Saturday, July 30, 2005

McAllen Area Housing Strong

Here is some more good news about the economic growth in the Rio Grande Valley. I've even met a guy who read job growth reports and came to the RGV because we have had strong job growth and economic expansion.

Some of the growth in the McAllen area is attributed to an expansion of the retail and medical base. From an economic perspective, retail expansion is only temporary. In a bad economy, retail shrinks. The medical base, on the other hand, has better staying power. People get sick in any economy and those who can afford health insurance will have it in good or bad times. It's been my theory that the Regional Academic Health Center would contribute to economic growth for the RGV. By attracting and retaining high-income talent to the area, we need more support personnel like nurses, medical billers, medical labs, home health care, and so much more. None of these are low wage jobs. This in turn, helps sustain things like recreation and shopping. Prior to the RAHC, the best improvement in the Rio Grande Valley was the addition of Pan American University to the University of Texas system. That raised educational standards and has resulted in a great deal more local talent.

After UTPA, the next best addition was South Texas Community College, now called South Texas College. The reason STC was such a boon to our economy is because it is more affordable than UTPA. In some instances, STC graduates were being hired faster with associate's degrees than UTPA graduates with Bachelor's.

Something that is left out of this is the impact of Mexican residents who own a second home in the McAllen area. Working in the retail sector, I see many vehicles pull up to the shop with Texas plates and tell-tale signs of being Mexican (Bancomer/Banamex credit cards, well dressed, talking about going back home in a few days). The growth of McAllen is attracting a lot of foreign nationals who would have otherwise travelled on to San Antonio for weekend shopping.

Another thing is the increase of violence on the Mexican side of the border. Many people send their families to live in the RGV for fear of having them held for ransom. These residents make their money elsewhere and spend it here. That has to help our local economy too.

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