WESLACO, Texas – Research economist Luis B. Torres of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University is special guest for a webinar hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Partnership on Thursday, July 30.

The title of the program is Economic Indicators in Housing and Commercial Markets – Texas & RGV. The webinar takes place between 10 and 11 a.m. on July 30. Thanks to the investment of the webinar’s sponsors the event is free to the public.

Editor’s Note: Click here to register for the event.

Sergio Contreras is president of the RGV Partnership. Asked who might wish to tune in for the webinar, Contreras said: “The audience will likely be from the business community – primarily investors, architects, engineers, construction companies, suppliers, title companies and real estate agents.”

Asked what the topics might include, Contreras said:

  • Regional indicators that measure economic activity in the real estate industry
  • Forecast housing and commercial markets
  • Outlook for the Texas Economy
  • Texas Border Economy

Asked why he invited Torres to speak, Contreras said: 

“At the Partnership we have received feedback from our members, primarily in the architecture, engineering and construction industries. They continue to be active with projects that were in play (before the coronavirus pandemic). However, they want to get a sense of how the region is doing as a whole, in that space.”

Contreras said those in the architecture, engineering and construction industries have also been asking RGVP if it can provide data on other economic factors that impact their sector. 

“That is why we collaborate with the Texas A&M Retail Center. They have a team of statisticians and economists that continue to work with the RGV Partnership to help us disseminate such data,” Contreras said.

Contreras said data is “critically important” at this point in time because it can help small businesses navigate toddy’s choppy economic conditions. 

“In our region we have a lot of small business owners in the construction, engineering, architectural industries. They and their vendors provide a healthy entrepreneurial platform here in the Rio Grande Valley and we want to equip them with data that is relevant to them. There is quite a bit if uncertainty in our economy and we want to use an economist such as Dr. Torres who can help provide such data.”

Although a native of El Paso, Texas, Torres is not new to the Valley. In fact, RGVP has hosted him for luncheons on similar topics in the past, most notably in Weslaco last year.

“We have a great working relationship with Texas A&M. They continue to invest in the Rio Grande Valley and they make their Texas Real Estate Center available to us to help us with data that is going to support our economic drivers,” Contreras SAID.

Contreras said the webinar should also provide some guidance to those who are looking at the business climate in 2021 and 2022. 

“There is quite a bit of uncertainty in the industry right now when it comes to bonds that might be issued or may not be issued for public sector construction. We are going to hear from Dr. Torres on things like price and the materials that are needed for construction, whether it is commercial or residential. So, I think it is data that is relevant during these times.”

Asked how the Valley economy is doing during the coronavirus pandemic, Contreras said:

“The feedback we have received from our members in the construction industry and the real estate market is that subdivisions are expanding; that lots are being sold due to demand for residential lots with good interest rates. There is construction along the way as well. However, there is concern. If COVID continues, if the rate of infections continue increase, if hospitals continue to see an increase in cases, there is concern. I know a lot our members that are in the industry have themselves implemented practices to safeguard their employees from COVID. We will provide direction to those who want to continue to prioritize safeguards for their employees.”

Also on the current economy, Contreras said: “Some of our members have said they are in a situation where we need to continue to buckle down, pivot and make sure we still deliver. Competition is still out there. Entrepreneurialism is still in our DNA here in the Rio Grande Valley. We have a lot of small business owners that are continuing to identify ways. It is a challenge for many but we are hearing that many are finding ways to adjust. It is difficult for those who cannot. However, it is these kinds of webinars and interactions that can help others get ideas on how to navigate through these challenges.”

Contreras added that the webinar with Torres is the first in a two-part series. He said a similar event will be held in August with local speakers discussing similar topics.

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