During ABJ’s 25th annual Williamson County Growth Summit on Dec. 15, attendees piggy-backed on a drone for an extensive aerial tour of some massive projects, where thousands of people will live, work and play in the future.
The rising Samsung plant, the just-finished Apple campus, a factory that will take on Tesla, more Domain-like developments and other skyline changers for the north side of Austin were on display. What follows is a rough outline of what was presented to about 900 business and civic leaders at the Kalahari Resort in Round Rock, plus a few things I didn’t have time to get to on the stage.
If your company relies on being in an area rich with residents, Williamson County offers some compelling statistics.
Williamson’s population reached an estimated 643,000 in 2021, up more than 50% from 423,000 in 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. And don’t expect it to slow down with Austin home prices pushing people to the periphery like never before.
If Williamson keeps this up, and it has for decades, estimates peg about 1 million people brimming in Williamson County in roughly 20 years. That’s not far off from the current population of Travis County and Austin.
According to ABJ’s most recent list of the 25 fastest-growing neighborhoods, 70% of them are in Williamson County when Pflugerville, which straddles the county border, is included. As Domain-like developments get introduced, such sprawling neighborhoods that add hundreds of homes a year will become less prevalent, as they have in Travis County and Austin.
It all leads to Williamson County relying less on residential real estate to power its economy. In fact, new statistics indicate that in the past year the county was able to give up its “bedroom community” status.
Over the summer, the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University published a study that looked at employment and commuter trends. It found that for the first time, the majority of people in Williamson County are staying within the county for work. All five counties in the Austin metro have seen growth in population and employment in recent decades. But Williamson has seen the fastest rate increase, growing from 16% of the area’s workforce in 1990 to now over 25% of the metro area, Texas A&M estimates.
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