Professional athletes make up some of the wealthiest people in the world and, as such, have access to some of the most desirable real estate. Historically, cities like Los Angeles and New York have been hot spots for athletes. However, with the exodus from California, New York and Illinois continuing, states like Texas are getting into the game.
Offering more bang for your buck, Texas has seen a sharp influx of new residents, including a number of pro players.
According to a demographics study by The University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas ranked first in numeric growth among all states from 2010 to 2020 with a growth rate of 15.9%, more than double the national rate (7.4%)
Varying factors have contributed to this impressive rise in population, such as no state income tax, an affordable cost of living and a booming job market.
For athletes, the incentives are more specific, including an abundance of spacious gated communities, a convenient central location to ease heavy travel schedules and, for players on the roster of a Texas team, no jock tax. With no jock tax, pros like those on the Dallas Cowboys or San Antonio Spurs will spend fewer duty days in states that impose an income tax, resulting in less tax.
Although housing prices in Texas are on the rise, hitting $187,200 as of May 2022, they remain substantially lower than those of California, which sits at $538,500, according to data from the World Population Review.
In Austin, former professional NFL athlete-turned real estate agent, MJ McFarland of Austin-based Moreland Properties, says this affordability is in part what is driving the interest from athletes to Texas as lower prices for more space means more privacy. “Compared to markets like California, New York or even Chicago, your dollar goes a lot further here. So, athletes can afford to buy more space for a fraction of the price and being able to buy more space means more privacy, which is the number one thing on their list.”
In addition to affordability and privacy, the University of Texas A&M alum says that another draw for athletes is location as “Texas is pretty much a three-hour flight to anywhere in the states. So, it’s convenient.”
This rings particularly true for those athletes who play for teams outside of the state but own homes in Texas, a common practice, says McFarland. “A lot of athletes don’t buy in cities that they’re playing in. They rent a place and stay there during the season and then call a place like Austin their home so they can get away and have time to decompress after a long season.”
Unlike celebrity enclaves, such as Los Angeles and New York, where athletes are competing with movie stars, musicians and socialites, McFarland says that Texas towns like Austin afford more clout for athletes looking to make their mark in other business ventures.
“In Austin specifically, there’s no professional team here, so you can become something of a celebrity here and have a lot of opportunities for business outside the sport because they’re sort of big fish in a small pond.”
Thus, it’s fitting that athletes with Texas ties often decide to reside in the Lone Star State, such as Troy Aikman and Tony Romo whose personal brands are afflicted with Dallas. In addition, many athletes born and raised in Texas have returned or stayed, including Simone Biles, Chris Bosh and George Foreman.
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