By KYLE PEVETO
The Daily Sentinel
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Eventually, East Texas will probably begin to look like the Hill Country - rooftops stretching to the horizon in former rural areas, according to Gary Maler, the director of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
Maler spoke Friday at the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce Fourth Friday Luncheon to about 50 members of the chamber.
Over their lunches of breaded chicken at the The Fredonia, Maler said the real estate woes that have hit the rest of the U.S. are not affecting Texas much. But news reports of the woes are affecting buyers, he said, and each time a new study details the national trend, Maler said he searches for a huge pickle to shut the mouth of Katie Couric.
The headline news is "a risk in Texas because of the bad news across the nation," he said. "But we're not seeing the bad news."
According to an April news release from the Real Estate Center, which is the nation's largest publicly funded real estate research center, home prices across the U.S. are expected to fall in 2007 - for the first time in at least 38 years. Although housing markets in the eastern and western U.S. are seeing a decline in median sales, Texas is still gradually rising.
Texas is continuing to grow because of both domestic and foreign immigration, Maler said, and by 2030, the state's population could grow to 35 to 37 million, a conservative estimate, he said.
"We're talking about three more Houstons by that time, and we're going to cram that into this state," Maler said. "And there's nothing that's going to stop that."
He called it "crazy, phenomenal growth," and said people are beginning to discover East Texas as many traditional Anglo families leave urban centers for a more traditional way of life as cities continue to grow.
Maler asked the crowd if anyone had recently been to Wimberley, a Hill Country town between San Marcos and Austin that has grown along with the rest of its region.
"In Wimberley, all you see is rooftops. (All of) Texas is going to look like that," he said.
And analysts at the Real Estate Center believe East Texas will mirror Central Texas in a few years, Maler said.
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