According to Forbes.com, the Austin-Round Rock area tied for first on a list of large metropolitan areas where the recession is easing.
The report listed Austin and Washington D.C. as the two top cities in terms of economic recovery. The report considered a number of factors including local economic output, job growth and real estate industry trends. While the national unemployment rate hovers at 9.7%, the comparable rate in Austin is 7.6% (up from 7% a month ago). Washington D.C. has a 6.2% unemployment rate.
According to Forbes, one thing that Austin and Washington D.C. have in common is a high rate of government job generation. The number of Central Texas jobs increased just shy of 1 percent between 2007 and 2009, more than any other city included in the research. Dallas came in second on the ranking behind Austin. The number of jobs there are expected to increase more than 7 percent in the next three years. San Antonio and Houston also made the top 10 list.
For anyone with a stake in downtown Austin real estate, future downtown home values will be driven by supply, access to lending, migration, and economic growth with job growth being a key factor. Supply for the next few years is highly predictable — it’s growing on the high end and flat in the low and middle price brackets. Access to mortgages remains constrained for conforming loans and highly constrained for jumbo loans. Migration is expected to remain strong. That leaves economic growth remains the biggest unknown.
While the economy is improving, cuts at large local employers or a dip in technology spending could dramatically change the local housing outlook. But so far, as Forbes notes, Austin is doing better than just about every other city in the country.