James Neil, Director with Hunt Mortgage Group, will be a speaker at the upcoming Connect Austin conference on April 19. Connect Media caught up with Mr. Neil, to ask him about Austin’s benefits – and some of the metro’s challenges.
Q. What confluence of factors have made Austin the desirable place for business it is today?
A. Business here is strong in technology and biotech. There is also, and obviously, the state government that is here, as well as one of the largest universities in the country. There are the amenities, such as the weather and beauty of the hill country, lakes and parks, along with music and food; all of these are also draws. But, I am not convinced that the city government necessarily draws business here. I think it’s the environment.
Q. What are some of the challenges you’re seeing with the growth, and how are those challenges being met?
A. The complaints I hear about Austin involve building regulations, also congested traffic and an infrastructure that requires updating. Some of the suggested cures to these are questionable, but this isn’t my area of expertise. One way the metro is trying to loosen traffic congestion is through highway road projects, many with new tolls. I have heard nothing in regards to results from any efforts for more efficiency when it comes to building regulations.
Q. Will there continue to be growth in 2017? What shape will that growth take?
A. Yes, there will be continued growth. According to economists I follow, Austin will continue to be in growth mode, in 2017, but at a slightly slower pace. I specialize in healthcare, and the growth of hospital services and elderly care has been pretty significant in this region. Having said all of that, Austin has always grown at better-than-average rates, but has not been exempt from flattening when much of the rest of the country is down.
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