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Austin population projected to reach 1 million by 2025

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It's easy to spot signs of growth around the city of Austin and even outside the city limits.

"The city's population grows every day and right now is around $860,000," said Ryan Robinson, the city's demographer. It's Robinson's job to keep up with how many people live in Austin. He uses job growth, state data and even vehicle registrations to determine that number.

"In the 24 years I've been here we have gone from being the 27th most populous to the 11th most populous behind San Jose and catching them rapidly," said Robinson.

By 2025, Robinson predicts 1 million people will live inside Austin city limits growing at a rate he says could stand to be scaled back.

"It would be great to dial that spigot back just a bit and go from 3.5 percent annual growth to like 2.4 or 2.25," Robinson said.

The Austin metro area is much larger with a population of just under 2 million. It includes Travis, Bastrop, Hays, Williamson and Caldwell counties. Austin could soon catch up and pass the population of the metropolitan area of San Antonio.

According to Robinson's projections by 2030 the metro Austin population will be just over 3 million and 15 years after that 4 million people. The five county region is growing by 65,000 people each year. Give or take that's a net of around 110 people each day. They are coming from California, the Pacific Northwest but the majority are relocating from other parts of the lone star state.

"It's affirming to be the fastest growing city but at the end of the day you have to ask yourself maybe that's a little bit of a dubious honor. It gives us a great challenge of managing the growth," said Robinson. It's a challenge he's quick to accept given the other alternative of some cities in the Midwest that are not growing at all.

 

Among the challenges, transportation and affordability. The housing market is tight and booming. Home sales reached an all-time high while inventory dropped to an all-time low according to the Austin Board of Realtors. The median price for a home sold in December of 2013 was $226,000 which is eight percent more than the year before.

"In many cases the properties are going under contract in three to five business days so buyers have to be pretty aggressive for new offers on the purchase of a home this year," said Bill Evans, the ABOR president.

For some people the growth brings growing pains. Lorena Barcenas and her husband are selling their east Austin home on Nile Street. It's the home Barcenas grew up in. Her father retired from the city.

"It's been a thought in our head for a while," said Barcenas. The couple can no longer afford the property taxes. The bill is now above $5,000 and has become simply too much.

Barcenas met with her realtor, Rodney Rodriguez to discuss options and where to look next. Barcenas will likely move to Elgin for more space and to save money.

"It's part of progress and we just have to accept it and live with it," she said.

While Barcenas moves out even more people will move in. All signs point to an even stronger 2014. Robinson will continue to keep up with all of the people moving to Austin.

"This particular boom we are in when we turn around and look at it could be 5,6,7 years I think it will be our biggest boom in terms of population, jobs added, new square footages put on the ground and to me that's phenomenal," said Robinson.

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