30th May, 2013

Planning for Growth in Fredericksburg Texas and Beyond

Now boasting a population of 10,530, our hometown of Fredericksburg Texas has welcomed more than 2000 new residents since the year 2000.  Between 2000 and 2012, the rate of growth absorption into neighborhoods of Fredericksburg TX homes and community services was 18.29%.  High growth rates are not new to the Lone Star State.  Texas is the fastest-growing state in the union today.  Since 1940, the decade by decade growth in Texas has averaged over 21%.

Numerous qualities are bringing buyers to search for Fredericksburg real estate, including the low cost-of-living and unemployment rates and joie de vivre in the community.  The influx of new residents in Fredericksburg is notable considering that 90 percent of Texans live in one of 25 metro areas.  But with the median single-family home price over $230,000 and going up, can people afford Fredericksburg?  A common question planners ask themselves is, Can our population afford our home prices?

By pondering these types of questions, population growth in larger and smaller communities can be managed to avoid problems with infrastructure, crowding, lack of resources for schools and water supplies, safety, and parks. Community planners, however, must strike a balance between assessing taxes and financial burdens on developers and coordinating with existing programs and facilities. If too many of the costs are passed on to developers and builders, then housing and land prices can increase to the point where the average worker cannot afford housing.

In numerous communities, the conundrum of a lack of housing suitable to the incomes of residents has been a big topic of conversation over the last decade.  “Affordable housing broadly refers to decent-quality housing that low-and moderate-income households can afford without paying more than 30 percent of their income for total housing costs.”  This statement was made by James P. Gaines and Harold D. Hunt in their article entitled, “Crowd Control: Planning for Texas Population Growth,” published by Tierra Grande Magazine.

These experts tell us that residents need to stay within a 30-percent debt-two-income ratio. A Texan median household income was approximately $50,000 in 2011 and the median household income in Fredericksburg is slightly lower. This household could afford a home priced at approximately $130,000.  A moderate-income household would need to stay in the $105,000 range and a low-income households would be looking under $70,000.  Relatively speaking, the median priced home in Fredericksburg Texas would be well out of reach for these residents.  Good thing we do have some options to suit each income level.

Perhaps our city and county leaders would consider encouraging builders to develop new homes with a charming European personality that will honor our average and lower income households.  The Wellington neighborhood is successful initiative in Breckenridge, Colorado.  It is a small, charming affordable master-planned community where buyers agree to work in the county to offset some of the cost of their homes. They are only available for certain income levels. Habitat for Humanity has executed similar projects in communities throughout the nation.

This is only one small aspect involved in planning for future growth.  Thoughtful discussions are in order.  To find out about Texas Hill Country homes and ranches for sale, please call Dale E. Cook, MBA and owner of SAGE – Premium Texas Real Estate in Fredericksburg at (830) 992-0056.

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