Austin cheers Tesla’s headquarters move, but local home buyers left on edge

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AUSTIN, Texas, Oct 11 (Reuters) – Austin prides itself on “holding it bizarre,” however the metropolis’s success at luring extra large firms similar to Tesla Inc has some residents cautious of getting priced out of their distinctive tradition.

Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, mentioned on Thursday the electrical automobile maker will from Palo Alto, California, to Austin, Texas.

Housing costs within the Austin metro space have skyrocketed in recent times, with massive tech corporations together with Apple Inc , Alphabet Inc’s Google and Oracle Corp constructing new campuses in and across the metropolis.

“I am actually completely satisfied for all the roles this may create, however my household is already unable to purchase a home proper now, and it’ll solely worsen with Tesla,” Trish Webb, 47, a resident of South Austin, mentioned on Friday whereas on her lunch break from her job as a hospital administrative assistant.

Median costs for Austin homes have risen some 40% over the past two years, with the median worth for a home round $549,000 in September, based on actual property brokerage Redfin.

Frequent stories of out-of-state patrons, significantly Californians, buying homes in money at double the asking worth have pissed off many Austinites. Over the summer time, practically three in each 4 homes bought within the metropolis went for above the asking worth, Redfin knowledge confirmed.

Even earlier than Musk’s relocation announcement, the electrical car maker deliberate to deliver some 10,000 staff to an imposing new manufacturing facility east of the town middle. It’s unclear what number of company staff Tesla will relocate from California, or rent in Texas.

“All these Californians coming right here can be altering the tradition, and I am fearful it would turn into an excessive amount of,” mentioned Reed Chorry, 26, who moved to Austin from Houston a number of years in the past and works in gross sales.

The town’s unofficial motto – “Maintain Austin Bizarre” – has given rise to a unusual, bohemian cultural scene that has turned native music festivals like Austin Metropolis Limits and South by Southwest into nationwide points of interest.

“It is going to be onerous to maintain that up when Austin turns into greater and larger,” mentioned Ryan Baker, 32, who works at a restaurant in East Austin.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler welcomed Tesla’s resolution and mentioned the corporate matches proper in with Austin’s robust revolutionary, entrepreneurial and environmentally targeted tradition. His workplace didn’t reply to questions on housing affordability.

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

Whereas Austin is working to enhance its public transit community, Tesla’s manufacturing facility is situated in a transit desert.

The town might consider transit choices to the plant, nevertheless it expects most of Tesla’s staff to drive to the plant, Austin Transportation Director Rob Spillar mentioned. Austin hopes a rise in housing, shops and medical clinics will appeal to staff to stay near the plant, Spillar mentioned.

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

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

“All these staff will wish to stay someplace good, clear and inexpensive with their households,” mentioned Brandon Lengthy, a Roberts Communities gross sales supervisor on the native Oak Ranch web site.

Reporting by Tina Bellon in Austin, Texas
Enhancing by Joe White and Matthew Lewis


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