A recent article in the Austin American Statesman stated that the unemployment rate in May for the Austin Metro Area was 4.2% down from 4.6% in April.  Anything below 5% is great so this is really great!  Of course, it was really, really great in May, 2019 when the unemployment rate was only 2.4%, but we will get there again.  It seems a long time ago when area unemployment rate is 11.8% at its highest.

Ray Perryman, an economist based in Waco stated that he wasn’t surprised by the rapid comeback.  Perryman said one factor helping Austin’s recovery is that the pandemic brought some changes that he considers beneficial to our region. “First, the demand for technology products persisted during the pandemic, as they permitted us to do things in remote ways, entertain ourselves and otherwise cope with the situation,” he said. “Second, the crisis shined a light on a lot of issues that technology will need to resolve, thus spurring innovation and investment.”  He went on to state that additionally the pandemic brought to the forefront the value of residing in a “livable” community, of which the Austin area is consider to be one because the area is conducive to working and learning remotely, and has good health care services.  These factors according to Perryman will help Austin now and into the future to continue with long-term growth.

According to the article, Austin continued to attract businesses and jobs in spite of the pandemic.

On a personal note, I see “Help Wanted” signs in the window of just about every restaurant and retailer I pass.  Getting a restaurant table is like winning the lottery if the place doesn’t take reservations.  A 45 – 60 minute is now becoming the new norm at restaurants.

And what about real estate?  The area has a housing shortage and prices continue to climb rapidly as do rents.  Did you hear that there is a lumber shortage?  That alone is causing housing construction prices to climb and finding dirt for the house to sit on is not easy.

So, if you own a residential rental is now a good time to sell?  Probably not as it looks like real estate values will continue to rise and rents too.  However, it may be a good time to enjoy the proceeds without selling by restructuring the mortgage and pulling cash out – all tax free.  And it still looks good for purchasing a residential rental as the renters will help you with that mortgage payment and so will Uncle Sam by allowing you to depreciate your holdings.  As always, check with your financial advisors before making any investment decisions.