Austin-area home starts soar on job, population growth: The Austin area’s housing market continued its hot streak in the second quarter, with home starts up 32 percent from the same period last year.
The quarterly increase — 2,650 homes — bumped the annual starts tally to 9,027 homes in the 12 months that ended in June. That’s a 38 percent increase from the 12 months that ended in June 2012, according to research firm Metrostudy, which tracks the numbers.
In the first three months of this year, home starts were up 27 percent over the same quarter of 2012, Metrostudy said.
New-home demand in the Austin area continues to surpass supply due to the region’s mushrooming job and population growth, said Madison Inselmann, regional director of Metrostudy. The area has added jobs in each of the past 13 quarters, and that job growth has strengthened consumer confidence, which in turn has helped drive demand for housing.
“Now that Austin’s economy is firing on all cylinders, builders can’t finish homes fast enough to meet growing demand,” Inselmann said.
Since 2007, the Austin area has averaged 17,100 new residents a year, according to Metrostudy. More than 27,000 people are expected to move to the Austin area in each of the next three years, Metrostudy said.
Gary Newman, president of Trio Development, a local land development company, said builders are searching for lots to build houses on, and said prices are going up quickly.
“This market, resale and new homes, is as hot as I have seen in Austin,” Newman said. “Also the jump in sales is in almost every price range; very rare.”
TSYS completes $1.4 billion acquisition of Austin’s Netspend: Columbus, Ga.-based payment processor TSYS said last week that it has completed its purchase of Austin-based financial services company NetSpend Holdings Inc., a deal worth about $1.4 billion.
The sale converts NetSpend into a wholly owned subsidiary of TSYS, and the NetSpend name and product brands will stay the same, company officials said. NetSpend’s operations will remain in Austin, and NetSpend’s CEO Dan Henry and president Chuck Harris will continue to lead those operations and will report to Troy Woods, president and chief operating officer of TSYS. The sale will pay current NetSpend shareholders $16 per share for their stock.
NetSpend sells prepaid debit cards and other financial services, targeting consumers who don’t have traditional bank accounts but want an option other than cash or money orders. Founded in an Austin apartment in 1999 by two immigrants from Mexico, NetSpend has grown into a leader in the prepaid debit industry, selling its cards at more than 62,000 locations, including convenience stores, retailers and check cashers. NetSpend had $351.3 million in revenue in 2012.
NetSpend - which raised $204 million in an initial public offering in 2010 - has about 400 employees in Austin. No staffing reductions are currently planned because of the acquisition, company officials said.
“As I said back on Feb. 19 (when the sale was announced) this is not a synergy play in any shape, form or fashion,” Woods said. “These are two publicly traded companies, and there are some things we’ll zero in on to squeeze out synergies where it makes sense, but we bought this company to diversify. We liked the team, and we liked the product. Austin should benefit significantly long-term.”