Residential construction activity was fairly steady in the Rural Capital Area (RCA) throughout the early 2000s, averaging 8,300 housing permits a year between 2001 and 2005. In 2006, the RCA saw a spike in housing permits, near the end of the national real estate bubble, with 11,200 permits issued. Housing construction dropped after this peak, until recently, with an annual average of 8,065 permits issued over the last ten years. However, 2018 and 2019 witnessed the highest and second-highest activity levels in history with 12,062 and 11,380 units permitted respectively.
The Rural Capital Area has seen consistent growth in the dispersal of benefits including Social Security, Supplemental Security, and Veterans Benefits. The total number of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients grew 26% in the most recent 10-year period. During this period, total Social Security dollar payments grew 112%.
The Austin metropolitan area has a low murder rate when compared to the U.S. as a whole (the average of all metro areas), though 2016 saw a spike upward. In 2019, the Austin metropolitan area experienced just 2.5 murders per 100,000 population, half the national rate of 5.
Incidents of larceny and theft, while down overall since 2000, are still higher in the Austin metro than the U.S. level. Larceny and theft in the Austin metropolitan area reached 3,000 incidents in 2009 at 143% of the national rate of 2,100. However, in 2019, there were just 1,910 incidents in the Austin metro, 23% higher than the national rate. The regional rate has decreased significantly faster than the U.S. rate in the last five years.