|57%||Projected gain in home prices (5-year)*|
|Median home price
|Per capita income
|*Metro region statistics|
A Hispanic baby boom is working its way through the regional economy, and families will soon be trading up their digs. McAllen is already 85% Latino, and the average age of those households is two decades younger than that of non-Hispanic ones.
Latino families are also larger: 3.8 members, on average, compared with 2.4 for Caucasians. "These border towns have a housing shortage," Cochrane says. "There's pent-up demand. They'll be looking for more space and better space."
He predicts that incomes will catch up to the area's economic growth, currently more than double the state average of 2.9%. So far, cheap labor has driven a development boom. Manufacturers locate on both sides of the border to take advantage of low wages and the common market for goods created by NAFTA.
CAUTION: As the economy matures, higher-paying industries like health care and business services will grow. The area could lose its low-wage "nearshoring" edge, slowing down industrial growth and the demand for new homes.