Bob Voelker: Texas’ Future as the Most Populous State in the Country

Bob Voelker

A recent report presented at the Texas Transportation Forum indicated that Texas could quickly become the most populous state in the country, passing California by doubling our population between 2010 and 2050. From a real estate development standpoint, this dramatic increase in population is exciting, presenting tremendous opportunities and challenges as Dallas-Fort Worth works to meet the demands of this expanding population.

Fortunately, North Texas has a history of visionaries; in the late 1960s-early 1970s, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport made DFW a modern “port city,” literally putting our area on the map for Central U.S. business relocation and providing easy access not only to both coasts, but internationally. Unlike some other southwestern/southeastern U.S. metro areas, DFW has planned well for our water demands and for mass transit. (North Texas has the largest light rail network in terms of miles of any market in the country.)

From an infrastructure preparedness standpoint, which facilitates real estate development, we could easily claim to be the most prepared metro region in the country for future growth. And yet our future growth and ability to meet future infrastructure demands—roads, bridges, water, sewers, etc.—of our growing population will be constrained by shrinking federal budgets.

The opportunities and challenges of our growth curve have implications for our future, crossing all genres of real estate, from warehouses to apartments, single family to condos and townhouse, retail to hotels. We need urban, suburban, local and regional visionaries who don’t just let real estate development happen however and wherever, but carefully consider the infrastructure, transit (all forms), housing, and social implications of this growing population.

Otherwise, the traffic, financial and other problems that plague California will follow the Californians who relocate here.

Bob Voelker, a shareholder at Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr PC, is the business development coordinator of the firm’s real estate group.