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


© Reuters. The brand new Tesla manufacturing unit is seen in Austin, Texas, U.S. October 8, 2021. REUTERS/Tina Bellon


By Tina Bellon

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

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

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

“I am actually blissful for all the roles this can 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 value for a home round $549,000 in September, in keeping with actual property brokerage Redfin (NASDAQ:).

Frequent experiences of out-of-state patrons, significantly Californians, buying homes in money at double the asking value have pissed off many Austinites. Over the summer time, almost three in each 4 homes offered within the metropolis went for above the asking value, Redfin information confirmed.

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

“All these Californians coming right here can also be altering the tradition, and I am anxious it can grow to be 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.

Town’s unofficial motto – “Hold 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 sights.

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

Austin Mayor Steve Adler welcomed Tesla’s choice and mentioned the corporate suits proper in with Austin’s sturdy progressive, entrepreneurial and environmentally targeted tradition. His workplace didn’t reply to questions on housing affordability.

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

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

Town could consider transit choices to the plant, however it expects most of Tesla’s employees to drive to the plant, Austin Transportation Director Rob Spillar mentioned. Austin hopes a rise in housing, shops and medical clinics will appeal to employees to dwell near the plant, Spillar mentioned.

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

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

“All these employees will need to dwell someplace good, clear and inexpensive with their households,” mentioned Brandon Lengthy, a Roberts Communities gross sales supervisor on the native Oak Ranch website.

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