Hispanic Homeowners Fuel Texas Housing Growth

hispanic homeownersTexas, as you may have heard, is growing explosively -- and Hispanic homeowners are the main reason why. The latest Census Bureau figures show the Lone Star State grew by 20 percent, to over 25 million people, recording about a quarter of the nation's overall growth.

To put it another way, of the nation's 17 million new bodies, almost a quarter chose to live in Texas. And 68 percent of those newcomers are Hispanic.

The implications are huge politically, as Texas stands to gain 4 new Congressional seats from this expansion, and Hispanic leaders want in.

Demographers say most of the Hispanic growth came from births to families already living here – second generation Hispanics. Migration from other states and countries contributed about 45 percent. One of those was the family of the Mayor of Monterrey, Mexico, who moved his family to a suburb of Dallas for protection.

Texas's Hispanic-fueled growth spurt out-paced the entire country's, and helped brace our housing market. In contrast, the U.S. grew only 9.7 percent over the last decade, to a total population of 281,421,906.

Looking closely at which parts of Texas gained growth echoes what demographers have been telling us about American's home-buying habits. Rural areas west and east got smaller – few want to live alone like the Unabomber in the boonies of far west Texas, apparently.

Former state demographer Karl Eschbach said the trend is clear: west Texas folks are moving
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east to the bigger cities, they are moving because of jobs, and the state's cowboy image is becoming more of an icon of the past rather than a reality. The new reality is more like Hank Hill: everyone's gone to the suburbs, even the Mayor of Monterrey, Mexico.

Suburban areas won over the most transplants, gained more Hispanics and lost Anglos, and I was not at all surprised to see Fort Worth, Texas emerge as the biggest gainer. Fort Worth grew by a whopping 38.6 percent, the largest increase in the state, followed by Laredo's 33 percent, Austin at 20.4 percent, and San Antonio at 16 percent. Dallas, my home, grew by a scant 0.8 percent, hardly even worth reporting. Houston remains the state's largest metropolitan area but sustained growth of only 7.5 percent, though Harris County – those suburbs, again -- grew by 20 percent. Hispanics now comprise 41 percent of the Harris County population. But the counties that really grew like summer grass after five straight days of rain were the once rural towns just outside the big cities, one-shop stop farmer's crossings or granaries.

Curtis Tally shakes his head at how fast little Justin, north of Fort Worth, has grown. New home subdivisions sprouted up on what was once farmland around his Justin Feed Co. in southern Denton County, from 1891 residents in 2000, Justin has 3,246 today. That's a 72% increase in growth!

"We were selling seed for pastures; now we're selling seeds for lawns," Tally, 74, who has been in business in Justin since 1958, told the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

But then take Fate, Texas, a place so small ten years ago if you missed the sign on Interstate 30 twenty-five minutes east of Dallas, you missed Fate. There were 500 people and utility bills were cranked out on postcards. Fate is the fastest growing city in the state, swelling from 497 residents in 2000 to 6357 in 2010, an increase of 1,179 percent. Realtors say Fate draws many first time home buyers and young families -- average home prices are $50,000 to $300,000.

"Its the first place we've ever lived where my kids can go ride bikes all day long," resident Tina Nelson told the Dallas Morning News. "I don't have to worry too much about where they are. -- it's like the 1950's: the sun goes down, and everyone's porch light comes on."

The Interstate 35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio filled in with development as the cities merged closer to becoming one big schizophrenic metropolis. The string of counties along the Rio Grande, anchored by Brownsville and McAllen, exploded and this is one part of the state where I've heard housing values have actually risen, most recently due to the drug cartel crime in Mexico.

Dr. Steve Murdoch, director of the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University, and also former Director of the Census Bureau, says if this trend continues, projections show that in the next five to ten year there will be more people of Hispanic descent in Texas than non-Hispanic Anglos.

"The rate of natural increase -- through births -- in the non-Hispanic white population isn't even at replacement value," says Murdock.

Candy is an award-winning, Dallas-based real estate reporter, blogger, and consultant. She's the gal who brought House Porn to the Bible Belt! Read more at SecondShelters.com and send story ideas and tips to CandyEvans@secondshelters.com.

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