Growing Pains - August 2016
Monday, August 08, 2016
Written By: Shavonne Martin
A few weeks ago, WCREALTORS held a mid-year economic update. One of the guest speakers was Dr. Jim Gaines of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M who talked at length during the presentation about the growing pains associated with the unparalleled growth Williamson County has been experiencing and will continue to experience over the next 40 years.
The biggest “housing issue” facing Williamson County is affordability. According to Dr. Gaines, households making between 80 – 120% of the median household income ($71,200 – $106,800) are being priced out of home ownership. The median home price in Williamson County is $265,000. That is far from obtainable for the average resident of the Austin-Round Rock MSA who is only making $63,600 annually. The Association’s Affordable Housing Task Force is currently researching various affordable housing opportunities. Visit www.wcrealtors.org for more information about the affordable housing push in Williamson County.
The good news is while Williamson County is seeing an increase in home prices, we are still $27,000 less expensive than the entire Austin-Round Rock MSA Region as a whole; in addition, home prices are $42/sqft less than the MSA as a whole. This means that homes in Williamson County cost almost 10% less and are 5.5% larger than the region as a whole. That is a huge plus!
The increased home prices has led to some financing issues. With home prices increasing, potential homebuyers are struggling to come up with the down payment for their homes. A three percent down payment on a $265,000 home is a whopping $7,950.
When potential clients are not able to purchase a home, they turn to renting. With more and more people turning to renting, apartments are seeing some of the highest occupancy rates. This has led to an increase in rental rates across Williamson County. When rental rates rise as quickly as they have been, it makes saving for a new home unfeasible.
Another question to consider is development and new construction. The current inventory is dangerously low, with just less than two months of inventory available across the county, what will more than tripling the population of Williamson County do to the housing market? First off, without new construction and development, there will be nowhere for the newest residents to live. Without the cities and the county working with the residents to increase the infrastructure, we can expect LA style traffic.
The good news is there are over 150 new home communities in some stage of construction with over 20 builders being represented in Williamson County. There are many parts of the county that are still very rural and have room for growth. The homes in these areas are priced well under $200,000; even the new homes.
With the population of Williamson County expected to increase 368% over the next 40 years and the total resident count teetering around 2,000,000, infrastructure is another growing pain Williamson County is starting to experience. Will we have the roads to transport these vehicles? What about the impact on our air quality? Where will the children attend school? Will the utilities be able to handle over 1.5 million more residents? These are just some of the questions the elected officials in Williamson County need to address to guarantee that our newest residents are taken care of.
Hopefully you’ve updated your REALTOR.com, TexasRealEstate.com, and other various REALTOR profiles, because there is about to be a HUGE surge of folks relocating to Williamson County. As a member of WCREALTORS, your brokerage is already listed on WCLife.org for potential new residents to contact you to sell them their new home! Members of the Association get special pricing to advertise their services on the website! Page views are already up over 63% since May of this year! Contact the Association at 512.255.6211 for more information about this amazing opportunity.
Change and growth is scary for many people and brings with it a lot of challenges. It is up to you as a REALTOR® and a leader of this community to make sure that your voice is heard! As a REALTOR® you have the benefit of TREPAC advocating on your behalf. Get involved – Invest in TREPAC – get to know your elected officials – and make sure you VOTE in each and every election! You have the power to help shape the future of Williamson County!
About the Author:Shavonne Martin currently served as the 2016 President of WCREALTORS. Since 2008 Shavonne has been very active at Williamson County Association of REALTORS®. As soon as her membership was active she served on the Community Service and Scholarship Committees. Shavonne was the Chairman for the Marketing and PR Committee in 2010. In 2011 Shavonne served as the Chairman of Community Service, and was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for WCREALTORS in 2012. One year later, in 2013 Shavonne was installed on the Executive Committee as Treasurer and also serving as Chairman of the Finance Committee.