Residential real estate in Texas and other central states, which never rose too high or fell too far, is now benefiting from the region’s hot economy.
In some of the states, you could even say residential real estate is a well-oiled machine — energy production in the central U.S. has helped bolster the region, as seen in the states’ low jobless rates.
“The middle of the country, the spine, has done much better than the two coasts,” says Jim Gaines, a research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “A common thread is energy, from Texas to the Dakotas — there has been a real boom time due to the exploration and drilling activity.”
People in the region, simply, are working.
Nebraska and the Dakotas were the only three states with average 2011 unemployment rates under 5 percent; Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma were all at least a full percentage point below the national average of 8.9 percent.
In Texas, here’s how that translates into housing prices. Each of the state’s major metro areas — Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio — saw minimal declines in the bust and are essentially fully recovered.
Each metro area has its own economic strengths that build on energy’s support, whether it is high-tech and government in Austin or tourism and the military in San Antonio.
“The ability of all markets in Texas to weather the national economic storm was due in significant part to the strength of the energy industry,” says Joe Stewart, an Austin broker who's also chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “However, more important than that is the diversity of the Texas economy, which has helped drive job growth and demand for real estate.”
“Technology companies like Samsung are expanding in Austin, car manufacturers are bolstering the San Antonio market, and there are many other examples, most of which have been helped by incentives offered from Texas cities,” he says.