Austin residents worry Tesla relocation to Texas could price them out of housing


Austin prides itself on “keeping it weird,” however the metropolis’s success at luring extra large firms reminiscent of Tesla has some residents cautious of getting priced out of their distinctive tradition.

Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, stated on Thursday the electric-car maker will transfer its headquarters from Palo Alto, Calif., to Austin, Texas.

Housing costs within the Austin metro space have skyrocketed in recent times, with massive tech companies together with Apple, Google and Oracle constructing new campuses in and across the metropolis.

“I’m really happy for all the jobs this will create, but my family is already unable to buy a house right now, and it will only get worse with Tesla,” Trish Webb, 47, a resident of South Austin, stated on Friday whereas on her lunch break from her job as a hospital administrative assistant.

Median costs for Austin homes have risen some 40 p.c during the last two years, with the median price for a home round $549,000 in September, in accordance to actual property brokerage Redfin.

Many Texans say they’re grateful for the brand new jobs Tesla will carry — thanks to the Tesla headquarters relocation and the manufacturing unit, seen right here — however they worry about housing prices.

Frequent reviews of out-of-state patrons, notably Californians, buying homes in money at double the asking price have annoyed many Austinites. Over the summer time, almost three in each 4 homes offered within the metropolis went for above the asking price, Redfin knowledge confirmed.

Even earlier than Musk’s relocation announcement, the electric-vehicle maker deliberate to carry some 10,000 staff to an imposing new manufacturing unit east of the town heart. It is unclear what number of company staff Tesla will relocate from California, or hire in Texas.

“All these Californians coming here is also changing the culture, and I’m worried it will become too much,” stated Reed Chorry, 26, who moved to Austin from Houston a number of years in the past and works in gross sales.

Austin’s mayor says that Tesla’s tradition will match effectively within the capital metropolis.
AFP through Getty Images

The metropolis’s unofficial motto — “Keep Austin Weird” — has given rise to a unusual, bohemian cultural scene that has turned native music festivals like Austin City Limits and South by Southwest into nationwide sights.

“It will be hard to keep that up when Austin becomes bigger and bigger,” stated Ryan Baker, 32, who works at a restaurant in East Austin.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler welcomed Tesla’s determination and stated the company suits proper in with Austin’s robust progressive, entrepreneurial and environmentally targeted tradition. His office didn’t reply to questions on housing affordability.

Austin’s speedy development can be anticipated to exacerbate the town’s congestion issues, with three out of 4 residents driving to work alone of their automotive.

Real property developer Roberts Communities has purchased plots of land for housing in Austin.

While Austin is working to enhance its public transit community, Tesla’s manufacturing unit is positioned in a transit desert.

The metropolis could consider transit choices to the plant, however it expects most of Tesla’s staff to drive to the plant, Austin Transportation Director Rob Spillar stated. Austin hopes a rise in housing, shops and medical clinics will entice staff to dwell shut to the plant, Spillar stated.

Roberts Communities, a developer for reasonably priced manufactured housing, is hoping to profit. The company has purchased massive plots of land simply minutes from the Tesla manufacturing unit and sells homes at round $80,000.

Tesla manufacturing unit staff will obtain a median annual wage of $47,000, an revenue thought of low by Travis County’s well being and human companies division.

“All those workers will want to live somewhere nice, clean and affordable with their families,” stated Brandon Long, a Roberts Communities gross sales supervisor on the native Oak Ranch web site.