Axios Austin

Picture of the Austin skyline.

Nice to see you this Monday, and thanks for starting your week with us.

☀️ Today's weather: Mostly sunny and windy, with a high near 84.

🎧 Sounds like: Townes Van Zandt's "Greensboro Woman."

Situational awareness: The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for at least eight Central Texas counties because dry conditions and gusty winds are making for dangerous wildfire conditions.

Today's newsletter is 879 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Austin’s booming apartment construction

Data: RealPage; Map: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Austin is poised to see a spike in new apartments this year, one of the top cities in the country for new apartment construction.

  • And given prices around here, it can't come soon enough.

The big picture: Apartments in Austin and the Sunbelt cities of Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham and Salt Lake City are likely to see a 5% increase or more in new construction, per a national survey by RealPage, a data analytics and property management software provider.

Why it matters: Growth in housing stock in the Sunbelt points to where people are moving — and where the economy is likely to continue thriving.

  • About 40% of Americans live in apartments, and there's a huge demand for more.
  • Cities that have been attracting workers during the pandemic-era relocation trend are particularly desperate for additional housing stock.

Driving the news: RealPage projects that 426,000 apartment units will be built in the U.S. this year, representing a 30-year high in such activity, Smart Cities Dive reports.

  • The push to build apartments in popular cities like Austin and Nashville is "driven by long-term migration trends, pandemic-geographic shifts, 40-year inflation, and deep pockets of institutional investors looking for higher returns," per Smart Cities Dive.
  • The South was the only region with positive net domestic migration last year, Smart Cities Dive says, citing Census Bureau data.
  • "Florida, Texas and Arizona posted the largest net migration gains among all states," the news outlet said. "They also boast four of the 10 cities with the largest expected inventory growth."

2. How Texas and other red states measure up in COVID deaths

Data: Axios analysis of CDC data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios
Data: Axios analysis of CDC data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

COVID is killing more people per 100,000 in red states than in blue states.

Why it matters: "The COVID-19 pandemic removed any doubt that state policies can affect health outcomes," Virginia Commonwealth University professor Steven Woolf recently argued in JAMA.

Yes, but: Texas, which is pretty red, ranks just outside the top 25 states in deaths per 100,000 residents.

  • At least 87,328 Texans have died with COVID.

But, but, but: Texas' largest urban counties, where officials tend to emphasize mask wearing and vaccinations, have among the lowest COVID cumulative deaths per capita within the state, per an Axios analysis.

  • Travis, Hays and Williamson counties rank near the bottom in COVID deaths per capita — out of 254 counties overall.
  • Put another way: If you live in relatively lightly populated Lampasas County — 90 COVID deaths among its 20,000-odd inhabitants — you're more likely to know someone who has died of the disease than in Travis.

The bottom line: COVID-19 has proven itself to be exhaustingly unpredictable in many ways over the last two years. But there's no doubt that vaccines reduce the risk of dying from the disease.

Read more about the COVID partisan divide

3. 🤠 The Roundup: Wrangling the news

Illustration of a mustang wearing glasses and reading the news on a phone.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🏀 The University of Texas women's basketball season ended Sunday night with an Elite Eight loss to Stanford in the NCAA tournament. (Horns247)

💉 Overdoses have steadily increased in Travis County for the last three years, with fentanyl deaths tripling from 2020 to 2021. (Austin Chronicle)

🌪 An Elgin teen got a new truck from a Fort Worth-based Chevrolet dealership after video of his red pickup truck being flipped over by a tornado went viral. (KVUE)

⛳️ Former UT golfer Scottie Scheffler won the WGC-Dell Match Play tournament in Austin on Sunday, becoming the world's top-ranked golfer. (CBS Sports)

🏃‍♀️ In her very first Texas Relays, Cedar Park High School sophomore Conde De Frankenberg brought home the gold in the 3,200-meter run. She also was part of Cedar Park's winning sprint medley relay. (Austin American-Statesman)

4. 🥃 Celebrate International Whiskey Day

Drink.Well's Taylor Swift-inspired cocktail "All Too Well." Photo: Soleil Roth/Drink.Well

👋 Nicole here. Sunday marked International Whiskey Day, and I'll raise a glass to that.

I’m not going to pretend to know a thing about whiskey, but I do know that I really enjoy a good old fashioned or a whiskey sour.

Where to go: We rounded up some of the top spots for a good old fashioned — with Twitter's help:

At-home whiskey sour: Nicole’s grandpa serves up a mean whiskey sour, but — don't be mad — his simple recipe doesn't include an egg white.(Frankly, that's too much work when making a cocktail at home.)

  • 4 ounces whiskey.
  • 2 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice.
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.

Add the ingredients to a glass with ice. Splash club soda on the top. Serve with a maraschino cherry and enjoy.

A recent review from Nicole's grandma: "Your grandfather just made me two whiskey sours, so I'm feeling good!"

Check out our other recs

On the job hunt?

👀 Check out who’s hiring on our Job Board.

  1. Marketing Director at Chive Media Group.
  2. Account Executive at Tableau.
  3. Marketing Launch Specialist at Starship Technologies.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

5. Your chance to win Axios swag

A photo of the sculpture of Barbara Jordan at ABIA

Who is this mystery person? Photo: Nicole Cobler/Axios

🧐 Let us know where you can find this sculpture — and the very distinguished person it depicts.

📫 Hit reply to this email.

  • We'll enter you in our drawing later today for an Axios T-shirt or baseball hat.

6. 1 out-the-airplane window photo to go

A photo of the view out an airplane window.

Photo: Asher Price/Axios

We had a great time at the Axios Local retreat in Charlotte late last week but were pleased to touch back down in Texas this weekend.

  • Snapped about five minutes before landing, this photo shows just how dry Central Texas is growing.
  • At least 40% of Texas is now experiencing extreme drought, per the U.S. Drought Monitor.
  • Of note: While the Hill Country is especially parched, conditions just east of I-35 are actually not that far off normal.

🎁 Asher wondered if he was a bad father for not picking up a present for his 4-year-old during the North Carolina confab, but she didn't seem to notice. So, no harm no foul?

😎 Nicole loved her time in Charlotte with her Axios Local colleagues, but Austin is better.

❤️ Like our stuff? Refer your friends to Axios Austin and become a member today.