Austin tops list for headquarters relocations in US, report says

AUSTIN (KXAN) — More headquarters continue to move to Texas, specifically the Austin area.

According to a new report by real estate company CBRE, Austin stands out with the most headquarters relocations in the country.

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The report said 66 companies relocated their headquarters to Austin in the last five years.

“We were far and away number one on that list,” CBRE Executive Director John Gump said.

Factors for the move

Gump said there are several reasons that companies are making that move. One of the reasons is the business incentives.

“Texas is a very pro-business and low-tax state,” Gump said.

Another factor is the large talent pool in Austin, thanks to the universities in the area.

“Most of these headquarters are coming here, they’re planning for growth,” Gump said. “They need to know that there’s somewhere that they can hire people.”

Along with the business benefits, Gump said a lot of headquarters are moving here because of the quality of life.

“We have a great natural environment, a lot of outdoor space. I go to some of the larger cities and I feel like I’m in a concrete jungle,” Gump said. “We’ve got great lakes. You’ve got amazing parks. You know, rock climbing, kayaking, paddle boarding.”

Gump said the heads of companies show up for Austin’s major events like South by Southwest and Austin City Limits Music Festival and end up falling in love with the city.

“They just say, ‘Man, I don’t know what it is, but it’s got all the right ingredients that I can put down on paper, but then I just want to be in Austin,'” Gump said.

While the cost of living is on the rise, Gump said that is still another driving force for companies moving here.

“Definitely gotten more expensive to be here, but we’re still right on par,” Gump said. “If you look at the numbers, we’re still right on par with the national average, as far as our cost of living.”

Gump said the cost of living in Austin is still below big cities like Boston, San Francisco and New York, which makes Austin more appealing.

Still, Executive Vice President of Angelou Economics Matt Patton, said its important to address affordability as the city continues to grow.

“We need to make sure that we’re addressing issues like transportation, housing costs,” Patton said. “While they’re not the same as what we might see, you know, in different parts of the country, we need to be aware of those and making sure that the economy is working for everyone.”

Economic impact and job growth

Of the more than five dozen corporations that decided to set up shop here, half are in the tech industry.

“A lot of individuals have the opportunity to move into those industries and start advancing their careers,” said Workforce Solutions Capital Area Senior Director of Business Engagement Amber Warne. “Opportunities for individuals to move into some of these higher, high paying jobs that are available.”

The Austin Chamber finds the average yearly salary for high tech jobs rings in at over $150,000.

That’s money both earned and spent here.

“Where people are living, homebuying, they’re spending their dollars here. It has a real influx to our economy,” said Opportunity Austin Senior Vice President of Communications and External Affairs Stacy Schmitt.

When it comes to the areas with the most headquarters leaving, the CBRE report said San Francisco tops that list. It’s followed by Los Angeles and New York City.

The report said that’s because of the high cost to both live and run a business in those areas.

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