We are not alone. That statement is not about life in our universe, but rather about our rising home values, according to the State Comptroller’s “Fiscal Notes” publication.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas stated that Texas has seen a rise in home prices that has outpaced the nation since 2011. And the Texas A&M Real Estate Center said the prices have risen faster than the Texans’ personal income. That puts a dent in the traditional cost of living advantage Texans have had for population growth and job recruitment.
We in Gillespie County have felt the pinch of a rising real estate market in recent years. After the 2008 recession, home prices have rebounded steadily. Many home values in Fredericksburg have doubled since that time, owing to relatively tight supply and big demand from those who find this town a desirable place to retire.
The supply of entry level homes also is shrinking statewide, not just in Gillespie County. Sales of homes priced $300,000 to $399,000 have been rising since 2012 in Texas, while those priced below $200,000 have been flat or declining in most places. (Entry level homes below $300,000 seem as rare as Elvis sightings in Fredericksburg. Fortunately, there are developers who are interested in supplying the market with affordable single-family homes.)
Of course, all these trends translate to higher rents and higher property taxes. That’s not news to anyone who has resided here for any length of time.
Our rising population means the demand for city, county and school services also is rising. That causes frustration for residents who see their taxes go up with their home values. Those who don’t want to cash out and sell their home must absorb these higher costs.
We point these out to show that Gillespie County is not the only place where rising property values are affecting the populace.
Sometimes the blame for rising taxes gets misplaced solely on local governments, though the state government has tightened up its funding to school districts, cities and counties.
But as the State Comptroller’s report shows, income levels, population growth and tight supply also play a huge part. That’s something to keep in mind because, barring another recession, the real estate market for Fredericksburg and Gillespie County won’t slow any time soon. – K.E.C.