The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University has released its January 2018 outlook for the Texas economy, with major factors robust, including those involved with residential real estate.
Housing sales across the state expanded, despite “shortages of homes priced under $300,000,” which is making entry level and starter home purchases potentially more difficult for many buyers. Residential construction activity held steady. And the Residential Construction Leading Index reached its highest level since April 2017, with increased weighted building permits and housing starts. The report stated that this signaled residential construction activity improvements through the end of 2018.
Rebuilding efforts around the Texas Gulf Coast contributed to 8,200 new construction industry jobs statewide, which pushed annualized growth upwards to seven percent, which was triple the national rate. Although residential construction levels were stable, the total value of Texas construction ticked downward following the recent completion of large projects, including hospitals and schools.
Other factors of the Texas economy also experienced positive gains. Statewide unemployment reached a record low 3.8 percent and is expected to decline further because unemployment insurance claims simultaneously reached their lowest levels in more than 30 years. Unemployment in Austin was under three percent for the third consecutive month.
The Dallas Fed’s Business-Cycle Index, which measures economic activity in the state, grew by six percent for quarterly annualized growth to reach its highest level since 2014. Austin led Texas’ urban triangle with 8.7 percent quarterly annualized growth. Austin also reached year to date growth for jobs to 23,000 jobs, following the addition of 7,000 jobs for the second time in three months.
The report was created by Luis Torres, Wesley Miller, and Bailey Cuadra.