Residential construction activity was fairly steady in the Rural Capital Area 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, and activity remained below pre-2007 levels, with an annual average of 7,100 permits issued since 2006.
The RCA has seen consistent growth in the dispersal of benefits including Social Security, Supplemental Security, and Veterans Benefits. The number of Social Security and Supplemental Security recipients grew 26% and 21% respectively between 2010 and 2015. During this period, total Social Security dollar payments grew 46%.
The Austin metropolitan area has a low and declining murder rate when compared to the U.S. as a whole (the average of all metro areas), though 2016 saw a spike upward. In 2016, the Austin metropolitan area experienced 3.4 murders per 100,000 population, 64% of the national rate of 5.3 murders.
Incidents of larceny and theft, while down overall since 2000, are still higher than the U.S. level. Incidents of larceny and theft in the Austin metropolitan area reached 3,000 in 2009 at 143% of the national rate of 2,100. These incidents are up relative to the U.S. from 2000 when the Austin metro saw 3,100 incidents of larceny and theft at 120% of the national rate. However, in 2016, there were 1,970 incidents in the Austin metro, 13% higher than the national rate. The regional rate has decreased faster than the U.S. rate in the last few years.