Austin in 2015

Austin economist reveals top concerns for 2015

Austin economist reveals top concerns for 2015

Austin skyline city buildings
Angelos Angelou discusses Austin's economic future. Kumar Appaiah/Flickr

KVUE — For 30 years, local business owners have paid to hear the guru of Austin economics forecast what we can expect in the coming year in our city. January 8, 2015 is expected to be the last time Angelos Angelou, founder of Angelou Economics will present his economic forecast in a public setting.

Angelou's main concerns for Austin's long-term future are water, affordability and traffic.

Recent research on the latter done by Angelou Economics shows commute times in Austin have gone up 57 percent in a little more than a decade.

"In 2000, we were commuting 400,000 hours. Now it's 640,000," said Angelou, who thinks a long-term solution to Austin's traffic nightmares is to build a subway system. "I think we need to be looking at a subway and metro, not light rail so you can get from one place to another very quickly," added Angelou.

The economist disputes that Austin is in a housing bubble. "We're not building more product than the market is demanding. In fact we are under-supplied and that's why prices are increasing."

However, the news is not expected to be as positive for Austin renters in 2015. Angelou's research suggests 41 percent of Austin renters will continue paying more than 35 percent of their annual salaries on rent.

As far as population growth, Austin is expected to see the same rate as we did in 2014, about 65,000 people. The unemployment rate is expected to stay below 4 percent.

Angelou is predicting that the country, Texas and Austin will start to see an economic slow down in 2016. "The slow down is a result of a lot of uncertainty in the price of oil in Europe, China, so that is certainly going to impact the growth of the U.S. economy as well as Texas and Austin to some extent," added Angelou.

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