Big growth in Austin is coming soon, report says

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities — not just in the country but in the world.

A local commercial real estate company, JLL, looked at 130 cities worldwide and found that Austin is one of only two in the entire western hemisphere that’s expected to see robust growth in the near future.

The City Momentum Index report “combines a broad range of indicators to identify cities with the strongest short-term economic and commercial real estate momentum,” the company said.

Austin ranked No. 19.

Most other fast-growing markets were in India or China. The other U.S. city that made the top 20 is the San Francisco Bay Area.

Companies relocating to Austin

Recently, consulting firm Sense Corp moved its headquarters to Austin from St. Louis, Missouri.

Its President and CEO Keat Wilkins, told KXAN, “Our employee base in the Austin market has more than doubled, and it seems to reflect, in our opinion, broader national economic trend where states like Texas, markets like Austin are creating a real momentum and excitement. Of course, that translates to opportunities for companies like Sense Corp.”

Wilkins said when he was a student in Austin that it was a sleepy little town.

He says being in Austin now is “a great recruiting tool.”

“It is an easy sell. People love to live in Austin,” says Wilkins. “I think just being associated with that market is reflective of a company that’s on the move, that’s growing, innovative and really bring true solutions that are cutting edge.”

Various rankings’ impacts on population growth

This isn’t the first time Austin and Central Texas have made “best of” or “top” lists.

Lila Valencia, senior demographer at the Texas Demographic Center, said you can think of it like a brand whose reputation is rising.

“A lot of migration is really driven by economics,” she explained. “That sort of claim to fame will definitely draw more people to the area and really help to boost the economy.”

“People will reach out, especially investment groups, companies looking to relocate,” JLL Senior Research Analyst Ali Bawany said. “They’ll read these reports when they’re looking at real estate decisions. Then they reach out to us, rather than us actively reaching out to them.”

Growth can bring problems though.

The report points out environmental issues, overcrowding and social inequalities.

It also said many of the top 20 cities are the world’s most congested. Companies like Sense Corp allow flexible hours to help make people’s commutes a little less painful.

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