Just look at the metamorphosis of Austin’s skyline over the past 10 years, and you’ll see how much the city has changed. In that time, office skyscrapers, residential high-rises, and hotel towers have popped up all over downtown Austin.
Yet Austin’s skyline is merely one sign of the rapid transformation that the metro area has undergone since 2006. In fact, the MoneyMagnify website crunched the numbers and ranked Austin as the major U.S. metro area that’s changed the most in 10 years.
Texas’ three other major metro areas also make the list: Dallas-Fort Worth at No. 2, Houston at No. 3, and San Antonio at No. 8.
To create the ranking, MoneyMagnify examined nine change factors for the country’s 50 biggest metro areas:
- Commute times
- Employment growth
- Median income
- Home prices
- Recent moves by residents
- Median age
- Number of residential building permits issued
- Crime rate
For the Austin area, the biggest changes were a 54 percent rise in home prices since 2006 (No. 1 among the 50 metro areas); a 40 percent rate of job growth (No. 1); a 34 percent jump in median income (No. 3); and 60 percent of residents having moved since 2010 (No. 3).
“Relatively lower living costs than tech centers like the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle, along with a combination of satellite offices of larger tech companies, a burgeoning startup scene and no state income tax, all contribute to Austin’s change leadership,” says MagnifyMoney in the report.
The website says the lowest-ranked element of growth in Austin — residential building permits (No. 25 out of 50) — explains some of the significant appreciation in home prices in the past decade.
Highlights for Texas’ three other major metro areas include:
- Dallas-Fort Worth — No. 4 out of 50 for decline in crime rate; No. 5 for climb in home prices; and No. 19 for rent growth.
- Houston — No. 2 out of 50 for climb in home prices; No. 3 for growth in residential building permits; and No. 23 for decline in crime rate.
- San Antonio — No. 4 out of 50 for employment growth; No. 6 for climb in home prices; and No. 42 for decline in crime rate.
“Change isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing,” MagnifyMoney concludes. “Big growth in commute times and rents can be negative, but they can also be a function of positive developments like job and income growth. Similarly, places without as much change could be more attractive to people working their way up the salary ladder or those retirees on fixed incomes, offering more affordable housing and less congestion.”
By the way, according to MoneyMagnify, the U.S. metro areas that have changed the least in 10 years are Birmingham, Alabama (No. 50); Milwaukee (No. 49); New Orleans (No. 48); Buffalo, New York (No. 47); and Indianapolis (No. 46).