Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Here in Dallas, are the streets paved with Gold?

I work in an industry that is inextricably linked to the economy. I work in commercial real estate, and we are an industry that see's growth right away, and an industry that feels the pinch right away as businesses both expand and contract.

My company is huge, and is a major player in the market, and we keep a close eye on the economic health of the small markets and nation as a whole. We have offices all over the country, as well as the globe. Recently,  at a conference I was seated near a gentleman that is on officer in one the professional organizations I belong to. His name was Stan, and one night during dinner, Stan and I had a really interesting chat. Stan travels the globe as a consultant, advisor, and industry advocate. This conference was filled with Commercial Real Estate Professionals from around the globe, and he had a chance to visit with many of them.

During our conversation, Stan said, "I have been to Dallas many times in the past few years, and I have to tell you, down there, the streets are paved with gold." I looked at him for a moment, and realized, in some ways he was correct. In general, Texas has weathered the recent recession well, particularly Dallas and Houston. As many cities across America were struggling, most cities in Texas were growing in both population and industry.

I say this in light of the recovering economy because we have not felt the effects of the recession down here. In many places, foreclosures were running rampant, people were looking for work, but here, nothing really changed. Most companies tightened their belts, and are doing more with fewer people, but we have come through the worst of it unscathed.

There are more than 300 families moving to the Dallas area every week. The housing market is HOT right now, and homes are being snatched up quickly. (Home prices rose 12% in one year) The rental market has a low inventory because of the influx of population, and those prices are starting to rise. There are new developments going up all over the city. I would say that on any given day, I meet at least 1 person who has lived in the area for less than 2 years, myself included.

I hate that I work in an industry that can grow and contract over night based upon policies of men and women in Washington. I have been thinking about it for a while, but I really want to pursue some side hustle work, and freelancing so that I can "write my own ticket." I want to ensure that in the next recession, no matter where I live, I can survive, and thrive.

I write this not to boast about my state, but to pose the question of, how is your city, county, or state doing? How are you faring now that the economy is starting to improve and show signs of life?  Given the recent recession, have you done anything to improve your personal economy? Have you had to tap into your emergency fund, or been able to save and increase it?


Holly @ Run With Holly said...

Before Singapore, I lived in Rochester, NY. Despite layoffs in "the big three" corporations that literally BUILT Rochester (Kodak, Bausch & Lomb, Xerox) - Rochester actually did better than average. It's building itself into a major medical hub, with some supporting up-and-coming companies. I'm no economist, but I think it's actually a pretty interesting study on how a city is "retooling".

Anyway. Now I live in Singapore. The economy is good, probably MORE than good. The housing market is crazy. I will never - EVER - complain about the housing prices anywhere in the US.

Personally, we've been pretty lucky. My husband kept his job, for which he is well compensated. The massive cuts in federal monies - including science funding - are pretty much bad news for me and my fellow, newly minted PhDs. But being in Singapore (and launching a small business) has saved me quite a bit.

Heather said...

It is interesting to hear how other parts of the country are doing. We live in Maine, and we all kind of joke that we are always in a bad economic state here. But, in a way, we are all much more self sufficient than other areas of the country. We have a lot of small farms, and a lot of people that hunt to provide for their families. It is just a slower pace up here, well mostly that is north of Portland :-) Our housing market is horrendous though. We have listed our house several times over the past few years and never get an offer, but I think it might just mean we are supposed to stay here :-)

Brooke said...

In my husband's niche of the real estate market, the downturn actually was a good thing for his business. rental cabin foreclosures meant prices slashed in half - and with the stock market down, investors were looking for a good place to park their money.
now that our market is starting to recover, things have actually slowed down for him.

Denise said...

I have never noticed any signs of recession beyond foreclosed houses in my neighborhood. Anytime I drive by restaurants they are always full same with the mall. Now, our economy is based upon a few big companies (microsoft and boeing for example) when they are doing good - it seems all is good.

we just keep plugging along :)