Yesterday afternoon, I had the honor of participating in a housing forum hosted by the Hill Country Builders Association. Overall, I had very good news to share about housing activity—sales and new builds—throughout the Highland Lakes region. Highlights include nearly 1,200 homes and 450 lots sold in Burnet and Llano Counties in 2015, as well as 550 permits pulled for new residential construction.
In short, we live in a growing and desirable area. Municipalities throughout the region are enjoying new construction and additions to their ad valorem tax rolls. By and large, our individual and collective economies are flourishing in steady, manageable ways.
One escalating area of concern, however, is affordability. In the city of Marble Falls, the average value of a new home permitted in 2014 was just over $202,000; in 2015, that number was just over $409,000. According to Trulia.com, the 178 homes on the market in Marble Falls had an average list price of $488,786 for the week ending January 13th. While these trends bode well for affluent retirees and professionals, it poses some very real challenges to the dominant sectors of our workforce—namely those with retail and service occupations. In order for us to have sustainable success, we have to find ways to close the socioeconomic gaps in our areas and provide a broader diversity of housing products to those who are already in our market and those who would like to be here.
Here is a link to my full presentation. If you’ve got ideas about how to contribute to smart growth in the region and mitigate some of its affordability and sustainability challenges, let’s visit.