The San Francisco Chronicle is the latest publication to tackle the California migration, and it credits Californians moving to Texas for Austin's housing boom.
Thousands of newcomers from the Golden State are taking comfort in the Hill Country's rolling hills, budding wine scene and warm weather, the Chronicle writes, while also taking advantage of higher affordability and a better quality of life.
Douglas Yearley, CEO of luxury Central Texas homebuilder Toll Brothers, said that much of that jump is due to Californians, the Chronicle reported. "The pricing power of Austin, which is number one in the country, is driven by California, plain and simple," Yearley said.
It's not all sunny skies
Home prices are being driven up swiftly in Central Texas as newcomers pile in. The Austin metro brings in over 180 people a day, more than anywhere else in the country.
The latest report from the Austin Board of Realtors revealed the median home price reached an all-time high of $566,500 in May, jumping nearly 35% year-over-year.
Meanwhile, California lost residents for the first time in its history last year, with San Francisco losing around 1.3% of its population. Austin is projected to soon become America's 10th largest city, a seemingly symbolic shift as it bumps down current No. 10 San Jose.
It seems the days of the Gold Rush are long gone. Real estate broker Ray Shapley, who helped Californians Josh and Jessi Rubbicco find a home in Austin, told the Chronicle that migration patterns are undergoing a massive overhaul across the country.
"I think the last few decades kind of belong to California. I think the next few decades might belong to Central Texas," Shapley said. "As someone who was born here and loves Central Texas the way it is, I don't know that I necessarily love that."
Shapley's fears are echoed by many Austinites who aren't sure the city is ready to tackle such a large housing boom.
Looking in the mirror
The article admitted that some of Austin's problems reflect that of California. Homelessness has been at the forefront of local politics for years, and the affordability crisis is only increasing in severity as supply-and-demand runs its course in the city.
The difference between Austin and its Golden State counterparts, however, is that the Texas capital's issues may still be solvable. By contrast, the Chronicle reported that many of the Bay Area's crises are deeply entrenched.
While the median home price has grown in the Austin metro, it's nearly triple that ($1.3 million) in the nine-county Bay Area. There isn't enough housing in Austin, but the Bay Area's homelessness crisis could take a whopping $11.3 billion to resolve.
Even property taxes, which are higher in Texas and ever-changing, are worth the better quality of life and sense of community, Josh Rubbicco told the Chronicle. "I feel like we have more friends here now than we've ever had in California," Rubbicco said. "People were so welcoming and friendly."
Austin is also the trendy new HQ for companies—a record 22,114 jobs were introduced from companies moving or expanding in the metro last year, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce—but issues or not, the Bay Area's role in tech isn't going anywhere, University of Texas associate professor Jake Weggman, who studies housing, told the Chronicle.
"I don't think any of that's going away in the Bay Area. But I do think that the Bay Area is headed for a future where it's a little bit less dynamic... more slow-growing," Weggmann said. "Austin is going to be more fast-growing and dynamic and fast-changing."
- Little California: Techsodus transplants love Austin, but does the city ›
- Oracle moves headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin - austonia ›
- 'Boomtown' Austin leads the country in tech migration - austonia ›
- Hollywood's Line 204 Studios moving to Austin, Bastrop area ... ›
- California man warns against moving to Austin in Op-Ed - austonia ›
- Californian Texodus is affecting Texas on a national political scale ... ›
- California tech employees move to austin for business and way of ... ›
- Austin's growing tech industry deepens labor shortage - austonia ›
- 1. Austin really is a 'Hotel California' - austonia ›
- Migration insights of Austin, who is moving to the city and who is ... ›
- Even a raised minimum wage in Austin wouldn't cut it, study says - austonia ›
Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
- Willie Nelson to host cannabis convention for 88th birthday - austonia ›
- First hemp vodka in Texas makes its way to Austin - austonia ›
- Travis County approves first Texas Hemp Harvest Festival - austonia ›
- Delta 8 has landed in Austin: what is it and who uses it? - austonia ›
Austin Public Health and other clinics around Austin are now providing booster shots for all three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to fully vaccinated individuals after both Pfizer and J & J were approved by the CDC on Wednesday.
APH and Austin clinics, which were already administering the approved Pfizer booster, will begin distributing shots as soon as Friday.
Those who received the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine more than six months ago are elligble to receive a booster if they are over 65 or if they are over 18 and:
- Live in a long-term care environment
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Work or live in high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals or correctional facilities
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a media Q&A Friday that APH is encouraging boosters just as much as they have urged residents to get their first and second doses.
"Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low," Walkes said. "If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community."
Eligible residents are free to choose the same booster as their first doses or "mix and match," per the CDC announcement.
Those looking for another dose can simply bring their vaccination card to APH centers or the dozens of Walgreens and CVS locations in the metro, which began administering doses Friday.
Additional updated guidance from the CDC allows for all eligible individuals to choose which vaccine they receive as a "mix-and-match" booster dose. It is advised to remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card showing the original doses with you when going for booster shots.
- Austin downgrades to Stage 4 as COVID cases decline - austonia ›
- Joe Rogan incorrectly says vaccinated people cause mutant strains ... ›
- Everything you need to know about breakthrough cases in Austin ... ›
- After racing for a first dose of the vaccine, some Austinites find ... ›
- COVID in Austin: 9 ICU beds, alternate care site, booster shots ... ›