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

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AUSTIN, Texas, October 11 (Businesshala) – Austin prides itself on “keeping it weird,” but the city’s success in wooing more big companies like Tesla Inc. (TSLA.o) has kept some residents from opting out of its unique culture. cautioned. .

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Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, said on Thursday that the electric car maker will move its headquarters from Palo Alto, California to Austin, Texas.

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Housing prices in the Austin metro area have skyrocketed in recent years, with large tech firms including Apple Inc. (AAPL.O), Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL.O) Google and Oracle Corp. (ORCL.N) entering and around the city. New campuses have been built. .

“I’m really happy for all the jobs this will create, but my family is already unable to buy a house, and it will only get worse with Tesla,” said Trish Webb, 47, a South Austin resident. Was discharged from his job as administrative assistant of the hospital during lunch on Friday.

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According to real estate brokerage Redfin, the average prices of Austin homes have risen nearly 40% over the past two years, with the average price of a home in September being around $549,000.

Repeated reports of out-of-state buyers, especially Californians, buying homes in cash for twice the asking price have disappointed many Austinians. Data from Redfin shows that in the summer, nearly three out of every four homes sold in the city were priced higher than the asking price.

Even before Musk’s relocation was announced, the electric vehicle maker had planned to move some 10,000 workers to a grand new factory east of the city center. It is unclear how many corporate employees Tesla will relocate from California, or will be hiring in Texas.

“All these Californians who come here are also changing the culture, and I worry that it will become too much,” said 26-year-old Reed Thief, who moved from Houston to Austin several years ago and work in sales.

The city’s unofficial motto – “Keep Austin Weird” – has given rise to a quirky, bohemian cultural scene that has turned local music festivals such as Austin City Limits and South by Southwest into national attractions.

“It’s going to be hard to keep up when Austin gets bigger and bigger,” said Ryan Baker, 32, who works at a restaurant in East Austin.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler welcomed Tesla’s decision, saying the company fits in perfectly with Austin’s strong innovation, entrepreneurial and environmentally focused culture. His office did not respond to questions about housing affordability.

Austin’s rapid growth is expected to exacerbate the city’s congestion problem, with three out of four residents driving to work alone in their car.

While Austin is working to improve its public transportation network, Tesla’s factory is located in a transit desert.

Austin Transportation Director Rob Spiller said the city could evaluate transit options for the plant, but it expects the majority of Tesla employees to drive to the plant. Spiller said Austin expects increased housing, stores and medical clinics to attract workers to live closer to the plant.

Roberts Communities, a developer for affordable manufactured housing, is hoping to profit. The company bought large plots of land from the Tesla factory within minutes and sells the house for about $80,000.

Tesla factory workers will receive a median annual salary of $47,000, which is considered low by Travis County’s Health and Human Services Division.

“All those workers would like to be in a nice, clean and affordable place with their families,” said Brandon Long, sales manager for Roberts Communities at the local Oak Ranch site.

Reporting by Tina Bellone in Austin, Texas Editing by Joe White and Matthew Lewis

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