Let me count the ways…
Austin’s economy is highly resilient, even during nationwide economic crises. For example, in the 2008 Great Recession, Austin’s home prices stayed flat, while most other cities experienced massive crashes and home price drops. A few theories arose as to why the Texas economy fared better in the 2008 recession:
One: Texas got a late start in the recession. This is because 2008 was a period of high-energy prices and Texas saw a pretty significant energy boom as well.
Two: the high-tech industry provided a bit of a buffer. When energy prices finally did fall as the recession picked up steam, Texas’ economy declined slower than the national average, and then bounced back faster.
Three: some theorize it was because many banks and lenders held strong onto their conservative and un-exotic lending practices.
Four: others also attribute it to a lowered cost of land and utilities throughout Texas, thus holding down the cost of living. Regardless, Austin and the rest of Texas fared well.
Austin attracts startup and tech companies, driving the local economy. It remains more affordable than the tech-driven markets on the coasts. For many companies, the Texas capitol has just what they need: a skilled technology workforce and a comparatively lower cost of living. Also, Austin has one of the lowest unemployment rates nationwide at just 2.6%!
If you look at other progressive cities, Austin is definitely on the cheaper side of the spectrum. The average home cost in Austin is in the mid $200s, whereas in the similar cities mentioned above, the average costs can be in the $500s.
Also, Austinites create a “chill” community. Most don’t drive flashy cars or wear expensive suits and stilettoes. We are active socially and physically, and there is a very comfortable and low-key vibe. This can be a relief for those escaping the flashy lifestyle of say, Silicon Valley. Some Austinites rip on people moving from California because of that stigma but many are moving to get away from that lifestyle. I don’t believe this new surge in West Coasters will change Austin. It simply means more people want to adapt to this lifestyle. Fingers crossed.