Moving to Austin? Here’s what you should know
If you’re planning on taking the next step in your life and moving into a new home, Austin, Texas is a wonderful area to settle down.
There are many aspects to research before you start to pack – but we are here to help you through the experience. Not only are we experts in the Central Austin real estate market, we’ve lived in Austin for over 20 years. We love it here, and bet you will too!
Austin was ranked the #1 best place to live in the U.S. for two years straight by U.S. News and World Report in 2017 and 2018. We’re not surprised. We’ve got a strong economy, mild weather (if you discount summer), low unemployment rate, great music, beautiful outdoor surroundings, a nice mix of culture, and of course, the University of Texas Longhorn football. Check out our essential tips for what you should know when moving to Austin.
Central Austin Neighborhoods
There's a lot to love about Central Austin. We are a diverse city, and each of our neighborhoods has a different vibe, often with a different type of architecture. Some of the most popular Central Austin neighborhoods include Allandale, Barton Hills, Bouldin Creek, Crestview, Rosedale, Northwest Hills, Tarrytown, and Bryker Woods. Many feature beautifully restored mid-century homes perfect for families or those looking to retire.
Artsy and creative? We’ve got it in East Austin. Historic homes with mature trees? Check out Hyde Park. Rolling hills and great schools? Well, that’s Northwest Hills. High rises and walkable to activities? Look no further than Downtown. Custom luxury homes? We’ve got those too. You can get a full description of the Central Austin neighborhoods on our blog.
Real Estate Market
Austin home values are on the rise. In 2013 the average sales price in Austin proper was about $373,000. By 2018 the average sales price jumped to $497,000. That’s 33% over 6 years – equating to an average appreciation rate of 5.5%.
In terms of affordability, the salary needed to purchase the average home in 2013 was $99,611 with a 3.5% interest rate. Now in 2018, you’ll need to earn around $144,775 with a 4.625% interest rate. While some locals dislike our rising property values, Austin is still a deal compared to similarly sized metro areas.
Activities and Attractions
Austin is a major city, so you’ll never run out of entertainment. From family-friendly activities to a night out on the town with friends, this city has it all. There are live music performances nearly every single night at some of the most popular clubs and bars. We weren’t named the “Live Music Capital of the World” for nothing!
An outdoors lifestyle is common among Austinites, and there are plenty of hiking trails and lakes to enjoy a day in the sun. Austin has notoriously beautiful weather, with an average high of 79.7 degrees -- except in the summer when it is hot and humid. When the weather warms up, we highly recommend visiting one of Austin’s local swim spots like Barton Springs, Deep Eddy, or Hamilton pool, a gorgeous, natural grotto that is as beautiful as it is fun.
After a day in the sun, stop by one of Austin’s many mouthwatering restaurants. When it comes to food, Austin has no shortage of Texas-style barbecue. Franklin Barbeque and LeRoy & Lewis are the hottest spots for smoked meats and homemade sides. Melt-in-your-mouth pork belly and mac and cheese stuffed quail are must-try menu items. But don’t worry – if barbeque isn’t your style, there are hundreds of eateries to choose from including rooftop bars and food trucks. Austin also doesn’t skimp out on great annual food events either such as the Austin Ice Cream Festival, Austin Food & Wine Festival and many more. You can get the scoop on Austin’s restaurant scene from one of our city’s many popular bloggers, including A Taste of Koko, Austin Grub Girl, or Sushi Girl ATX, to name a few.
For more cultured activities look no further than the Blanton Museum of Art, the Long Center for Performing Arts, the Austin Symphony, Ballet Austin, or the LBJ Presidential Library. (And tons more we’re probably leaving out…) Where else can you watch the largest colony of bats fly out from under a bridge or watch cars zip by during Formula One? Austin surely has something for everyone!
Living and Working
Regardless of your stage in life, it is easy to create a personalized lifestyle while living and working in Austin. Whether you’re starting your career or ending one, Austin is ideal. Nestpick ranked Austin as the third best city in the U.S. for millennials in 2018, while AAARP listed Austin as the eighth most liveable city in the U.S.
Our local economy continues to be a big attraction. But don’t take our word for it; the rankings speak for themselves. In 2018 alone, Business Insider ranked Austin as the third best performing economy in the top 40 U.S. metro areas. Likewise, Glassdoor ranked Austin as one of the top ten destinations for job movers, and WalletHub listed us as the second best place to start a business in the U.S.
For families with children, there are a variety of school choices to help your child achieve their full potential. The public schools in Austin Independent School District offer assorted programming, like language immersion, International Baccalaureate programs, and more. Charter schools and private schools throughout the city offer additional choices. Make sure you talk to your realtor about which district is ideal for you and your family.
And then there’s traffic --one of Austin’s less appealing aspects. Commute time varies depending on the neighborhood, but the average commute time for a working person in Austin ranges from 16 to 35 minutes. On the bright side, the Austin Bergstrom International Airport has flights into most major cities – and direct flights to Cancun – if travel is in your plans.
Hooked on Austin
If you have any questions or need a local expert to guide you through the process of moving to Austin and buying a home, please reach out. We’re always happy to chat, and you can count on us for friendly, no BS advice. In the meantime, use our visitor guide to live like a local on your next visit. We think you’ll be hooked in no time.
-- written by Abigail Golder & Marquette Reddam