Real estate professionals are familiar with the supply-and-demand patterns that drive so much of what they do. If housing demand exceeds supply, prices increase; if supply exceeds demand, prices decline. But a new kind of supply-and-demand puzzle is emerging in Texas – one that directly impacts the real estate industry – the demand for, and the supply of, highway space.
Over the past 40 years, the state’s population has more than doubled. The number of registered vehicles has almost tripled. And the number of miles those cars and trucks travel has more than tripled. By comparison, the supply of roadway space we have to accommodate that travel demand has hardly grown at all. In this example, higher demand once again increases the price, albeit less directly than in the housing example. In this example, the higher price we pay comes not in the form of higher rent or mortgage payments, but in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. These are costs that rise each year for Texans living in the largest urban areas, who each year lose about $1,000, largely because of the roughly 40 hours they spend stuck in traffic.
I share this perspective on our state’s transportation challenges in the current issue of Tierra Grande magazine, published by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. I invite you to read the article, and to share your own observations by commenting on this blog. It’s an important conversation for all of us to have. | Read the article