Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yep, It's Hot in Texas

Here is an interesting story from the AP....

Census: Texas Is the Hot Place to Live

Some quotes:

"Experts credit much of the growth in the South to relatively strong local economies and housing prices that are among the most affordable in the U.S."

"According to figures compiled by Eschbach, 16 percent of Americans who moved to other states between July 2006 and July 2007 came to Texas, which led the nation for the second straight year in that category."

The story further cites housing cost as the biggest factor stating that housing is "undervalued" in places like the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

What do y'all think? Why are people flocking to the south -- Texas in particular?


E. R. Dunhill said...

It's cheap to live there. A friend of the family recently moved from the DC area to SC. They had a small townhouse before they moved, and are moving into a 5-bedroom home. That's not an uncommon story.
I personally love the time I've spent in the South because of:
1. Pecan pie
2. Whiskies
3. Open space
4. Barbeque
5. Southern accents
6. Mud bugs
I could do without the fire ants, though.

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

ERD: We're fortunate in this part of Texas to escape the blessing of fire ants.

I wonder if folks would be moving here if there were no jobs? Is it the cart or the horse -- do the jobs draw the people or does the influx of people create the jobs?

I suspect the illegal immigrants aren't even in the numbers cited in the article -- or at least they are undercounted.

The energy and agricultural economies are doing well. Most of the population growth however is in areas that are more focused on technology.

There's lots of open space and inexpensive real estate in other areas -- e.g. Kansas, Nebraska, Kentucky, etc. Why aren't they booming?

As to open space -- I have a hard time relating Dallas, Houston, Austin or San Antonio with open space!

Steve Ballmer said...

I couldnt take it!

Pat Jenkins said...

ahh pp it because everything is bigger in texas don't ya know!!!

E. R. Dunhill said...

I know admittedly little about what is driving long-distance moves these days. If smaller scale patterns of living are any indicator, the trend may be largely about home prices (or the related issue of more house for the dollar). This sort of thinking has driven suburban sprawl all over the country. However, I've read a few articles about Austin's push to promote the industries that employ creative types (engineers, architects, designers, &c). Texas also has a number of great school systems (in part owing to a scheme similar to what I described in earlier discussions about common wealth; oil money for education).
And, as I think of it, I've also read that Savanna and Memphis have seen an influx of people who want urban character over cookie-cutter suburbia and the endless commuting associated with it. Baltimore isn’t exactly the South, but government and community groups have been trying to draw-in residents with similar thinking.
As a proponent of community, I dream that all of this moving is about a mass-realization that suburban anonymity and all of that driving are an appallingly high price to pay for more grass to mow and an extra bedroom that nobody uses.

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

ERD: The "oil money for education" that you mention is used only for capital improvements (buildings) at state universities (i.e. Texas A&M and University of Texas systems).

When it comes to suburban sprawl Texas does it in a big way. Some of the best ranch land in the state has been lost to housing in Central and North Texas.

I believe, like one of our Senators, John Cornyn, that it is due to a pro-business climate that is creating jobs through new industry (see this article). There is a strong entrepreneurial spirit in the state that is attracting capital. We (the state) have committed to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar and we also continue to benefit from the oil and natural gas industries.

The growth is occurring in virtually every part of the state. That makes me think there is something that we offer that is attractive -- such as no state income tax.

E. R. Dunhill said...

Money from the lease and sale of off-shore mineral rights are the basis of the Texas Permanent School Fund, which in turn provides funds for K-12 public education.

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

ERD: I stand corrected. The university building fund is only one of the places that the PSF provides funding. There is also an annual transfer to the ASF (available school fund) which is then allocated to school districts based on average daily attendance and a third component by which it guarantees bond issues by school districts for capital improvements. It has been around since 1854 when it was established with $2 million. It now contains assets valued at over $25 Billion and in 2007 provided over $843 million in funding to education.

Sue said...

It would appear that not only is it hot in Texas, but its getting hotter faster! See US West Warming Faster Than Rest Of World, originally from Reuters, March 31, 2008

E. R. Dunhill said...

Thank you for this. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but readers may also be interested in the NRDC study that is the basis for the article you provided.