What Drives Austin? November 8, 2019 Giovanni Cordoves Austin is now growing four times faster than most of Silicon Valley, according to Inc. magazine. In fact, Inc. says that the Austin metro area, with a population of 2.1 million, is growing four times faster than San Jose and San Francisco (per capita). The demo leading the way: entrepreneurs. Currently, there are 6,500 startups and tech companies based in Austin. One of its tech pioneers is Dell Computers, started by Michael Dell when he was attending the University of Texas. Austin is also the home of South by Southwest (SXSW), formerly an indie music concert that has morphed into a technology festival. Here are the main drivers of why Austin is more on the move than ever: Austin is fast gaining a reputation as a tech hub on par with Silicon Valley. In fact, it’s been christened a new nickname: Silicon Hills. Unlike many other cities, Austin is not reliant on just one employer, like, say, Amazon. In fact, many corporate superstars share Austin’s space, including Apple announced a $1 billion campus that can host 15,000 employees, which will make it the largest employer in Austin. Facebook’s hiring extravaganza has turned its Austin campus into its third-largest U.S. hub outside of its Silicon Valley headquarters. Also located downtown: major offices for Google and Oracle. Phil: Oracle’s campus isn’t downtown—it’s southeast of downtown and across the water from the CBD. Austin’s population has exploded, increasing 23 percent from 2010 to 2017, according to the research firm Statista. That’s faster growth than any other U.S. metro region, outrunning the national rate of 5 percent. Austin, like the rest of Texas, is business friendly. Among the many benefits is a local tax incentive program, which takes into account job creation and environmental impact. Businesses also score thanks to relaxed licensing rules and no personal state income taxes. Affordable cost of living and lifestyle is what attracts the workforce. An easier quality of life is worth more than money when compared to larger, gateway cities, but money is a huge factor. It costs about $3,197 per month for a single adult to live in Austin, while San Francisco — the most expensive city in the U.S. — costs $5,756 per month, according to the Economic Policy Institute’s family budget calculator. Our KBS properties located in office-friendly Austin: 515 Congress Domain Gateway — home of the major employment recruiting firm Indeed. SouthPark Commerce Center SouthTech Business Center — home to MedtoMarket, a revolutionary medical co-working firm. Find out more about KBS investment opportunities here. Giovanni Cordoves is a Senior Vice President and asset manager for KBS and is a co-director of the KBS asset management team. Gio oversees a portfolio of 3.7 million square feet in Austin, Houston and San Antonio, Texas as well as properties located in Minneapolis, Minn.