Skilled laborers spread thin in Austin

AUSTIN – In the past six years the number of Austin building permits has increased more than 25 percent, according to city data.

During the same timeframe, the number of construction workers increased by more than 27 percent in the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Despite an increase in the number of overall workers, many construction sites are understaffed, namely with skilled laborers who must have specific certifications or licensing before they can perform work.

Dead time is a concern for developers and business owners alike.

The increased time to find workers not only can set a project back by months—it also affects businesses’ bottom lines because they have to pay more to obtain workers.

 

Read the full article at Community Impact Newspaper

Texas adds $9 billion to highway projects

​HOUSTON (Houston Chronicle) – A massive revision of state highway plans adds nearly $9 billion in new funds for improving Texas roadways, including a $1.32 billion major overhaul of I-45 in Houston and nine other area projects.

Projects along SH 36 in Fort Bend and Brazoria counties and SH 105 in Montgomery and ​San Jacinto Counties were also included in the unified transportation plan approved Tuesday by the Texas Transportation Commission.

​Construction will start in late 2020 on the first of seven separate projects that will realign I-45 along downtown’s eastern side, ​​parallel to I-69, also known as US 59.

Combined, the two interchanges are expected to cost nearly $1.7 billion, more than half the full cost of remaking I-45 around downtown.​

Change and Challenges

East Austin’s Affordable Housing Problem

The rapidly rising price of single-family homes in East Austin has left homeownership out of reach for its existing low-income population. From 2011 to 2015, growth rates of home sales prices in East Austin were two to four times that of Travis County and the Austin-Round Rock MSA.

While rooted in single-family housing, lack of affordability is also deepening in East Austin’s apartment sector. The widening divide between housing costs and household income has spelled disaster for East Austin’s affordability and forced many of its residents to relocate farther from downtown.

The effect of explosive job and population growth on East Austin’s single-family housing market was outlined in “East Side Story” (Center publication 2139). This article delves deeper into the area’s overall housing affordability challenges and how they will impact East Austin’s demographics, issues that more and more Texas cities will face.

 

Article from the Real Estate Center