you again. I've been off AR way to long and am just now getting back into the swing of things.

Feb 10, 2015 03:19 AM #8
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