Lake Travis Economic Forecast shows positive growth for tax revenues

Commissioner: Lack of water in lake still to be an issue

The Lake Travis area can expect similar growth in retail, development and real estate in 2012 to what it saw in 2011, according to speakers at the economic forecast luncheon held by the Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 18.

Lake levels

The speakers gave mostly good news to Realtors and business owners, but Huber pointed out that water woes could continue as lake levels continue to drop.

"I think we would be remiss if we didn't address the challenges that we face in 2012. We've had a lot of good news—we're in a booming economic cycle here," Huber said. "The forecast looks good from a growth standpoint, but we do have some challenges, and I feel like it's important we be aware of this as we go through 2012."

At last year's economic forecast, Huber spoke about a study that the county was supporting on the economic impact of the lake. It was completed in fall 2011.

"It was designed to be a tool. Water policy in Texas is very fragmented, and the entities that make water policy don't necessarily communicate well with each other, so we need good tools to help them make good policies," Huber said.

The study showed the assessed tax values of the properties surrounding Lake Travis were $8.4 billion, which is divided by taxing entities such as the state, local municipalities and Lake Travis ISD.

The lake is considered full at 681 feet above mean sea level.

"The study found that 660 feet [above mean sea level ] was the average optimum level for a dynamic economy," Huber said.

As of Feb. 3, despite recent rainfalls, Lake Travis was at 626.91 feet.

The study found that when lake levels fell below 660 feet, businesses in the area as well as home values were affected.


Despite lake levels, development in the Lakeway area has picked up somewhat compared with the previous two years.

"Even during a recession, our sales tax revenue has increased," Jones said. "Sales tax revenue is a direct indicator of your economic activity."

In 2011, the City of Lakeway had 165 new home starts, and Jones anticipates the same or more for 2012. He also anticipates 10 commercial permits in 2012 for new development projects.

The six areas Jones identified as the most active community areas are the Holiday Inn being built on RR 620, Tuscan Village, Discovery Point, the Lakeway Regional Medical Center, Serene Hills and Lakeway Highlands.

"I expect to see continued growth in both residential and commercial markets in 2012," Jones said.

Despite Bee Cave's reliance on sales tax for the majority of the city's revenue, Murphy said he does not expect a lot of commercial activity in the area at this time.

"The commercial growth in Bee Cave has kind of plateaued for the immediate future," Murphy said. "The [Hill Country] galleria is nearly 100 percent full now, and the Shops [at the Galleria] is 100 percent full. Even the office space in the galleria is leased out completely."

Residential growth

Falconhead West, Rocky Creek and Spanish Oaks all had many home sales in their new developments, Murphy said.

"We have Ladera coming on with Taylor Morrison, which is going to have about 250 houses," Murphy said.

Masonwood is also adding a development near Falconhead West with about 300 homes and 300 apartments.

Morningside between The Home Depot and Falconhead West has an agreement to put in 50 new single-family homes and about 300 condominiums.

Galleria Townhomes will have about 40 townhomes—two- to three -story single-family homes—facing the parking garages behind the Hill Country Galleria along Bee Cave Parkway.

"The housing market is very good here. We continue to attract successful, self-disciplined people with initiative who want to move out here and be in a nice neighborhood," Murphy said.


Work crews from the the Texas Conservation Corps remove fallen and dead tree debris from Hamilton Greenbelt. The team is under the direction of Lake Travis Fire and Rescue and the City of Lakeway. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)
Preventing wildfires in west Travis County an ever-present effort

Community activity takes many forms to prevent spread of destructive wildfires.

Clara Kistner, Farmacy master gardener, said the community garden operates without the use of chemical fertilizers.
Spicewood community garden grows its support at Bee Creek United Methodist Church

Through hard work and dedication, a group of volunteers in western Travis County have transformed a plot of scrub and rocky land into a community garden that makes a difference in the lives of area residents in need.

Romeo's Pizza held its Georgetown groundbreaking April 6. (Courtesy Romeo's Pizza)
Romeo's Pizza coming to Georgetown; Vacancy Brewing opens in South Austin and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Photo of a Moderna vaccine vial
Austin Public Health coronavirus vaccine portal opens to all adults April 12

APH will continue outreach efforts to high-priority groups.

Hill Country Galleria will host its annual spring art walk event April 16. (Courtesy Giant Noise Public Relations)
10 things to do in the Lake Travis-Westlake area in April, May

From outdoor art walks to live music, the Lake Travis-Westlake area is bustling with community events this spring.

Austin Public Health holds a vaccination clinic at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Coronavirus updates from Austin, Travis County; governor bans 'vaccine passports' and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from Central Texas.

Rollingwood residents will have the opportunity to provide input on the city's comprehensive plan. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Rollingwood launches community survey focused on city’s first comprehensive plan

In an effort to collect community input, Rollingwood launched a survey focused on the needs and priorities within the community, according to an April 8 news release from the city.

Owners Shae (left) and King (right) Magik moved their shop to the Hill Country Galleria in Novemeber 2020. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austinites run creative fashion house at Magik

Magik offers branding, photography services beyond clothing and accessories.

Harmful blue-green algae found in Highland Lakes

Blue-green algae has been found in three Highland Lakes and 10 locations around Lake Travis.

A resident at EdenHill Communities receives their second dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)
Amid the struggle to get vaccinated, these Austin moms have helped over 3,900 people get appointments

The women volunteer their time searching for hard-to-find time slots that often become available in the middle of the night.

Bee Cave City Hall will serve as the site of a City Council candidate forum April 15. (Community Impact staff)
Candidates for Bee Cave City Council scheduled to attend forum April 15

Attendees asked to submit questions to candidates in advance via email.