The Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce held its annual economic forecast luncheon Jan. 16, during which guest speakers covered topics ranging from real estate valuations to the influx of new students into the area.
Lake Travis ISD Superintendent Brad Lancaster discussed several topics pertaining to the district during the luncheon, most notably projected student growth for the area.
Though western Travis County is still growing in population, new student growth trends are not as robust as they have been in the past two decades, Lancaster said.
“We had an unusual slowdown in our growth,” he said. “We have had 500-600 students a year new to our district, or 5 to 6 percent growth over the last 20 years. We have not had less than 4.5 percent growth in 20 or 25 years. This last year we only saw about 3 percent growth.”
That amounts to projections for the school year being about 300 students off from initial projections, he said, adding that an increase in property values have seemingly slowed the influx of younger families with school-age children to the district.
Because of this slowdown, demographers for LTISD are predicting over the next 10 years, between now and 2028, the district will add about 4,100 students representing a roughly 40 percent growth, Lancaster said.
Two years ago, prior to the recent decrease in new students, demographers showed a 60 percent growth trend over 10 years, he said, adding that on the whole, the trend for new students to the district is still showing a rise, just not as fast a rise.
During the luncheon Doug Land, broker associate at Kuper Sotheby International Realty, also delivered a presentation on real estate trends in the area.
Among many topics, Land touched on new commercial construction in the Lake Travis area and continued residential growth in the Hwy. 71 and Hamilton Pool corridors.
Adding another statistic to illustrate the stark growth, Land said apartments more than two years old in the Lake Travis area are 94 percent occupied. There have also been historically low interest rates for home buying since the average 12.7 percent rate of the 1980s. Rates are topping out at around 4.04 percent for the 2010’s, Land said.
Land also highlighted several challenges that may affect the area real estate market for 2019, including increasing traffic, stock market turbulence and the unpredictability of local and national government.
Other factors helping the real estate market include the fact that unemployment remains low and job creation is projected at about 35,000-40,000 new jobs for the Austin area in 2019, Land said.