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Texas Housing and Economic Outlook

published on December 18, 2019

Home foreclosure rates in Texas dropped to just 0.6 percent in the most recent reporting, according to statistics in the Outlook for the Texas Economy by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. This percentage is around a level that has not been seen since before the oil bust of the 1980s and corroborates Texas’ overall robust economy. Nationally, the foreclosure rate dropped to less than 0.9 percent.

Additionally, the Residential Construction Lending Index, which is based on the pace of new Texas building permits, rose to its highest level since the Great Recession in October. Current activity, which is recorded in the Residential Construction Cycle (Coincident) Index, also increased. Low mortgage interest rates helped Texas housing sales, which increased 2.8 percent.

In the overall economy, the Texas unemployment rate was 3.4 percent, stable for the fifth consecutive month. Austin was lowest among the metropolitan areas, with 2.6 percent unemployment. Dallas held steady at 3.1 percent, while Houston held steady at 3.6 percent. Fort Worth and San Antonio ticked up following record-low months to 3.2 percent and three percent, respectively. The labor force for Texas also increased, as 80,700 Texans have entered the labor market since August 2019. The state has reached a 63.8 percent labor participation rate.

In the service-providing sector, 32,700 Texas positions were added in October 2019, in addition to an 8,000-job upward revision from September. Nonfarm employment added 30,100 jobs. San Antonio added 10,000 jobs in October for its largest job growth in its history. Half the job growth was from leisure/hospitality and professional/business services, which also helped Austin and Houston increase employment positions. Austin added 6,500 jobs, and Houston added 8,000 jobs. For the state, retail trade employment is flat year to date.

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