Before we get to this week’s items, just a reminder that my Mercatus online panel event on Land Use without Planning is 2pm CT on Tuesday. I’ll be covering some of Houston’s land use and zoning history as well as what other cities can learn from Houston. You can learn more and register here.
Moving on to a large backlog of items for this week:
- NYT: There’s an Exodus From the ‘Star Cities,’ and I Have Good News and Bad News. Excellent summary of many different analyses forecasting post-pandemic urban geography. I’m not sure they’re right that pandemic migration will push R counties/states more D though. A lot of frustrated Rs are using the pandemic to escape D states and move to R states. For every D techie moving from SF to Austin, I’d bet 2 frustrated California Rs are moving to Texas. Actually, a recent survey found 57% of California migrants to Houston voted for Ted Cruz, which validates what I’ve been hearing. Here’s the most upvoted comment:
“Kotkin nails it ‘Meanwhile, the working class struggles to pay rent, possesses no demonstrable path to a better life and, as a result, often migrates elsewhere.’ I mean seriously is there anything worse than being poor in New York City, working a job in food service, barely able to pay your rent, knowing that you’ll never own anything but an endless struggle against being evicted? Or you can move to Georgia, live cheaply in a far larger house / apt, and work towards gaining equity of something. No smart poor person would ever stay in NYC.”
- Excellent analysis video and paper showing that even where the land values are the same in Austin and Houston (i.e. same market demand), Austin houses are far more expensive due to over-regulation. Thanks Kevin!
- Houston ranks among fastest-growing tech hubs amid the pandemic, report finds.
“Houston ranks second among 14 major U.S. labor markets for the number of relocating software and IT workers between March 2020 and February 2021 compared with the same period a year earlier.
“Miami grabs the No. 1 spot for the gain in software and IT workers (up 15.4 percent) between the two periods, with Houston in second place (10.4 percent) and Dallas-Fort Worth in third place (8.6 percent), according to the LinkedIn data.”
- Kotkin and Florida team up in the City Journal on America’s Post-Pandemic Geography.
- Wendel Cox at New Geography: America’s Dispersing Metros: The 2020 Population Estimates
“The big story among the nation’s major metros over the past decade has been the persistence of urban core out-migration and suburban in-migration…Houston had the 2nd-largest gain at 1.2 million, with a 20.8% increase, and remains the 5th largest metro.”
- Cato: The Solution to Expensive Housing Is More Housing (duh?!). Hat tip to Barry.
- 11 Reasons Why People are Moving to Houston. 1, 7, and 11 are my favorites 😉
- Houston crowned best BBQ city in America in surprising new survey.
“Certainly, Houstonians will be pleased with that result, but the notion that Austin might be Texas’ third best city for barbecue will likely cause considerable agita in the state capital.” ;-D
- Texas cities dominate top 10 destinations for inbound moves
- Washington Post: Turkey Leg Hut has become a bastion of Houston’s Black culture. Great excerpt in this one on Houston:
“It’s a melting pot, and that’s one of the things that stood out that I absolutely loved about the city. The fact that there’s a lot of positivity going on and people doing great things here, those are really some of the main reasons I stayed in the city.
“Their turkey legs are decadent, sure. Like other rodeo-adjacent foods, they’re large, indulgent and full of flavor. They, in essence, are Houston.”
Finally, I’ll end with an absolutely hilarious short video skit on the current craziness in the housing market – enjoy ;-D
This piece first appeared at Houston Strategies.
Tory Gattis is a Founding Senior Fellow with the Center for Opportunity Urbanism and co-authored the original study with noted urbanist Joel Kotkin and others, creating a city philosophy around upward social mobility for all citizens as an alternative to the popular smart growth, new urbanism, and creative class movements. He is also an editor of the Houston Strategies blog.