I just added two articles from today's Austin American-Statesman to www.AustinMarketInfo.com:
Not surprisingly, the first article points out the continuing uncertainty facing the national economy. With job losses still mounting and many more foreclosures on the horizon, home builders have been reluctant to commit to speculative construction projects. They gained some traction with last year's tax incentive for first-time home buyers, and presumably they will benefit this year from the extended and expanded tax credit program. On the other hand, one has to assume that when the new tax credit ends June 30, 2010 there will be a slow-down in what would normally be the industry's strongest selling season. As I have written many times in recent months, the solution is growth in private sector employment. That is the key to sustainable consumer confidence and spending, and big ticket purchases like homes and hard goods.
That's where Austin remains different. The second article points out, as I have a number of times, that the Central Texas employment picture began improving early last summer, and we continue to add employers and employees, and to see investments in the future of our community. Our growth is undoubtedly constrained by the difficulty selling homes in other parts of the country, keeping people and companies from moving here that might otherwise choose to do so. Nonetheless, "cautious optimism" remains a good bet in the Austin area.